How to boost your productivity this spring

Productivity is a little particular. With all the pretty instagram pictures of work spaces, we seem to have a general idea that our environment matters — that it impacts our mood, focus, and therefore, the quality of our work. But did you know that nature can also have a profound effect on our work quality? Since it is the first week of spring (and Minnesota actually seems to be joining in the spring party despite a forecast for snow), I’ve compiled a list of some of the reasons that you should spend more time outside – even when there is work to do. In fact, especially because there is work to do. If you want to boost your productivity, you gotta be willing to step away from the desk.
You might think that in order to be more productive you must spend more hours at your desk but in reality there's a better way. Read on for a natural, everyday method for boosting your productivity. More at: http://alisanelson.co
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Ready? Here we go. We’re going to run a simulation. Let’s pretend you’re going for a walk outside. Here are 4 things you can expect to experience:

 

Presence of mind

This may take a conscious effort at first but when you release your mind from planning or worrying about the future, you open up your mind to the stimuli your 5 senses are experiencing. Whether it’s listening to the birds, smelling the fresh blooms, or looking at the trees bud new leaves, your attention on the concrete world around you has an impact on your nervous system. Your body relaxes. A practice in mindfulness is said to reduce anxiety and depression as well as increase your ability to focus and fire up your creativity.
Related:
5 benefits of self-awareness 
4 sign posts for building self awareness into your day 

Movement

You might not think of walking as exercise but it certainly is – especially when compared to sitting at your desk. Research indicates a two-fold effect of exercise on the brain. First, in the regulation of growth factors. Down the cascade this impacts your brain’s ability to strengthen + form new neural connections in the brain. (Research has been done on the effects of exercise in seniors on the development of dementia + Alzheimer’s). For the creative entrepreneur, your brain on exercise will be able to make faster connections between your experiences and lead to greater creativity + innovation. The second effect on the brain is in the reduced risk of diseases that cause degeneration in the brain in the long-term. In addition, when you combine exercise with being outside, research indicates a positive effect on depression.

Related:
When self-awareness brings hard emotions

Deep breathing

Do you breathe while you check email? In recent years a term was coined by Linda Stone, “email apnea.” After observing it in herself and many others, she set out to bring awareness to the effects of shallow breathing, hyperventilating, and holding our breath while we work. Ultimately, it increases the stress we experience. The way we are breathing can trigger our sympathetic nervous system, which controls our fight-or-flight response. Taking a walk outside where you are breathing in the fresh air is an opportunity to relax your nervous system and remind your body that you are not in danger.

Connection with the vibrant world around you

There are effects of being outside that science can’t completely account for. It lowers our stress levels and we aren’t really aware of why, exactly. One possibility is that beyond what I’ve listed above, the scent of flowers such as lilacs and roses as well as fresh pine can all have an relaxing effect on our nervous systems. So you should literally stop and smell the roses, ok?

 

Entrepreneurship can take a toll on the body. Sleep deprivation, chronic stress, more likely to eat poorly and not drink enough water are just a few things that tend to be common practice amongst business owners. A daily walk is something that can have a serious impact on saving your body + your brain for the rest of your life. As little as a walk around the block with attention paid to your breath + the world around you can increase your focus, decrease depression + anxiety, boost your brain for stronger + faster connections, decrease your stress levels, and boost your creativity.

 

It’s a habit that, though small, can increase your enjoyment of these hustling days and remind you of why you do what you do as you take in the real, live world around you. Your creativity is vital, no matter what kind of business you run. But the compounding stress of handling a business can dramatically reduce new ideas. This is why it is so important for you to think about yourself as you plan out your day-to-day life. So go take a walk.
Presence of mind:
Movement:
Deep breathing:
Connecting to the vibrant world
  • Thanks for the reminders. Just recently I’ve been reading another text on the benefits of long walks for creativity, and decided that I will take a long walk (at least half an hour, to an hour) every day.
    And then the weather turned horrible, lol 🙂

    • Alisa

      Great idea! I live in Minnesota – weather is always a factor. That’s why (especially with my kids) I keep my resolutions shorter – they are more likely to happen! Good luck, Nela, and thanks for stopping by!

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