I have, like most of us, a gazillion things I want to get done in any given day. Some of you may have heard me say my to-do list if I put it on a scroll would roll from Massachusetts to California! And, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
One of the best ways I’ve found to stay productive may sound a bit counter-intuitive. When I am feeling the pressure to get stuff done and I’m swirling around basically not getting anything done, it’s time to lace up my sneakers and take a walk on the beach. During this “time out” I am able to ground myself in the beauty of the beach and my neighborhood.
Often about ½ way through my trek, I discover a solution to something I was wrestling with or a new idea for something I wanted to do. Many of my newsletter topics are a result from my walks on the beach.
When I get back from my walk, my head is clear, I feel invigorated and I’m ready to tackle what is waiting for me.
For those of you who are sitting there saying… Gee, Helen, that’s great for you and I really don’t think that’s what will happen for me. Here’s some scientific evidence to back my experience:
1. Sparks Inspiration
Like me, many people have looked to nature for inspiration to solve problems. Believe it or not, nature inspired solutions have included some life changing technical innovations, such as prosthetic arms biomimicking octopus tentacles. Did you know that German researchers found even just seeing the color green for a mere few seconds boosts creativity levels as compared to looking at other colors? (Footnote (1) below)
2. Improved Concentration
After a group of participants depleted their ability to focus, researchers had some of them walk in nature, others walked in the city and the rest just took it easy. Upon their return, they were asked to do a proof reading exercise. The nature group scored the best!
Additionally, there is evidence that spending time in nature may help kids with ADHD. Researchers found that after just 20 minutes in a park, concentration levels improved for these children. (Footnote (2) below)
3. Give Your Mind a Break
The founder of Due, Murray Newlands, is always on a quest to improve the company’s productivity. After reading the results of a Stanford University survey that found daily walks improved productivity, he decided to test it within his own company. The result was a 30% jump in productivity. One of the things he noted was that just like muscles in our arms and legs, your brain gets tired too. Murray started taking walks at 10am and 4pm which tended to be the points when he noticed his brain was fatigued. And, just like I have discovered, when Murray returned from his walk, he was refreshed and ready to go! (Footnote (3) below)
Are you ready to test this theory for yourself? I think you’ll find the results surprising!
(1) “Get Outside! How Nature Enhances Work Productivity” by Carly Robb https://medium.com/thrive-global/get-outside-how-nature-enhances-work-productivity-25e26386c348 – March 7, 2017
(2) “11 scientific reasons you should be spending more time outside” by Lauren Friedman and Kevin Loria, Tech Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4 – April 22, 2016
(3) “How Two 15-Minute Walks Daily During Work Has Increased Company Productivity by 30%” by Murray Newlands https://www.huffingtonpost.com/young-entrepreneur-council/how-two-15-minute-walks-d_b_7978520.html – August 17, 2015