Spending time in nature will increase your productivity (yes, really). We spend most of our time indoors, at work, on our laptops, glued to our tech, commuting or watching TV. There are multiple health benefits associated with time spent outdoors. We all want to be more productive, nature just might give you the helping hand you need. Here’s why spending time in nature will increase your productivity.
You don’t need to move to the countryside to increase your productivity
The good news is that even if you live in a city, you don’t need to go far to spend time in nature. Researchers from the University of Melbourne found that anything from taking a walk in a park, gazing out of a window or simply looking at an image of nature on your screen saver will do the trick. The researchers found that even a short breaks of 40 seconds improved attention and performance, but why?
Attention Restoration Theory & Productivity
Recent research discovered that UK workers spend less than a meagre 15 minutes in nature. Recommendations suggest double this amount as a minimum for how long we should be spending outdoors. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) was developed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan authors of The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. ART posits that when we spend time in nature, or look at scenes of nature, we are more productive and focus more effectively.
ART suggests that attention may be “restored” by changing to a different kind of task that uses different parts of the brain. Creating regular breaks and spending time in natural environments and wilderness has psychological benefits including attention restoration.
The Benefits of Time in Nature
Time in nature has multiple benefits, little wonder that nature on prescription is now offered as an intervention in the UK. In addition to improved focus and increased productivity, here’s what you can expert to see as return for your investment on spending time in nature.
- The increase of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) encouraging neurogenesis to keep your brain in optimum condition
- Improved cognitive performance
- Reduced stress
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Improved absorption of vitamin D
- Orienting of your circadian rhythm
- Improved cardiovascular and immune system
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved mood
Whether you call it a walk in the park or forest bathing, time spent in nature will reap rewards. Here’s how to increase your time in nature.
Why Spending Time In Nature Will Increase Your Productivity in 6 Steps
- Get off a stop early on your commute to work or park a couple of blocks away and walk the rest. Do the same at the end of your day to create a separation between work and home life.
- Schedule regular outdoor breaks during the day.
- Take your work outside. Create ‘walking meetings’ where you head outside to meet with colleagues or clients.
- Take a lunch break (we’re not counting eating at your desk for this one. Carve out time for lunch and head outside for fresh air and a slice of nature.
- If you regularly go to the gym, switch things up and go for a walk, hike or a run instead.
- Plan a picnic in the park with friends, family or colleagues. It’ll build and strengthen connections at the same time.