Fresh air in, dirty smelly stuff out

May 21, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

giant green fan Though it’s the best time of the year to be outside here in DC,  fresh air comes in many other forms.  Surrounding yourself with that is what keeps me breathing easier–and generally sane.  So what the heck am I talking about–and how do you find it?

Fresh air for me has many names,

and a couple of them are Keith and David.  They’re coworkers who have this knack for doing what they say they’re going to do, when they say they’re going to do it, time and again.  When I have a trip or deadline, I no longer stress because things just get taken care of with the two of them.

Another form of fresh air is, well, just that.  Opening the window ( I have a huge one with plenty of greenery by my desk) or working outside–as I’m doing right now–relaxes me.

Then there are people I’ve worked with or for who require constant nudging, don’t double-check things, take a long time to pay, etc.  They account for significant amounts of heavy-breathing.

And other things can suck away my energy, like a disorganized desk or piles of tasks (digital or physical) that haven’t been planned out.

This is perhaps a poor man’s version of getting toward the 80:20 rule (my advice on that here), but more than that for me it’s recognizing that certain things and people affect my state even before I start working…much like the quality of the air we breathe.  Surround yourself with fresh air and you’ll breathe easier.

Are there surroundings or types of people that profoundly affect you even before you get started?  Any tips for doing something about it?

If you liked this article, it would be super cool if you’d subscribe to Technotheory via RSS or email. In the mean time, here are some similar articles:

Flickr photo credit: Twenty Questions

You should really subscribe to Technotheory via Subcribe via email email or rss.

2 Responses to “Fresh air in, dirty smelly stuff out”


  1. Sonia Simone

    I think this is such a good point. My version of “dirty air” is clutter.

    I love clutter, I surround myself with clutter, my office at home should have a biohazard sticker on it. But it’s not good for my mental clarity or my productivity.

    A clean visual space with ONE thing in front of me helps my stress level and my output tremendously, even though all my instincts fight it.

  2. Jared Goralnick

    Thanks for stopping by, Sonia! I feel the same way about clutter. Sometimes it seems impossible to get it all organized in time for when you want to do real work. In those situations (at least lately), I’ve found that heading outside to work can be a huge boost.

Impart Your Theoretically Interesting Wisdom

Your Comments