Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
When I really need to get things done, I find that any distraction seems amplified and irritations seem ten times worse. By creating a productivity sanctuary for myself, I find that I can get back on track very quickly.
What is a Productivity Sanctuary?
A productivity sanctuary, to me, is one where I can go and get back on track when I am spinning my wheels. It’s a place with no distractions, and a place where I can be at peace.
I have several productivity sanctuaries, and I use each depending on what is happening.
My office. This is a good place for me to go if I have some serious desk-type work to do. My desk is set up to be mostly clutter free, and I have a fountain and candles there to help me relax. (However, since I share my home office with both my daughter and husband, this may not be the best place to go for distraction-free working.)
My gazebo. My handy husband built a screened gazebo on the back corner of our property a couple of years ago. This last year he put in an electrical outlet and ceiling fan, making it conducive to summer work. It is back in the trees, and the city property (filled with trees) surrounds it. The city property is wetlands, eliminating the possibility of being distracted by people there. There is a swing in the gazebo in the summer, and in the winter we keep the plastic chairs there. I can use it 80% of the year, and I find that using this sanctuary is best when I need to think up new ideas.
My “music” room. Our formal living room, which contains all of our musical instruments, is a great getaway (when there is no one practicing!). The room is decorated in earth tones, with mission-style furniture, and I find I do great linear thinking in that room.
The library. When I really need to crank some things out, I head to the study carrels at the local library. Without internet access, I can’t be distracted by the web, and with the high walls, I can’t be distracted by people watching. I usually plug in my MP3 player and get to work.
How To Create One
Here is how I create a productivity sanctuary in my office.
Please note, that the terms “clutter” and “distraction” are variable with each person. One person’s clutter is another person’s necessary.
Clear the clutter. Clutter is stuff you don’t use that can distract you. Clutter on my desk includes anything in my inbox, piles of papers in my other bins, and “stuff” all over my desk. For example, the clutter on my desk right now are a box of Life Savers candy, the 2009 calendar, two letters to be mailed, an old magazine, holiday gift labels, the stapler and the empty soda can. My inbox is also full, but I am clearing it in between writing articles.
Get rid of distractions. Distractions come in several flavors: physical, audible, mental and emotional. Physical distractions take into account clutter, but it can also be other things. Having stuff in my line of sight (such as stuffed animals, confetti or any of the other flotsam of childhood) is a distraction. I also need music that soothes, rather than annoys, a piece of paper at hand (to write down things that occur to me) and to be reasonably calm. If I am upset, I will spend 10 minutes free writing to clear the emotional distraction.
I find that when I get off track, having the ability to create a sanctuary is a good thing.
Photo by James Jordan