What makes people unique? What shapes each individual into who they are today? Each human is shaped by their environment. This is a critical part of each human being’s unique traits and flaws.
For example, if one is raised in an environment with a heavy emphasis on books, or has many book-based experiences, they are more likely to love reading and writing. Take Sherman Alexie, for example. He is an indigenous author, and grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. There, not many knew how to read, and were expected to act dumb in front of the non-Indian folk (see his memoir). However, his father would fill the house with books, and Sherman would voraciously read them. By 3rd grade, he was a very proficient reader, able to read “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. The same can be said about almost any environment, really.
It might seem like we are slaves to our experiences, or our environments, but that isn’t true. We can change our own environments in order to elicit some change in our behavior. Recently, I’ve begun to change my environment in order to become more organized and productive. Here’s what I did, and what I learned.
First, I started simple, and just organized my room. I sorted all of my Star Wars figurines, recycled all of my old papers, moved all of my old junk and toys, and made space for my 3D-printer. I cleaned up my desk, got better lights, and set up all of my binders for school.
Next, I set up my schedule. I started time blocking in Google Calendar and put together a to-do list in Notion. I wrote down all of my priorities and goals by hand so that they would be ingrained into my brain. Finally, I installed a web-blocker. I understood that my biggest waste of time was the internet. You don’t necessarily need to do something like that, but it worked really well for me. Another important change can be an accountability-buddy. I found one in my friend, Jeffrey, and we meet weekly to discuss our progress and hold each other accountable.
Almost instantly, I saw results. The quality of my schoolwork increased tremendously, and I completed my work more quickly than I had previously. This gave me even more time to do what I’m really interested in, such as learning Blender, or learning how AI works.
However, I still need to actively tell myself to stay on task. In the long term, I think I’ll change fundamentally, and be able to be more productive passively, rather than having to constantly remind myself to stay on task.
How You Can Do This:
The first step is self-awareness, especially being aware of your flaws, because that is what you should be aiming to change. A good way to learn more about yourself is to list your goals, regrets, things you do well, and things you don’t do well. Next, focus on the environment itself. Where do you work? How do you want your new environment to reflect your goals? Once you have figured out these key questions, you can work on reorganizing your space to your desire, and the results will be almost instantaneous!