Why a change is as good as a rest for productivity

Making a small change to your routine or working environment can have a big impact on your productivity. Give these tried and tested tips a try.

Change of scenery for a goldfish

I wrote last week about the benefits of taking a break, but sometimes, when you have a difficult task, or a lot of repetitive ones, a change of scenery or working style can be just as helpful. Here are a few of this remote worker’s favourite ways to get a fresh perspective on old problems:

  • Rearrange your desk. Almost anyone can do this, from cubicle worker to CEO to freelancer. Sometimes everything just feels a bit too familiar, and having a switch around, and placing the stapler in a better, handier position can make a surprising difference to your productivity.
  • Change your chair. Unless you are lucky enough to have a fancy chair from the future, you might find that doing the same thing, in the same position day after day starts to ache and distract you, so switch it out. Try standing for a day, or if you work from home, go and sit at the dinner table with your laptop for a change. Stretch it out and stop getting distracted by twinges and creaks.
  • Coffee shop classic. The hum of a coffee shop can really boost productivity and often has less distractions than home or the office. Just you, your coffee and your work. If things are really dire, wander out and try a new venue, honestly, it almost feels like you’re not working as you have none of the familiar trappings convincing you that what you’re doing is tough.
  • Switch around your routine. Always get to your desk for 9 and leave at 6? Try getting up earlier for a week and getting to the desk for 7, then play with the freedom that gives you. Maybe go for a run mid morning, or run a personal errand. Anything to break up and change the norm.
  • Clean up your digital crap. When I’m really in a muddle I work through the last hour’s (or day’s depending on how many I’ve got) emails and delete, respond and file them all. I then clean up my desktop and digital files, making sure everything is where it should be. Maybe that’s procrastination, but it’s doing something useful for ten minutes and it helps me feel like I’ve got a clean slate to start my work from.

Do you have any special tricks to keep the working day fresh? Really, I could do with some new ones for a change!


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