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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Productivity and Plants

'Productivity, in the form of innovation and creative problem solving can mean the difference between mild and great success'.
Roger Ulrich Ph.D.
We all have so many pressures these days and, like most people I know, my life seems to get busier and busier. I am bursting with ideas but there never seem to be enough hours in the day to even see if many of them are worth pursuing, let alone bring them all to fruition which is frustrating.

Just before Christmas, I saw a programme on television about houseplants. Apparently in the U.K. we keep less houseplants than we used to. That is certainly true of me. My 1930's house just doesn't seem to suit some houseplants but then I received a lesson from an orchid!

This was a present from my mother-in-law and because it is in a pretty turquoise pot I put it in the bathroom. It flowered on the window sill for months. Then, within a couple of weeks of the original flower stem giving up, it threw up another one, full of buds. What this orchid was saying to me was 'I really like it here'. And I listened.

For several years I've had a pink cyclamen which has limped along, occasionally producing a pathetic amount of flowers before returning to looking on the point of death again. I do know that cyclamens don't like to get too warm but in the past I'd insisted my cyclamen was where I wanted it to be rather than where it wanted to be.  I moved it to the unheated utility room. And look what happened!

It is so happy and so am I!

But back to productivity. I am always looking for ways to be more productive, to get more done in the seemingly shrinking time available to me, without making huge sacrifices in other areas. According to the programme I watched before Christmas and to various research projects, there is a way. It is through something as beautiful and accessible as plants.

Apparently flowers and plants in the workplace can have a positive impact on the following:-

Innovative thinking
Problem solving
Idea generation
Creative performance
Isn't that amazing? And all of the above are so apt for a writer as well as for other professions. Just by working somewhere containing flowers and plants the men in this study generated 30% more ideas than those in environments without. And this particular research at Texas A&M University back in 2003 showed that women came up with more creative and flexible solutions to problems.
Another study by Exeter University and reported in the Daily Mail in 2013,stated that plants and flowers wherever you work also do the following;-

 Increase concentration
 Improve wellbeing.

House plants have other important benefits too. NASA discovered that cacti have the ability to absorb electromagnetic radiation which can become a problem if you use a laptop a lot of the time. Peace lilies and spider plants are also good for this and I have several spider plants in my house. I love them for their beautiful striped leaves and cascading form as well as the fact they are good for the atmosphere.

According to the principles of Feng Shui plants bring vibrant energy into your space but it is important that they are in pretty pots and are kept  healthy. I'm certainly going to treat myself to a few more houseplants and find the right place to put them. Who knows, maybe increasing my productivity will be easier than I thought!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a good, productive week whatever you are doing.

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