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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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« What Are Today's Interesting Finds? - v4 | Pressing the Restart Button »

How Environment Influences Productivity

Our productivity flourishes when we recognize which environments enhance results. We can be intentional, as in creating designed, organized spaces. Or, we can embrace serendipity as in snow days, travel time, or “blob” days.

With chaos and overwhelm being more the norm these days, I’ve been especially aware how my environment influences my ability to not just be productive, but also to feel energized by a fresh start. Last week I wrote about the restart or fresh start button. This week, let’s focus on ways to increase productivity from our surroundings.


Linda’s Environmental Productivity Ah-Has:

Weather Be it winter snowstorm Juno or rainy day Sundays, there’s nothing quite like a stop-everything-weather day to transform the “were-supposed-to-be” plans into productive days. I was unable to get to my client’s to organize because of the storm. Instead, I’m utilizing the found time to move other projects forward. 

Travel – There’s nothing as wonderful as that quiet, distraction-free time I experience on an airplane. With my busy travel schedule, I’ve been especially enjoying the airplane bubble that allows me focused time to read, plan, think, and rejuvenate. I experienced this firsthand this past weekend with my flights to and from St. Louis for the ICD Board meeting.

Blobbing – In our family, we like to enjoy “blob days” every so often. On blob days we suspend doing anything productive and give into just relaxing . . . guilt-free. We might stay in our pajamas all day, not shower, and hang out without any goals or shoulds. We let the day unfold, agenda-free. There could be movie watching and lots of snacking. Are you wondering how environment can be productive? Sometimes you need to balance suspending the to dos in order to renew your energy and boost your productivity.

What environment best supports your productivity? I’d love to hear from you. Come join our conversation!






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Reader Comments (8)

I try to make Sundays my "blob days"! And I have had some of my most productive writing times when I'm on an airplane as well - nothing else to draw my attention away from the task at hand. To be honest, a deadline makes me pretty productive:)... but I also thrive when I have a a clear work surface, some background music, a comfortable ambient temperature, and a glass of water.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Rainy days are the most enjoyable for me and also those improve my productivity a lot. And as you said, time on a plane and a good book are time well spent. For relaxing I love Sundays doing nothing at all.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

We try to make Sundays our "blob" days too, we eat in front of the tv either watching a movie or a favourite show. Good times.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Linda, I agree wholeheartedly with you on very count. I've blogged about the focus and productivity found only at 30,000ft and the magic of "cancelled" days. As I've learned to slow down in the past 6 months, I'm beginning to experience the beauty of what you term "blob days." Mike and I had one this past weekend and it was incredibly rejuvenating. Thanks for bringing awareness on this day to how environment impacts productivity. Stay warm!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

What a joy to hear all your wonderful voices!

@Seana- I love that you have a weekly "blob" day. I can't say that I'm as regular about it as that. I aspire to more blobbing, but these days it's just not possible. Ah, yes…nothing like a looming deadline to turn up the productivity dial. Nice!

@Nacho- A few weeks ago, it rained all day on a Sunday. I loved it! It helped me focus and work. I'm not sure if it was the sound or the cold or what, but it worked. Sounds like you and Seana have a similar pattern of allowing Sundays to be the one day of the week that you relax. Lovely.

@Jill- Looks like you're in the "Sunday" club with Seana and Nacho. Nice job having a weekly blob-fest!

@Andrea- Oh yes…the "magic of cancelled days!" They are an unexpected gift, aren't they? Kudos to you for slowing life down. I'm not there yet, but am feeling quite inspired by the dedication all of you have to regular stopping points in your weeks.

January 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

It's amazing... I totally have always felt the secret WHIZZ of productivity when I'm traveling by airplane for some reason... The other place I get a big productivity burst is in a busy place like a Panera or Starbucks - where there's high energy and high activity all around me, but I have NO accountability or responsibility for it. I LOVE that! Hugs - Cena

Planes - yes, that is my bubble; even airports with noise, which I don't handle as well at my home office. Hmmm. The car is another bubble for me; the shower, everyone's favorite, but not mine.

Definitely a clear desk, at least when I first walk in the office, is key. And doing something for myself, first thing, is key; it's not really environmental, but I suppose it's the environment I carry with me!

HBR just had an article a client shared with me about our ability to be persistent in our focus and the impact of our immediate environment.

January 31, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersue west

Great to hear your wonderful voices!

@Cena- Just love the sound of that phrase, "the secret WHIZZ of productivity…" It's so true that the airplane bubble is one of the best places to work and think. I know what you mean too about having the busy background activity in places like Starbucks or Panera as other environments that can be productivity-inducing settings. But perhaps you've hit on the why it works so well factor: the "no accountability" piece. Maybe that's the secret ingredient?

@Sue- Joining the plane "bubble" too, I see? Showers are great too, although harder to look at papers, but great for thinking and idea-generating. I have a waterproof pad in the shower (Aqua-Notes) to jot down thoughts that are water-inspired, but easily lost between toweling off and dressing. I also love the idea you've suggested about carrying the environment (your own personal environment) with you. Beautiful!

February 2, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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