organization

Have a Separate “Work Chair” and “Distraction Chair” for Better Productivity



Objects don't just store memories, they also store our habits, reckons writer and designer Jack Cheng. His advice for having separate chairs for work and distraction is especially useful for those who work from home, but could also be applied to the office scenario.

The gist of the advice is that you should have one "Work Chair" and a separate "Distraction Chair". The Distraction Chair is where you go to when you have to check social networks, chat with friends, and do other non-work-related activities. Your mind is free to pursue whatever activity it wants there, except work.

The "Work Chair", on the other hand, is where you accomplish every objective related to work and don't indulge in social networks or any other non-work activities.

The reason, Cheng says, is that objects like chairs and desks store more than our memories: "They store our behaviours too. The sum of these stored behaviours is an object's habit field, and merely being around it compels our bodies and minds to act in certain ways."

Cheng calls these 'habit fields'. "At first, it may seem like a nuisance to get up and move every time, but that's exactly the point. As long as you adhere to the rules you've created for yourself, over time you'll find that the strength of the habit fields keep you in place -- the act of getting up, walking over, and getting situated in the chair becomes just tedious enough to keep you at the desk, leading to prolonged work periods."

It's easy enough to implement in the home workspace. In the office, you will naturally have a break room, an empty cubicle, or just the lobby area which can be your designated "Distraction Space", preferably with one specific chair in it.

You could even extrapolate this and apply it to various other tasks, such as a chair specifically for creative thinking, another meant only for dealing with financial and paper work, etc.

Check out Cheng's full article for more details on his theory of habit fields and how you can apply it to increase your productivity.

Habit Fields | A List Apart
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