How comfortable is your house or your apartment?
Do you have a really nice living room, with a big screen TV, a really comfortable couch? And video games maybe?
Do you have a workshop and/or a garage?
Do you have a pool and/or a sauna?
Do you have a big library with lots of books?
Do you have pets?
If you’re like most of us, it’s easy to get distracted and reach for entertainment and comfort while working from home.
I used to be terrible at working from home. If I had to wait for anything to happen at work, I would turn on my video games and play until the wait was over… or until I finished one more level?
When my wife and I came back to Toronto from our year-long trip around the world, we bought no furniture, with the exception of a desk and a chair to work from. It was one of the most minimalist apartment you’ll ever see.
When I came to the rental office with my backpack to sign the documents, the person working there asked me when I would need the elevator and I told her: “What I have on my back is all I own or need. No need for an elevator.”. She was certainly not expected that.
Living In Spain
For now, I live in Málaga, Spain. It’s in the south. It’s considered to be a pretty warm place. But it’s winter now, and the temperature is between 5–10 during the night. Doesn’t sound too bad, but when your window doesn’t close properly, it’s almost as if you were sleeping outside!
I can only be in my room when it’s to be in bed, where I have warm blankets. I can’t really shower in my apartment either. Sure there is hot water, but there’s no window, so all the air from outside comes in. It’s freezing getting out of that shower.
On top of that, every time I come back home, the landlord’s dog barks at me.
Spending Time On Things That Matter
But these two moments of my life were when I was most productive. And I love these places for that.
By not having any distraction and having my office as the only comfortable place in the apartment, I was able to consistently focus on my work. And because there was really nothing much to do at home, we would go out more.
In Málaga right now, I have every reason to be out all the time. I go to the gym, work long hours (intentionally) and hang out with friends. I’m only there to cook, eat and sleep.
Where To Start
I know this is not easy, and may not work for everyone, but I’d suggest starting with removing the comfortable couch. It’s the source of many distraction problems. There’s almost no need to remove the TV or video games with there’s nowhere comfortable to sit on. It’s a good way to limit the TV time.
And piece by piece, you can start removing other things.
If you’re moving, take less things with you.
If you’re back from traveling, only get yourself a mattress to sleep on.
It’s easy to get distracted with all the fancy stuff we have around us. Dare remove key pieces and you’ll find yourself to be more productive and sociable.
It’s not an easy shift, but like anything, once you’re used to it, you won’t want to go back!
You can do this!
Thanks for reading! :)
First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/be-more-productive-and-sociable-by-making-your-environment-uncomfortable-10f3202547be