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When I want to take action, mood matters. At least it does to me.

By this I am not referring to motivation. That’s a whole other topic to unpack about if motivation even exists at all!


I do have control over my environment and my mood. Mostly.

We all do.


Putting aside chemical factors and psychological stressors, there are some simple things we can do to really crank up the productivity.

There is lots of consensus that environment dictates performance.

So the quick route to better performance is a change of environment.

What I have worked on though are environmental ‘triggers’ that I can put into action regardless of where I am, as lets be honest… you can’t always be in the perfect location.

So for me, it’s about taking ritualistic steps.

Firstly, I clear the space.

This means rubbish gone, lines straightened, clutter out the way.

Secondly it is considering light as best I can. Can I get rid of overhead strip lighting? Can I remove glare from the screen?

Third is smell. This one can be incredibly powerful.

Ever smelled some bread or a specific smell that transports you back in time?

Smell is powerful. So I always have with me a room spray that I like. This gets a spritz when I am in need of a creative or productive work session.

Fourth is music. Specifically on headphones.

The music one is perhaps the most important for me.

I have spent time pulling together music tracks that work best. Though I do also rely on the ‘station’ generation of Spotify to always be discovering new tracks to add to the cycle.

I have invested well in a very comfortable set of noise cancelling headphones.

Now I can engage a fantastic environment wherever I am. Whenever I am.

It took some training to get these things to work, but the brain is great at associations for triggering habits.

Effectively I now have triggers that instantly engage the habit of high productivity.

I can also pick the music depending on the kind of productivity I seek.

Sometimes it is about quickly cranking out a strategic outline.

Other times it might be about really slowing down into a state of true calm in order to look at a challenge from multiple sides and lean deeply into possibility thinking to engineer brilliant potential solutions.

I’m finding that this rhythm of productivity is really helping as I write my next book about harnessing the power of calm within leadership and work.

However I do also have another trick up my sleeve which I will post here soon. (Join if you’d like to get a reminder)

Until then, maybe sit back, look around and really notice your space.

Is there anything you might do to declutter it?

Pick up some rubbish? Polish the surfaces? Hide some cables? Deal with that paperwork you haven’t looked at in over a year?

Is today the day to dig out those headphones and see what difference it makes to you eating a frog (doing the hardest task first)?

However you might like to approach things, see if you can find your rhythm of productivity.

Or if you’re so inclined. Your rhythm of creativity!

Keep being phenomenal!