How Sacrificing Your View Can Boost Your Productivity

June 23, 2016
Starting Up

For a long while, I thought being a productive founder involved having a stunning view. One that inspired me to get stuff done.

It makes sense, right?

It’s totally sensible to think that a good view will help you come up with amazing ideas.

It’ll help you dream up the next big feature, or a better marketing strategy you can use to find more customers.

But it turns out a looking out onto something lovely actually spoils the productivity broth.

After thinking about the past views I’ve had in various cities, I can say with some certainty that a fantastic one actually spoils your productivity.

I know, it kinda sucks.

Here’s why you should choose to sit in front of a super boring wall, rather than in front of an amazing view.

Too Many Distractions

The trouble with a good view? It’s distracting.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had plenty to look at in my travels. A stunning lake shimmering in the sun. A city view with towering blocks rising out of the ground.

Trouble is, they were too nice. I wanted to look outside all the darn time.

I found myself looking into the distance instead of my laptop. And that’s a problem. It’s not what I needed.

If you’re looking to become more productive, it’s mega important that you have focus on the task at hand. Not the birds jumping around on the roof opposite.

With a nice view, it’s all too easy to look past the screen and stare. There’s always something going on. Something more interesting than what’s on your screen.

A Brick Wall is Better

I’ve sat in front of a brick wall quite a few times, and inside a kitchen (I was basically working on a stove 🙈).

They certainly weren’t nice places to work, but it turns out I was more productive when I was uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable forces you to get your mind in gear.

I tended to zero in on my work because the surrounding area was just too awful!

Since coming back from traveling, we’ve engineered our office space to become more productive. And that means a rubbish view.

For a few months, we tried to work in front of the glass doors, but rabbits, pheasants, and squirrels kept running past. It’s a good problem to have I suppose, but I just kept getting distracted.

So we decided to move our desk to the brick wall on the other side of the barn. And y’know what? I’ve been far more productive here.

Pick the Cheaper Place With a Bad Working View

It seems so counter-productive to choose an apartment with a bad view. It feels very wrong to seemingly make your life worse.

But if you’re dedicated to becoming productive, and you need to get more stuff done in less time, it’s time to pick the plaster wall instead of the shimmering lake.

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