Beginnings of a Digital Nomad: The Remote Year - Day 115
Clean Workspace = Clear Mind
From Las Vegas to Bangkok to Bali to Colombia, I now write to you at the tail-end of a 3-week stint here in Vienna, Austria.
The Important of Your Work Environment & Its Effects on Productivity
It wasn't until the past year or two that I’ve really emphasized the importance of a clutter-free workspace in order to optimally conduct business. The rise of digital nomads & internet entrepreneurs has led to a significant increase in the demand for "co-working spaces,” or independent offices/working environments where one can rent a desk in order to separate work life from private/social life.
In fact, demand has risen so significantly that we've seen the number of co-working spaces double each year from 2006-2015.
"But why should I PAY to work at an office everyday if the whole point of being independent is to AVOID offices?"
Because while being your own boss buys you freedom, the efficiency gained in a productive work environment far exceeds the cost of working there. Contrary to the traditional 9-5 job (in which you have to show up at a certain time & are allowed to leave at a certain time), you can come & go as you please.
That said, it takes a certain amount of willpower to sit yourself down & get serious. But inherent in an entrepreneurial mindset is that same willpower you need to succeed; for paychecks are never a guarantee, business can go sour at any random/arbitrary point in time, & you’re responsible for not just yourself, but also the livelihood & success of those around you (i.e., employees, investors, etc.).
By putting your livelihood in your own hands, you relinquish any & all responsibility from someone else’s hands (i.e., an employer) in order to FULLY benefit from the fruits of your labor (rather than get paid X amount in order produce X+Y in revenue for your employer) while at the same time building an asset that benefits society in one way or another, or—as is the case with freelancing—provide services at a certain cost.
So what can I do NOW to improve my work environment & increase productivity?
Don't be like Wupje here (below); keep your workspace clean!
Another key/essential ingredient: silence. Research has shown that high noise environments are detrimental to longterm memory & reading comprehension. This is due to the fact that unnecessary noise significantly burdens your brain’s prefrontal cortex, thus affecting problem-solving & decision-making abilities. Additionally, silence has shown to improve cognitive abilities by activating your brain’s default mode network in a process known as “self-generated cognition."
This means no background music, TVs running the latest Game of Thrones episodes, or whatever you think “helps” you stay productive.
But for those who truly insist on a form of background noise, try checking out binaural beats (two different auditory sounds or “waves” played in opposite ears to induce your brain into entering an either alpha or theta state), “white noise,” or classical music; the latter having shown a correlation with increased productivity.
Lastly, I’d like to address workflow. This is all subjective, as it’s not a one-size-fits-all matter. But for those of you who need some sort of structure to your work day, try the “Pomodoro Technique,” which traditionally incorporates a 25-5-30 work split (work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break, repeat this 3 more times, then take a 30-minute break, & repeat), although others advocate a 50-10-30 split (work for 50 minutes, break for 10 minutes, repeat once more, then break for 30 minutes). Every work split is customizable based on personal preference, but the underlying principle still remains the same.
Hope this helps! Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read this & I wish you all a great weekend, the best of luck in whatever endeavor(s) you’re pursuing, & happy Steeming :)