As a metro New York resident, business owner and mom, I know the grind of working long and hard hours. Each day we are hitting the pavement aggressively looking to conquer our to-do lists and be as “productive as possible.” However, in our pursuit to conquer all, we often forget to step back to invest the time to create environments that truly allow us to excel and perform at our best potential. Truly thriving isn’t just about putting in the long hours, it’s about putting in your best hours to open up your day to spend your hours the way you want, not the way you have to.
The design of a space, work or home, can play a significant role in our productivity and efficiency. Key elements like airflow, light, sound and temperature have a direct impact on our energy or lack there of, our daily awareness, cognitive processing, musculoskeletal health and more. By investing time in creating environments that enable us to thrive, we can position ourselves to live a more fulfilling life.
Here are a few elements to keep in mind when creating the optimal work or home environment:
Make space to breathe, with open air and nature
Open and organized spaces, that are free of clutter and allow ease of movement increase our ability to function by giving us a comfortable environment to think more freely. Finding ways to keep a space neat with beautiful organizational products can keep your mind open and inspired. Here are a few ways:
By incorporating natural elements like snake plants or succulents (that require minimal upkeep) can present a sense of tranquility and bring calm energy to your day. It’s adds an organic way to reduce fatigue, increase oxygen and stimulate neurological levels.
Impact mood with strategic color choices
It’s no secret that color has a direct correlation with mood associations. Color can impact focus, creative thinking, energy and enthusiasm. Take time to carefully select color palettes that speak to you and fuel you with the energy you wish to maintain in your space.
Some easy tips:
Improve your circadian rhythm with sensorial stimulation
Access to nature and daylight helps us regulate our circadian rhythms, the daily cycles of waking and sleeping hours, which can exponentially increase stress if they are out of line.
It allows your body to trigger instinctual functions based on the time of day (and whether or not you are asleep); such as prioritizing tissue repair while you are sleeping, and prioritizing the need to eat, ignite metabolic functions and movement while you are awake.
A few ways to create environments that improve your rhythm are:
An environment that lacks elements of material variation and sensorial stimulation can drain energy and confuse your natural circadian rhythm.
Incorporate opportunities for quiet times
While collective and open community environments are all the trend right now, designing in moments that separate quiet and loud zones are crucial. Collaboration can be priceless but failing to allow for necessary moments of individual thought and private time, can ultimately be more detrimental to creative processes. Often we find ourselves rushing to get into the office early to be more productive during quiet times, or working weekends because they allow for better focus; but our day to day environments don’t have to be void of opportunities for private time to think.
By keeping the core elements that impact mood and energy in mind, we can create spaces that support our needs and enhance our performance. When we find the right equilibrium our peak performance will speak for itself, and it’s no longer about working harder, it becomes about working smarter and opening up hours for a healthier and more well rounded life.
Originally published at medium.com