Fresh air. A break from screen fatigue. Being outside can provide a stress-free space to take out a pen and commit your best ideas to paper. Furthermore, studies show that taking notes by hand promotes long-term memory and can inspire creativity.
Getting outside with a notebook may be the productive endeavor you were looking for. Plus, we could all use the change of scenery: Today, most of us spend roughly 93 percent of our day inside a building.
Here’s why you should grab your notebooks and head outdoors.
Reason #1: Avoiding electronic distractions ultimately leads to greater productivity.
Consider leaving your smartphone behind: Smartphone separation anxiety is real, as is the temptation to shift your attention every time you hear a chime. Take advantage of the peaceful silence that comes when unplugging by taking notes and brainstorming on paper. Unlike typing, taking notes by hand forces you to process information in a different way and your brain activity heightens.
Reason #2: It fuels creativity, fosters productivity and reduces stress.
Walk outside before or while taking a conference call. Walking increases creative ideation by 60 percent, according to a study by Stanford University. Just the act of strolling increases blood flow and can get your creative juices flowing, says neuroscientist Andrew Tate.
So, walk, talk and listen. Then sit and reflect on what was discussed by writing things down in your notebooks—a stress relief technique in and of itself. Writing lets you reflect and better evaluate a situation, helping you approach challenges with longer periods of focus.
Reason #3: Mother Nature can boost your overall health and mood.
Too much time sitting appears to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. A drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, says Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub, co-author of Your Brain on Nature, since it stimulates your brain’s neurons while turning off its stress response.
Encourage your team to take advantage of their alfresco meeting time by writing down ideas and questions related to business challenges in their notebooks. Sometimes the best ideas come when unplugged, so put them on paper and resolve to make today a productive one.