The quality of our decisions mostly depends on the quality of our habits that in turn are influenced by the environment. According to James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, a good environment is one of the most important drivers to form good habits or get rid of the bad ones.
Here is a quote from Atomic Habits. "It can be tempting to blame failure on a lack of willpower or a scarcity of talent, and to attribute success to hard work, effort, and grit.To be sure, those things matter. What is interesting, however, is that if you examine how human behavior has been shaped over time, you discover that motivation (and even talent) is often overvalued. In many cases, the environment matters more."
By the environment we often mean a place where we work, meet and interact with people and where we get new ideas that become projects or simple to-do's and, when completed, our rewards.
How do you find and choose a good business environment?
This is a good question. How do you know this space will work best for you? How do you know these people are the right people you want to spend time with or work with or even work for? The answer is in the questions you should be asking yourself to make a decision that hopefully you won't later regret.
I have never seen a person who likes to be in a cramped open-space environment with row after row of work stations. If you know you are most productive in a quieter environment where you are all by yourself with your favorite music playing in the background, open or coworking spaces are probably not your thing. On the other hand human beings are engaging social creatures, and we often find ourselves working as a team rather than alone. The solution could be a space broken down into smaller open spaces with bigger desks and possibly dividers/ plants allowing for more privacy plus additional break-out areas for quick coffee meetings, phone calls, capturing ideas or simply changing the environment for regrouping and getting energy.
Like the majority of business owners and entrepreneurs I also face a constant dilemma of keeping a balance between cost and efficiency. If you put too many people in one space trying to drive down occupancy costs, you will keep tilting at windmills, fighting off fatigue, distractions, and interruptions. If your office space is cheap but is far away from a metro station, you will keep paying the price of another valuable thing--time.
Every year we make new year’s resolutions and commitments to become better, healthier, and more productive. Being productive for James Clear also means removing the following things from your plate:
-one topic that robs your attention
-one belief that you holds you back
-one commitment that isn't worth the effort
You don't need to add things to your life to improve it. If you feel like you are overwhelmed, don't be afraid to say 'No' to a project or a client you don't want to work with. Don't be afraid to delegate things to your colleagues or counterparts who will be delighted to get your leads or referrals and will pay you back with business which you may eagerly take.
One of the obvious questions you may as well ask yourself when making important decisions is: Does it make common sense? For me common sense is a powerful divider of what kind of environment I am looking for. If you are looking for a good car, you test drive. For a good book, you read a few chapters. For a good music album, you listen to a couple of songs. And on and on and on.
If you are looking for a good office, you compare. It's important that you see the market and compare different environments to ‘test drive’ your productivity. Depending on your business, your priorities may vary in terms of location, building class and money. However, common sense will always be the big picture you will be relying on in your day-to-day decision-making process.
David Allen, who is my favorite productivity author, has created a system for getting things done known as CORE which I often use in my decision-making process.
Capture. Capturing ideas, thoughts, and options is the essential part of GTD. Mr. Allen recommends to create a trusted inbox to collect everything that enters your mind to process it later and define the next steps going forward. In my business the proverbial inbox is a long list of potential properties which I have put together and organised to quickly find the information I need for a particular requirement.
Organise. Once I have a long list ready for review, the first step is to organise the list and eliminate those items that are not actionable. I typically review the properties and cross out the obvious ones that do not meet basic requirements such as location and budget.
Research and Reflect. The actionable items need more research before prioritising what needs to be done. This is where I get more specific with my analysis of the proposed options requesting more information on each property including floor plans, more pictures, more technical details (HVAC, raised floor, ceiling height, etc.), more detailed financials and creating a comparison spreadsheet to evaluate each option with my client more carefully before we make a final decision and proceed.
Execute. Once a short list is formed and the decision is made which property best reflects your ideal setup, you will need to create a further list of items to bring a deal to successful closure.
This article has been contributed by Yuri Yudakov, managing partner of East Real Moscow