Open Thinkering


Tag: space

3 things I need to maintain my productivity.

Feeling unproductive today? Why’s that?

About ten years ago I started getting migraines. I didn’t know why so I looked online. An excellent resource (now sadly offline) by the Migraine Trust suggested keeping a food diary to identify any triggers. Sure enough, the food colouring Annatto was to blame. I know to avoid it now (which is why you won’t see me touch anything orange at buffets).

Similarly, it takes reflection to identify what makes you unproductive. Once you’ve done so you need to counteract them somehow. So here’s my biggest productivity-boosters. Conveniently, they all begin with ‘S’.


Whilst it’s true that people need different amounts of sleep depending upon various things including age, it’s still a good idea to aim for 8 hours per night. You’ll usually find me in bed by 22:00 or soon after every night, reading before I go to sleep. I also use a Lumie Sunrise Bodyclock to wake me up gradually in autumn/winter and the Sleep Cycle iPhone app when I’m sleeping alone.


I’m sure in a perfect world I would love silence. Unfortunately it’s only very occasionally that I’m in a place that’s perfectly silent. The rest of the time that I’m in a ‘quiet space’ it’s a faux-silence, a world of hushed tones, shuffling papers and apologies-for-the-noise. That’s why I listen to music so much. I’m currently in the process of reorganising my Spotify playlists from a (probably rather anachronistic) alaphabetical-by-artist listing to a situation-based system. My currently most-played track? Sounds of the Amazon Rainforest. It doesn’t always have to be ‘music’ – I also like the Buddha Machine Wall and Brian Eno’s Bloom app for the iPhone.


People who know me know that I’m fairly outgoing. They’d probably describe me as an extrovert. People who know me well know that I’m an introverted extrovert. Or an extroverted invert. Whichever, I need my alone time and my wife understands that. Those who don’t quite understand this would do well to read Caring For Your Introvert from Atlantic Magazine, March 2003.

What are YOUR biggest productivity-boosters?