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The Problem with Sameness at Work

Some people can report for work in the morning and crank widgets all day, every day. They don’t mind being in one room for an entire day. They don’t mind sitting all day. They don’t mind things being pretty much the same all day.

I am not one of those people.

This realization came to me only a few years ago. Realizing that variety in the day was important for my sanity and productivity, I employed two strategies:

  1. Working for an hour (or so) in one place and then switching to another location for the next hour.
  2. Building into every week a longer block of time to work outside of the building.

These tactics worked well in order to combat the sameness of working in one office for an entire day.  Strategy two also helped me to know that at least once per week I was focusing on bigger things than just the day to day.

Makes sense right? I mean, who among us really loves (I mean, deeply enjoys) sitting at the same blessed desk all day every day, day after day?  And yet, most people... that's what they do.  They settle for mediocre lighting, poor seating, a desk that they don't love and on and on.

Cause of Sameness at Work #1: The workplace itself.  Most companies treat workers like hamsters who scurry in to work, scurry all day and then scurry home at night.  It's dehumanizing.

Cause of Sameness at Work #2: A lack of courage.  You could probably work in multiple places at work if you wanted to.  It takes courage to say something to your boss.   It takes guts to try and cut down on interruptions (which are a productivity suck).  It takes moxy to decrease the number of meetings you attend.  

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Now that my job is more mobile, flexible and self governed, I can work in my home office for part of the day and my other office for the other part of the day. Or, I can start at a coffee shop and then head to the library. The point is that I have the flexibility to keep it moving, switching my location whenever my energy starts to be depleted, etc.

When you can fight back against the tyranny of sameness, your productivity will soar and you'll be much happier.

How do you combat sameness in your workplace?

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