Monday, March 21, 2011

Mood v Work Output

Happy workers are better workers.
Believe it, don't believe it, the fact still remains that elevated mood levels result in, not only more output, but better quality.

Elevated, however, does not always mean happiness.

Take art for example. Some of the greatest art has been painted by off-the-rail, traumatized, manic depressives.
The same goes for poetry, compositions, and most other creative productions.

On a more down to earth level, generally you will find that you prefer to work if you're already having a good day. This may result, however, in distractions. Reflecting on your life, planning future events, searching for things to change around you, these can always tug your attention away from your task. A healthy balance is required in your mental and physical world to achieve superior output.

Overcoming the urge to build.

Almost every human being has the urge to build. This is not limited to Lego blocks when you were a child, science projects in high school or engineering assessment at college. On a deeper level, people have the urge to build (create) life, security, privacy, a comfortable atmosphere and close relationships. Bringing this level up to your consciousness, you may find yourself, as mentioned before, thinking about your friends, your family, your weekends and what not.

So how is one to overcome these thoughts temporarily, to pour all your effort into the task at hand?

-Taking the example of work based around a computer, however, the principles mentioned can be applied with reasonable common sense.

Aesthetics of your surrounding environment.

To first overcome the ability to improve and design, you will need a work area that is both comfortable, minimalistic, yet does not draw attention. Less is more, as they say.
I'm not trying to come across as advocating a 1984-like scenario where you have no photos or personal assets near you. Rather, I am simply advocating a functional workspace.

Without going into too much detail here is a list of what is not recommended (by me, hohoho) to have around you while trying to work.
- If you have photos, make sure they are of a non-descriptive background. No holidays or reflective material.
- Pens in a mug? One of my favourite desk ornaments. However, make sure it is not commemorative of any event.
- No flashy computer gadgets. Keep it functional, people.
- On your desktop, don't have rainmeter or any other flashy product.

I know this sounds like the elimination of fun, but if you just take away a few distractions, you will find that your efficiency improves greatly.

Background music?

You can go either which way I suppose. If you know which music distracts you, don't listen to it. I suggest making a playlist with a mix of music you enjoy, and just calm, natural sounds.
If you have the majority of your playlist as natural music, throwing in a few of your favourites gives you something to look forward to, on a very small scale.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day. I hope this helps you guys, or at least provokes thought.

Thanks guys.

- Oscar.

Side note. Calmsound is a great source of relaxants.


  1. My mood is great. And my work output is sharp. Just like my thing ;)

  2. Nobody, but NOBODY takes away my harry potter fanfic slash art! I don't care if it does improve my productivity.

  3. I try to listen to music that modivates me while distracting my coworkers. That way I get the raise.

  4. yeah, a nice clean zen environment is best for me to work in. all good advice. followed

  5. My mood is utterly depressed, and my output is abysmal! I need focus again.. I lost my mojo!

  6. Nice read. Definitely thought provoking!

  7. That is one hell of a rant! Followed!

  8. Yeah nice rant haha 1+ follower.

  9. Thank you, needed these kind of tips!

  10. Many great points made :)

  11. Very nice tips, I have to agree.

  12. I'd like to read more of your advise / thoughts. Keep it coming mate. I myself can work very well whilst listening to music. Playing games or reading whilst listening to music on the otherhand can be very ditracting.

  13. I think I'm always sad at work so I'm so slow. Followed!

  14. I disagree with the rainmeter comment. I personally use a minimalistic rainmeter theme, and i find it suits me quite well. It's not distracting to me at all. My desktop is clean, and functional.

  15. it was indeed thought provoking, and it was a great read... great rhetoric

  16. thanks for a good read! Thumbs up =)

  17. Thanks for the help i always get distracted when learning things :/

  18. Haha, keep up the excellent work!