When people start talking about personal change they talk about psychology and therapy and productivity and all sorts of time management things but what they absolutely leave out which is the easiest basis for human development is environment. Change a persons environment you change the person. A child who is under performing at home, may perform completely different Lee in a different home or in a different school. They may also change their behaviour with a different garden or a different set of school friends. Environment influences everything and yet it’s the last thing we think of when it comes to daily self management. Sitting in the environment where the problem originated and trying to solve the problem is like sitting in a pot of stew wondering why it’s getting hot. You put out fires by stepping out of the fire and throwing water on it not standing in the fire puffing and try to blow it out. So today we’re gonna talk about environment.
The science of environment is called biophilia. Biophilia is the study of the connection between people, spaces and nature. The presumption is people perform better when they are around nature.
Biophilia is used by architects, urban designers and even interior decorators to create environments that are productive for people. There is an article available called the economics of biophilia and they study all sorts of different uses of biophilia in banks, hospitals, homes and measure it against the increased performance of productivity. So in summary it means if you stick a pot plant on your desk you gonna work better. Probably not an extreme change but every little bit counts.
But let’s take this matter seriously.
The world is experiencing more and more urbanisation and you are one of the people in the world who is being impacted. Sitting in an office all day or confronted by back to back meetings sitting at home, you are suffering from what is called nature withdrawal symptoms. Or in another language urbanisation. This suffering is very surreptitious. You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. But I guarantee it’s there. Just sitting under fluorescent light has been studied and shown to Coles people mental disruption. So if you want to be one of the people who take advantage of biophilia this might be a great day to explore the topic.
Well I’m going to suggest first up is that you do a process which aligns with this philosophy of biophilia but has nothing to do with it. It’s called decluttering. One of the key parts of the 30 day challenge is for you to go home and take to your wardrobe and rip it to shreds, throwing out ruthlessly stuff that you have been holding onto, wishing would come back into fashion and or have outgrown. Either way if you haven’t worn it for six months maybe it’s time that somebody else did.
Decluttering goes to your underwear as well. For women this is not such a challenge because the opportunity to replace the underwear they have been wearing and buy themselves some new stuff is gold. But it’s a well known fact that many blokes wear underwear until such time as they are so paperthin that if they sneeze while folding them they break into dust. Men also accumulate undies like postage stamps. It’s called just in case theory. Or the Sunday I’ll.
Sox are another opportunity to declutter. When I did my first declutter I had so many Single socks looking for a second pair, but on the day I decided I threw them all out and of course, found the other sock the next day. Either way it comes time to go through your clothing drawer and ditch what isn’t needed.
Then you might go to the kitchen or other cupboards and have a look around what you’ve been accumulating and what would be wise to D clutter. The decluttering process is a very important one. Cluttering your mind creates chaos, but clutter in your environment is even worse.
Now given that you’ve thrown out 200 pairs of undies and 50 single socks you may be required to go down to the shops and buy new ones
Now it’s very important. Do not buy clothing that a person who gets paid more than you would not wear. Sometimes we save money on clothing and underwear thinking that we are being smart but nobody treats us better or worse than we treat ourselves and underwear ironically is a great metric of that.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with management consultants of a very high standard who have forgotten to change up their shoe quality and are still walking around in worn out shoes.
Next I want to talk to you about the environment that is one of the most powerful mantras that we can have. And that is the clothing we wear. You may be very addicted to that shirt that’s in the cupboard but have you looked at the stains on the collar? You may love that suit that you’ve been wearing for so long but have you looked at the threads and the way it hangs on you. Sure it’s comfortable but. What we wear and the quality of it creates a powerful impression both for ourselves and others. It’s a little tricky because we know all work from home quite a lot and the clothes we wear around the house may not matter as much as we think. But I know some very powerful leaders who still dressed for work when they’ve got to be at home.
So we’re going to D clutter, improve our wardrobe so that our brand is more on target, and last but not least talk about nature.
I’ve taken thousands of business people out into the bush over this past 35 years. It has never failed. People are different in nature. More inspired, more generous, more friendly and more visionary. It’s ironic that we go to the bush to take a break but we become better versions of ourselves in the process. So whether you like it or not stepping outside the house or the office for a small break during the day is going to have a profound effect on your stress, well-being and productivity.
Included in this idea are the concept of walking meetings, having an office near a window with nature outside and even, it’s been proven that having nature on your screensaver will be a fantastic add-on to your productivity tools.
A change is as good as a holiday and it is spectacular when you can move things around by using a laptop that is portable and give yourself the opportunity to work near nature. However, it’s very important to realise that concentration requires some level of interruption free time. And if you sit in a cafe or somewhere out in nature where you may get picked by a bird or bitten by a dog this may not be what is expected to be a highly concentrated experience.
Your homework today is to make a list of the areas of your personal life where you can do clutter and schedule a decluttering time. Book it in and make it happen. Don’t necessarily need to recruit others into the experience. Plus make a list of the things you can do to change your personal environment, i.e. clothing and outfit, and your public environment meaning your workspace and the environment you call the office. Putting some greenery around you in your office even if it’s at a corporate environment can make an enormous difference to your focus and temperament at work. If you need proof of this just ask me for the article the economics of biophilia.