What does your environment mean to you? Do you mold your environment to match your needs? I like to think of myself as very flexible and willing to go with the flow whatever the circumstance. I sort of wear this flexibility as a badge of being a good mother, wife, and woman. (Although my husband, would probably make a face if I told him that). All of this to say, I have been a little slow on the uptake when it comes to making the most of the power I have to support my success to make a peaceful environment.
Let me tell you more about what I mean. While in the past I have often thought that I should maximize my time by jumping into whatever activity I am wanting to do to. Recently, I have been struck by how effective it is for me to set the stage or craft my environment to support the activity that I am about to do.
Shaping Supportive and Peaceful Environments
Let me give you some examples. One of the things I am enjoying the most and finding to be a relaxing part of my summer is reading to my girls. The times when we enjoy it the most, we set the stage first. I sit in a big chair in our living room which feels warm and cozy and my two youngest girls sit around me, one in the chair with me and one curled up on the back or arm of the chair. When we sit this close, the girls can see the pictures well and we get a warm feeling because of the coziness and shape of our positions. It sounds simple, but I don’t always pay these details the respect that makes our time the best.
Another one of the things, that I am finding really important right now is a defined space for working. In the past, I have not really been someone that enjoys sitting at a table or desk, but that is different now. I decided to set up a special office space for myself, as I was officially starting my business. I got rid of of the clutter on my desk and everything that I did not absolutely need there. I used to use my desk as more storage than as a functional place to get things done, so I got rid of everything that didn’t contribute to the practical functionality of my desk. Books inspire me. So I laid out most of the books, that I use on a regular basis for coaching, at the back of my desk. I can easily see them and access them as I work. Other aspects that contribute to the mini office environment I have set are: a super comfortable chair, having two windows that I can look out of right by my desk, a place where I can put my feet up, and being situated at the back of the room to minimize the noise and interruption from little people. And it was a revelation, not only have I been more productive, but I actually look forward to and enjoy sitting at my desk.
Another space that I have found so helpful for getting work done, is a coffee shop. I am so very productive when I work at Starbucks or another coffee shop. The change in environment, being away from other tasks and people that can easily distract me, and the white noise all contribute together to make a space where I can really focus on what I want and need to get done. I have to be honest though, at first I resisted this productive environment. It seemed expensive and self-indulgent and sort of silly that a noisy coffee shop would be my successful and peaceful environment. But I was able to find ways to earn points for free coffee gift cards, which saved money. With the encouragement of my girlfriends and my hubby, I was able to see that I needed to take advantage of this great environment and go with it. So now I spend time there at least once a week either early in the morning or very late at night, and I am never tempted to abandon my work and go to sleep.
And let’s face it, as a mom of 3 young children I have a need for a place where I can gather my thoughts and refresh. I was shocked a couple years ago when someone asked what my favorite room in my house was and I said the master bathroom. It wasn’t for the reasons you might think. It is not luxurious. It does not have a big jacuzzi tub or nice lighting. It is because it is quiet. I can go into my bedroom, shut the door (and lock it) and then go into my master bathroom and shut the door. And I.Do.Not.Hear.Anything! There are no little voices or fingers coming under the door. I can gather my thoughts and have a moment in my peaceful environment. It is also a quiet place where I can connect with and talk to my husband in the morning as we are getting ready for the day (though we do not utilize this near enough). Again, it is sort of easy for me to resist the idea of using this as a quiet place of peace, but why not use this simple and weird place to my advantage. It seems it is exactly the space I need for where I am at right now. Too bad there isn’t space for a nice big chair in there…
What can you do to set your environment to support what you need today?