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Community Manager

Does changing your location boost your productivity?

Inspired by this post where the author describes conquering tasks by following a "concentration circuit".


Struck home for me. I definitely feel more capable to slog through complicated tasks, especially writing, if I'm in a different location. Actually happened to me yesterday. Hopped from cafe to cafe, plowing through a bunch of writing in the process.


Compare that to today. I've been at home since this morning. Have I gotten work done? Absolutely. But my mind is definitely not in the same "sit down and write" space as yesterday.


What about you? Do you find changing locations helpful? Does it give you a boost?

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Super User I

Great article, and I see where the author is coming from, but for me, going out doesn't seem to work very well. Since I work at home, if there is a power failure or the internet is out, I will take my laptop to either the Starbucks or the indy coffee shop down the street. In both cases, it's better than no internet, but... I find that the noise and other people distract me (and maybe because it's a tight neighborhood and I know a lot of people, it's hard not to run into someone I know). Maybe I need to go where no one knows me.

And since I have a super-large monitor, if I have to work somewhere with my laptop monitor, it feels very small and confining, and not as productive.

if I want to boost my productivity, I find that just getting out for a bit (not working, just out) often does that. Sometimes it means going to the gym (3 blocks from here) or a Pilates class. Sometimes to run an errand. Sometimes just to get coffee and come home. But almost always, being away from my computer for 30 minutes is more than enough for a boost. 

Since it would be REALLY easy for me to be in front of my computer all day with no break, I try to schedule things so that I have at least one excuse to leave every day, even if just to do an errand. And if nothing else and I have not gone anywhere by 3pm, I will go get coffee. Yes, I know I could make coffee here at home. That's not the same.

For some reason, taking a break at home doesn't do it. I have to actually leave and get a different view of the scenery to really clear my head.

I realize that for many people, working at home is tough, too many distractions and hard to stay focused. But I treat my office like an office -- nothing much else happens in here except work. And I don't go where there are other tempting activities around the house (um, like the laundry room, or my craft/sewing room).

I'm a developer so, different kind of writing but no less need for creativity.  I have actually read books on boosting creativity and changing environments seems to be a big factor.  Taking a walk is good, and driving is even better.  For me, though, both are inconvenient and it's hard to drive and code.  So here's my solution:  I game.

If I hit a thorny issue with program flow or a difficult algorithm, I'll start a Diablo III session or go driving in Need for Speed.  After 10 to 30 minutes of high adrenaline, heart pumping action, I get back to work to find that my creative juices are back on high impact.

Keep on Coding!
Mark Cicchetti - There are 10 kinds of people... those who understand binary and those who don't.