From the archive: This episode was originally recorded and published in 2019. Our interviews on Entrepreneurs On Fire are meant to be evergreen, and we do our best to confirm that all offers and URL’s in these archive episodes are still relevant.
Tobi Fairley is the owner of two 7-figure businesses: an award-winning interior design firm, and a coaching business for creative entrepreneurs to help them design their lives for maximum performance.
Tobi’s Instagram – Follow Tobi on Instagram!
A Guide to Your Most Productive Home – Visit Tobi’s site and download her free PDF: A Guide to Your Most Productive Home!
3 Value Bombs
1) To follow through on habits, have visual cues. See things out in plain view.
2) Think about how you like to feel and where you like to be when you believe you are being productive in your life. How can you bring that to one or to all of your spaces?
3) Realize and believe that you have control.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How to Design Your Home for Maximum Productivity and High Performance with Tobi Fairley
[0:51] – Tobi shares something about herself that most people don’t know.
- She likes to work from her bed.
[3:14] – Why are you passionate about helping people hack their home for optimum performance?
- She has spent a lot of time being productive… and she developed an interest around the function of the home and what it does in helping her be even more productive.
[4:42] – What are some simple tweaks that will help us be more productive?
- Visual cues – see things out in plain view.
- Example: have The Freedom Journal on your nightstand so it’s the first and last thing you do every day :)
[8:32] – What are the biggest profitability leaks in people’s homes?
- Visual Noise vs. Actual Noise – noise can cause self-inducing problems.
- The color of your workspace can impact your mood.
- Blue – can reduce mental strain.
- Yellow – stimulates creativity and positivity.
- Green – brings balance and restorative.
- Red – can be over-stimulating.
[16:16]- How can we stop our procrastination mindset with the design of our space?
- Think about how you like to feel, and where you like to be when you believe you are being productive in your life. How can you can bring that to one or to all of your spaces?
[21:43] – A timeout to thank our sponsors!
- Closers.io: A world-leading sales training and certification company. For more info on their sales certification visit Closers.io/eof!
- HubSpot: A platform that’s easy for your entire team to use! Learn how HubSpot can make it easier for your business to grow better at Hubspot.com!
[21:47] – Tobi talks about redesigning her home 3 years ago.
- Be aware of your surroundings and your mindset in those surroundings.
[26:45] – Four things your cluttered home is trying to tell you:
- Scarcity thinking around time and money.
- Productivity is out of strike.
- Money mindset.
- Unhealthy habits.
[30:59] – The 3 biggest things that are making you tired at home:
- Bad lighting – blue light will suppresses melatonin production.
- Sitting too long – will make your body tired.
- Bad design in general – frustrations around home that are not efficient.
[35:01] – Tobi’s parting piece of guidance
- Awareness of your space: Be aware of what is not working and look for real solutions to make work better for you.
35: 47 – Learn more about Tobi and what she has going on!
- Tobi’s Instagram – Follow Tobi on Instagram!
- A Guide to Your Most Productive Home – Visit Tobi’s site and download her free PDF: A Guide to Your Most Productive Home!
[39:49] – Thank you to our sponsors!
- HubSpot: A platform that’s easy for your entire team to use! Learn how HubSpot can make it easier for your business to grow better at Hubspot.com!
John: What is shaking, Fire Nation? JLD here with an audio master class on how to design your home for maximum productivity in high-performance. Such a key thing, Fire Nation, that's so many people overlook. And to drop these value bombs, I have brought Tobi Fairley on the mic because she's the owner of two seven-figure businesses, an award-winning interior design firm, and a coaching business for creative entrepreneurs to help them design their lives for maximum performance.
And today, Fire Nation we're going talk about some simple tweaks to make your home more productive, some profitability leaks that are happening in your home right now, four things that your cluttered home is trying to tell you, and the three biggest things that are making you tired at home, and so much more when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Tobi say, “What's up,” to Fire Nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know.
Tobi: Hey, hey, Fire Nation. I'm so happy to be here and this is an interesting – well, I think it's interesting – but sort of funny story about me too. So we're going to talk all about the home and the environment today and a little secret about me is that I really like working from my bed and my team knows this, I have a lot of virtual team members, I have one in Australia, I have one in Israel. And so if we're having a team meeting – not with clients, you know, not where they're seeing me – but if we're on Zoom or something, I sometimes work from my bed and it's kind of an inside joke.
Well, a friend of mine who's in the design industry was asking me a few years ago about this whole concept I was talking to him about making money while you sleep. But he said, “Hey Tobi,” and he said this in front of a bunch of people at a dinner. He said, “Hey, Tobi. Tell me all about that thing you're doing where you make money in bed,” and I was like, “No, no, no! That's a whole other profession. That's not the profession I'm in.”
We had a big laugh about it, but it's really kind of funny now because I make a whole lot of money from bed on my computer creating content, and partly because as you'll learn today, you can do some really amazing things to your house and make you like it better than any place you've ever been including the best luxury hotel. So that's a little secret about me. I like to work from my bed.
John: Well, I love that secret and Fire Nation just kind of picture like 30, 40 years ago, like looking at individuals who are working then and say, “Do you know that in the not-too-distant future people are going to be running six and seven-figure businesses literally from their bed.”
And it's just an amazing world that we live in, it's a great opportunity, and I have a lot of people saying, “You know, John, why don't you ever do video interviews?” I'm like, “Well, I'm here in Puerto Rico. I love wearing my Caribbean bathing suit and tank top and I don't necessarily feel like being on video all the time. So I just love working in that environment. And this is what works for me.” So Fire Nation, what works for you? Working in bed works for Tobi. I love all of this.
Tobi: Exactly. Yes.
John: And we're talking, Tobi, about designing your home for maximum productivity and high performance, which is so important because if you are going to work from home, Fire Nation, or if you're going to come home to a house that isn't set up for this, you're going to struggle in a lot of different ways in life.
So Tobi's an expert. We're going to talk all about it. But first off, why are you passionate about this, Tobi? Why are you passionate about helping people hack their home for optimum performance
Tobi: Several reasons. I spend a lot of time and have my whole life and my own personal development. You know, productivity, making money, all the stuff that we think of as entrepreneurs. And I'm a little bit different than a typical creative interior designer. I have an interior design degree, I also have an accounting degree, and I have an MBA. So I'm really of both the left and the right brain which is really unusual. And so I kind of geek out on the function of the home. Yeah, anybody that knows how to decorate or design can make a space beautiful, but it's so much more than that.
So, I totally geek out on the function and what that does for our habits and our productivity, and I'm always thinking about this in my own life. Like, how can I be more productive? How can I make more money? How could I be more effective? How can I have more stamina? And so I've known for a long time that our environment plays a huge role in this and people just don't talk about it near enough in my opinion.
It's becoming much more of a hot topic when we think about things like sleep and other things that are really, you know, playing a huge role in how we function, how we work, how we live, but I just want to shine even a bigger spotlight on this very important topic.
John: So I like simplicity, Tobi, and so let's keep it dead simple here. What are some simple tweaks that is going to make us more productive?
Tobi: Okay. Simple, simple tweaks. Okay. So here's one of the things that I want you to think about. So a lot of us know that to follow through on habits we want to be able to have visual cues, see things out in plain view, right? If we want to remember to take our medicine, it's got to be sitting on the counter.
But we're not thinking about is there are as many drawbacks to visual clutter as there are benefits to having things sitting out and so a lot of people don't realize that the tweak of creating and really designing how you follow through on things because how they're placed in your own.
So do we want to look at 50 different containers and medicine bottles and hair products and things on our bathroom counter or on our bedside table? We don't, because, yeah, we might follow through, but it clutters our mind, it stresses us out, and we might not even realize it.
So thinking about what kind of container that stuff is in and how you place it on the countertop and is it possible to make it beautiful? And it sounds silly, but how can you design both for visual cues and to remove visual clutter? Is that simple or do we need to dig into that a little bit more?
John: That's super simple, but let's give maybe a specific example of what we can do to kind of make that a reality.
Tobi: There's a reason why places like The Container Store and Target and all these places online have all these beautiful containers. And we're like, “Yeah, that's fun, but it's only good if you're like Marie Kondo-ing your house or something like that. You know, like if you're really into nerding out on organization, that's all great.
But what I want people to see is they could completely up-level the way that they function every single day by looking around – and I've done this in my own house really like a case study – like looking around at what's on the top of your counter or on your bedside table and thinking what kind of container, what kind of beautiful container could I put this in that makes it so much less visually noisy – if you that's a word, it's a word to me – so that I'll remember to use it but when I'm looking at it, it's really pretty, it's relaxing, it doesn't make me have anxiety.
And a lot of people don't even realize how much stress and anxiety they have from all the stuff that's happening in their house. There's a whole reason why this whole clutter movement has become a real thing because it actually is truly a problem to have all the stuff around our house that we do.
John: And let's talk about visual cues for a second, Fire Nation, because listen, this is why I tell people have the Freedom Journal on your nightstand right next to your bed so it's the first thing you see and the first thing you do every day, and it's the last thing you do and the last thing you see every day.
But recognize that that's giving you that visual cue so if you have all these other clutter things that are also giving you visual cues that you don't want then you need to get rid of that because all these visual cues are going to make you think, they're going to take up energy, bandwidth, they're going to have that residue that Cal Newport talks about in Deep Work. So critical to think about and –
John: – Tobi, something you probably don't know about me but I love a profit, and we have a monthly income report we've been doing now for 70 months – that's 7-0 – where we share publicly our monthly income. And I'm big-time focused on net profit because it's not about what you make, Fire Nation, it's about what you keep.
So of course, Puerto Rico and our 4 percent tax for the win, but the reality is, Tobi, there are some huge profitability leaks in people's homes right now that are cutting into that net profit, and I'm sitting here too wanting to learn from you because I'm sure there's some in my house right now. So talk about those profitability leaks that are in our home right now.
Tobi: Okay, perfect. And some of the simple tweaks in the profitability leaks go together because they can be really simple. So No. 1, we talked about visual noise but actual noise, the noise factor. So what's happening in your house.
I had people tell me all the time, “Well, my spouse and I both work from home,” or, “I have kids at home,” or people that don't work from home and work in an office space – the noise is a huge stress-inducing problem. It causes us to break focus. It causes us to get distracted. So thinking about your space and where you choose to work in your home or in your – you know, what your office space is like – think about the noise. Are there things that you can do to find a more quiet place? Can you do things to the floor coverings, to the window treatments, to the wall coverings?
And for some of that gets deeper into design and we're not going to go into all that but just starting to be aware of the noise in your space because it is a huge problem.
We've talked a little bit about clutter and as you said, clutter expends mental energy, it creates stress, it increases your exhaustion, and we're not super profitable when we're exhausted. Right? So, so many people don't really dig in and think about, “Okay, yeah. I might need to clean out my closet but what's happening in my workspace with clutter? What's happening on my desk with clutter? And is it actually making me lose money or not make the most money that I can because there's too much clutter?”
So those are two huge ones. Another one to think about that's really fun from a design perspective is color and color psychology. And so there's really – it depends, you know, there's certainly personal preference when it comes to color but there's a lot that goes into what color your spaces are.
So in design trends and people loving things that look more sleek and more modern these days, a lot of people are using the color gray. It's kind of been hot in the design industry and world for a while and I'm sure that everybody knows if you think about it that gray is pretty much a popular color these days. But gray is not necessarily great for being your most productive and your most profitable. It can be depressing. It can feel cold. It can really impact your mood.
So I'm not saying that gray doesn't work for everybody because there is that personal preference piece, but I just want you to start paying attention to what the color in your space is doing to your output, your mood, because all of those things impact, essentially, not just our productivity but our profitability because if we're not following through, if we're not wanting to do the work that we need to do, if we're not staying focused, that's a problem, right?
So, some of the colors that you might want to think about using: blue is a great color. Of course, there are a million shades of all these colors, but blue is the world's favorite color. Everybody across the entire world most people say that blue is their favorite color. And blue can be really great for you for focus, it can reduce mental strain. The wrong color blues could make you a little sleepy but not for the most part. It's a pretty solid color to use for being productive and being profitable.
John: What kind of blues might make you sleepy? Is like the lighter blues?
Tobi: Yeah, really serene colors. So in my bedrooms, I use – the last two bedrooms I've had, I've used a soft blue because it helps you relax. And we can talk about bedrooms too. There's a whole huge piece to bedrooms and sleep and all of that stuff. But yes, too soft of a blue, especially something leaning towards a gray, might get too drab, it might make you too relaxed, but for the most part, blue is a pretty safe color to use.
If you really want to be energized, yellow can be a really great color. It stimulates positivity, it stimulates creativity, it's a very optimistic and happy color. So again, this is going to play into how you need to feel and how you want to feel to be your most productive. So you're tuning in to a couple things here. You're tuning into A.) How do I need to feel to make the most money and B.) What does color, what kind of role does it play in that whole equation for me?
Greens are great. Greens bring – as you can imagine, blue and green both come from nature so green means balance, it's very restorative, it's really easy on the eyes. So if you're on your computer a lot, a green space can be a good color for you to rest your eyes when you're not looking at your electronics. You know, you can work a long time with that color without exhaustion.
So you know, just thinking through that – and then of course, something really super bright like red, it's great for a really physical space. It can be great for a gym or your workout space but it can also be very overstimulating. I always think about red or that sort of orange-red color that was in Target or it still is their color, but when I was a kid, I remember the walls in a Target store being that bright red and I would go shopping with my mom and I would feel so anxious in Target and they're like, “This is so weird.”
I specifically remember this from being a child, that I did not like the way it felt in there. And so color psychology is a real thing and it's really something that we should think about. So is your office just drab and gray or drab and white? White can be great if you're doing things like I do where you're using a lot of color where I'm looking at fabrics and samples and you know, all kinds of things like that. It's a great way to really see other colors, but most of us aren't doing that sort of work and so can also be a little too stark, it can be drab.
And for me, I have multiple spaces that I work in my house and I use them based on the mood that I want to be in at that particular time. So do I want to be super focused or do I want to be a little more relaxed so that I can have more longevity on a certain kind of project? And so I actually think through which space I'm going to work in to create the mood or the feeling I need to increase profitability or to increase focus or productivity
John: So Fire Nation, there's so much here. I want to just run through a couple of highlights.
No. 1, there's also visual noise, not just actual noise. So that's a lot of what Tobi was just talking about. But talking about actual noise, I can remember so clearly that Kate's office in San Diego, she was right on top of a stop sign where people would come in, they'd slam on their brakes, and then they'd hammer the gas.
And that was just happening all day long and you know, you'd kind of like to say like, “Yeah, like I tune it out after a while.” Like you might tune it out on some levels consciously but it's still dragging on your subconscious. Like a people slam their brakes and hammer the gas, like you're registering that because that's just a very legitimate noise.
And we actually have this little town in San Diego called Point Loma and everybody that lived there, we always called it the Point Loma Pause because you'd be hanging out in their house and all of a sudden every 15 minutes – I think it was actually even like more like 12 or 10 minutes – a plane would fly overhead because it was right in flight path and everybody would have to pause while they were talking. So it would just be like The Point Loma Pause, we pause for like 15 seconds and then we go back into it.
And of course, people are just like, “Oh, yeah. After like the first month I was here, I never hear anymore,” but you really you're registering it subconsciously. And think about color too, Fire Nation. I mean, right now I'm looking at an orange wall because it's my firewalls, my energy wall, I love this color, it's my brand, and that's why I have it as the wall that I'm looking at right now.
Blue can be focus or reducing mental strain, yellow can be energy, green can be balance and restorative, red is high energy. So think about all this stuff, Fire Nation. And I love, Tobi, how you said you might go to different rooms in your house based on the different moods or what you need to get accomplished in that specific moment in time. So really a cool idea there.
Now, let's just be frank, Tobi. Humans love to procrastinate. We love to procrastinate. It's just like so easy to procrastinate because our brains don't want to work hard. It's True. So how can we stop our procrastination mindsets with the design of our space?
Tobi: Okay. I love this one because yes, we do want to procrastinate, right? And the reason we procrastinate is because we think something else is more fun or less of a chore than what we're trying to psych ourselves up to do, right? And so I believe that you can undo some of that thinking, some of that procrastination mindset, with the way you design your spaces.
And so think about how, you know, sometimes people leave their own space and they go to say a Starbucks because they believe something about that space makes them more productive. They either feel connected to other people or it feels cool or hip or cultural or adventurous or something. And so I want you to start to think about how you like to feel and where you like to be when you believe you're getting the most done in your life and how can you bring that to one or several or all of the spaces in your home?
Okay, how can you create that? So first of all, if anything is really hard we're going to find a million ways and reasons not to follow through and not do it, right? We're just not going to make the effort. So I like to think easy is great and beautiful is also great because we all love to look at something that we consider beautiful and pleasing to the eye. So easy plus beautiful to me, really also means functional and well-designed.
And most people aren't being this thoughtful. I mean that is really probably the overarching theme of this whole podcast, is how thoughtful and tuned in are you being to your space and what's not working? And if you're constantly procrastinating, what's not working for you?
So for example, in your home office, you might think about the right desk height. I love a standing desk because sometimes I sit, sometimes I stand – and we can get into that again later because sitting is a big issue with us and we can do things so that we sit less – but what's the right desk height for you for your computer?
Are you thinking about your chair and how it's ergonomically designed to fit your body so you're comfortable? Because if you're uncomfortable, if your desk isn't working, if it's hard to type at your desk, it's not at the right height, it's – you know, you're going to find reasons why you don't want to do that, right? Think about that.
Think about the lighting in your space. Can I see well? For creatives, we're not great in a box and so many people want to pick the tiniest, you know, most uncomfortable back bedroom in their house and make it their office and they're like, “Oh, I'll just put the office back there.” And I want you to really think about is that a really good idea? Are you going to want to go back to that space that's too hot or too cold or too dark?
Creatives want to see out a window, we want natural light – and not just creatives, entrepreneurs in general – if you're sitting at your desk all day, you want to look out the window sometimes. For you, you want to see that gorgeous view that you have, right? For me, I want to look out the tree-lined street.
So think about the space in general, like where are you deciding to put your office? Because it's really, really important for whether or not you're going to want to spend time there. Is it attractive? Does it feel good? Is it well-designed? So those really kind of go into that, you know, how are we going to feel in that space so that we don't procrastinate?
Now, you want to think of a few other things too like distractions – TVs, Electronics – can you create a space that has neither of those other than maybe your computer that you need to work on? If you're not working on social media at the moment or Instagram, can you have a place to dock your phone by the door so you're not goofing off on your phone when you're supposed to be working?
All of this truly goes into the design of the space. And where you create habits around, “Oh, I'll walk into this room. I have the space to dock my phone. I put it there. I don't have the TV on for visual or actual noise, and I'm not distracted.” So all of that plays a role in the design of your space.
I want you to think about how can you make your workspace the absolute most attractive space in your house? Because if it's not, you're not going to want to go there. You're going to be doing laundry or dishes or binging Netflix or hanging out with your kids. You're not going to be going to that workspace. So you have to really notice how you procrastinate. I call it like your procrastination style. We all have those things that we do regularly, right? Those habits. And so how do you undo your procrastination style with the design of your space?
John: And I think that's such a great point to really think about, Fire Nation. You may walk into a room and you'll just glance at a TV, but then when you look at the TV, what do you think of your favorite show, and the next thing you know, you're binging your favorite show even though when you walked in that room prior, you had no even thought of watching TV, and that's how you can lead to procrastination. So you just need to take away those visual cues.
And then we have so much coming up, Fire Nation. We're going to talk about how Tobi designed or I should say redesigned her home three years ago and what that did for her, four things that your cluttered home is actually trying to tell you, as well as the three biggest things in your home right now, Fire Nation, that are making you tired as soon as we get back from thanking our sponsors.
So Tobi, three years ago you redesigned your home, talk about that. What did you do?
Tobi: I love this. Okay, so we moved to a new home and we were fortunate enough to sell our previous home on the first day with a full price offer. I mean, it looked really great. It was all designed beautifully, of course. So they were like, “I want it. Get out today. Right now, move!” And so we bought another house that really needed a lot of updating and I love to do that. I love to take a dated older home and redo it for a lot of reasons.
But in this particular instance, I didn't have time to do that before I moved in. I was doing a lot of things with my career, I had just signed on for three national product lines, I create furniture and art and other things for companies. And so it all kind of happened.
You know, how you're always you're pitching for all these big things to happen? Of course, they all happen at the same time, and I moved. So we moved in this house, which was really difficult for me, a person who loves being in beautiful spaces and functional spaces, and I had to live there for a period of time. So I was thinking I'd be there six months. Well, it turned out that I was there for almost two years before I could really dig in and completely renovate the house.
We moved out and renovated it and moved back in but it became such a gift, really, that we had to live there because it was really like a case study. So I spent those two, sometimes miserable and depressing, years – because it was in a dated space – and not inviting friends over because I didn't want them to see my ugly house, which how many of us do that when we're not in the perfect space, right?
I spent that time really studying what was working and what was not working in this space. Well, during that time, I also decided to leave a large outside office that I had had my whole career – so for like 17 years or so – 16, 17 years of my design career – and I decided to move my studio into my home and design a space for that.
So while I was designing, I was also thinking about, “Okay, how do I move myself and a team member or two into my house and make all of this function for my family and I.”
So I was literally – it was like a research project for me – I was literally taking pictures, making notes of where all of the clutter ended up, on the countertops, and things came out of my husband's pockets, or my daughter's book bag, or where we didn't have storage space for the potatoes and the onions in the kitchen, or you know, what appliances we needed that we didn't have, or small appliances that ended up on the counter which were very cluttered looking, and what wasn't working in the bathroom, and how we couldn't get a good night's sleep, and you know, what it really meant to bring a home office into your home if you had never worked that way before.
Because there're a lot of things that go into that. We have pets and we have a daughter and we have friends and now I had employees here. And so it was really so much fun but really, really interesting to study not only clutter and storage but like I said, moods and energy levels of the workspaces I was working in and how I could improve those, and where I noticed me having a lack of focus, or having the most distractions, or what things were getting lost.
What I found myself looking for – because I did some research on that and I found out that Americans spend almost three days a year worth of time looking for lost things and we spend something like a billion dollars a year replacing and buying new of those lost things. And so I was like, “What are we losing? What are my people always asking me? “Mom, where's this? Honey, where's that?”
And so I literally, you know peeled this apart like an onion and said, “How do we create the absolute most effective space for all of the things we want to happen.” And it's not just work, it's connecting with friends. I mean, loneliness is a huge issue and depression and mental health is a huge issue for people. And a lot of people, even though we're more connected than ever with our gadgets, we're less connected to people.
So, how do we connect with people? How do we create an outdoor space where we get our vitamin D and we get, you know relaxation and fresh air. And I literally planned every single piece, like I've never done before, of this home, and it is remarkable the results that we have gotten from that sort of case study really.
John: Fire Nation, so much of what Tobi is talking about is being aware of your surroundings and then your mindset in those surroundings, to start being present, start having your finger on your own pulse, then you can start doing these type of redesigns as Tobi has to maximize her life, her productivity, her enjoyment of whatever time she's spending in that space.
So let's get down to business. Four things that our cluttered houses are trying to tell us. Tobi, what are they?
Tobi: Okay, so I love those too. So this did really come to light for myself too when I was looking at this case study and what was happening in our house because the kitchen counters would overflow with things and paperwork and you know, maybe your entryway or your back door is piled high with shoes and clutter sneaks in to all these places and some of us are trying to intentionally leave things out for those visual cues to follow through on and as we've discussed, a lot of times we're doing ourselves way more harm than good, but we don't really know why. Like what's the reason that we're doing this? And it goes into like you just said, a whole lot of mindset.
So here are some things that I believe, four key things that I believe, your cluttered home could be telling you. So first of all, I think scarcity thinking around both time and money is a huge one that your home may be telling you, right? So getting rid of things. You know, that scarcity around, “Well, what if I need it later?”
I promise you, you're not going to need it. There's so many things that we never need. Like we keep all of this stuff and I find that most of the stuff we use ends up on the top of the counters or, you know, a bathroom cabinet or a bedside table because guess what, all of our dressers and cabinets and closets are full of stuff that we haven't used, not only in six months, but like six years.
John: And literally, Fire Nation, like in eight years of living together, there's been one time where Kate was like, “Where is this thing?” And I'm like, “Oh, I threw it away.” And she's like, “No!” But you know, that was one time in eight years and if I hadn't thrown away those thousands of things that have never come up, I mean, we won't even be able to walk around our house.
Tobi: Right? Well, and you have the benefit of moving to a whole other country. So you had to get serious about what you're taking with you, I'm sure, right? But not everybody does that and so, you know, we think about the huge business of storage facilities and pods and all these things people are paying money to store and that all goes back to your scarcity mindset.
There's so much research on this that has been done by Princeton and Stanford and all these – UCLA – colleges on clutter and on the mindsets around the stuff but really a lot of those studies show that we get attached to things simply because we own them not because we actually value them.
And we'll do more to keep from losing something or getting rid of something then we will to get something new or to pay for something new just because it's ours which is silly. And so we have to really notice, are we having scarcity about things and also are we having a scarcity about time? “I don't have time to deal with the clutter.”
John: Well, speaking of scarcity around time, Tobi, we're going to have to limit you to 30 seconds for the next three things: No. 2, 3, and 4. So, go!
Tobi: Okay, here we go! Okay, so scarcity thinking No. 1, priorities are out of whack No. 2. So are you overworking? Are you leaving your kids to their own devices and things are messy everywhere? Are you taking on more than you have time for in life? Which means you can't even maintain your spaces so there's clutter everywhere. That's No. 2, priorities out of whack.
No. 3, related to scarcity, your money mindset might need a makeover. And whether it's woo-woo or whether it's your subconscious knowing that you just can't take anything else on in your life, if you have stuff everywhere, you should really dig in because if you don't have the bandwidth for more in your life then are you going to really press yourself to make more money and to become more? So think about your money mindset.
And then the fourth one is unhealthy habits. Do you have unhealthy habits? So when you look around your kitchen, are you seeing a whole lot of packaged foods on the counter and Starbucks cups and soft drinks? Are you eating out way too much? Are you snacking too much? Or are you seeing beautiful whole foods in a beautiful bowl on your countertop and no clutter? Okay, so that's going to tell you what your healthy habits are or if they're unhealthy.
John: Scarcity thinking around time and money, Fire Nation – if your productivity is out of whack, you've got to recheck that – money mindsets, and unhealthy habits. These are all things that need to be going through your mind when you're looking around your cluttered home because that's what it is trying to tell you.
Now, there are three things that are making us tired at home. I mean, of course, there's probably like 10 or 12, but we're going to talk about the three biggest things because this is something, Fire Nation, without energy, what are you going to do? You're going to sit on your couch and you're going to binge-watch TV and you're going to eat those packaged foods that Tobi was talking about.
But if you do have energy, things are going to flip on its head and you're going to start being productive in the right areas. So what are those three things, Tobi?
Tobi: Okay, so No. 1: bad lighting, which can involve your electronics as well. So a lot of you have heard about blue light suppresses your melatonin and it makes you not get as good of sleep and so you're really, really tired the next day. But it's not just your electronics that do this, it can be your actual lighting in your space – not enough natural light, too much of a certain, you know, fluorescent light or LED light that doesn't mimic natural light. So check into your lighting and see what it's doing to you because it can really be draining you and it can keep you from getting a good night's sleep. So that's number one.
No. 2 is sitting too long. So we talked a little bit about a standing desk, but if you're sitting all the time, which so many of us are, it can really make you very, very tired. Your body can essentially go into sleep mode. And so there's the drawback of having a super comfy chair at your desk is that you can get a little too sleepy and less productive, it can make you more tired. So consider a standing desk. Consider if you can add 10 or 20 percent of your day even into standing as opposed to sitting because that one is really making us tired.
And then we've talked about some of the other ones like clutter and noise that are huge but just the No. 3 is bad design in general. So your frustration around things that don't work in your house, that aren't efficient.
So when we moved into our home and were redesigning, I tried to put plates in the kitchen, the very dated kitchen cabinets, and they wouldn't even fit, like the door wouldn't close and it's so frustrating. And so that's a simple example, but think about the spaces that aren't working for you. Is underneath your bathroom cabinet just a black hole of stuff?
You know, everybody puts all that stuff under there and you're constantly looking for stuff and you're frustrated and you have this long to-do list of all the things you need to fix at your house that aren't working because bad design in general, just dysfunctional spaces, non-functional spaces can take a real toll on you and they can make you tired. You don't even realize how much energy and frustration you're putting to things all day, every day that aren't working for you.
John: Fire Nation, let's run through these because they're so important.
No. 1, bad lighting. If you're getting a ton of blue light at night like you're just staring at your iPhone in bed or you're like watching a movie or whatever it might be, that's suppressing your melatonin.
And guess what? I'm not saying don't do that just because I mean, you're going to. I mean, that's just what human beings are going to do at night. You're going to watch TV, you're gonna check your phone, all the stuff. Obviously trying to limit it but if you're going to, use stuff like BluBlockers. Like I have a pair of Swanwicks that go on at 7 p.m. every single night, and that blocks out all blue light so that my melatonin does not get suppressed.
But alternatively, in the morning, you want that blue light because it's spikes your cortisol. That's why I love taking my three-mile morning walk here in Puerto Rico, which by the way, you can do year-round, and I look up at the blue sky and I breathe in the fresh air, and I let the sun and the vitamin D hit my skin, and all of those things that get my cortisol going in the morning, which it's supposed to, that blue light from the sky, the vitamin D from the Sun. So what are you doing for your healthy habits?
And then sitting too long, I use a great desk called NextDesk – they're based out of Colorado. Great, great company. Kate has one. I have one. You can go from sitting to standing with a push of the button. And I love to stand, you know, for approximately like 60 to 75 percent of the day. Because you know, standing too long is not good for you either. Like you've got to be moving around, you've got to be alternating with what you're doing.
And then of course, just bad design in general. So those were three really big things that are making you tired at home. So Tobi, give us the one overall big takeaway you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from our conversation today.
Tobi: So, I think the biggest thing, that we've talked about multiple times today, is the awareness of your space and really believing that you do have control over your space. Because so often we don't think we do. And not everybody, of course, can go do a whole home renovation like I did, but there are many, many simple things you can do to make your space work better for you.
So just be aware of what's not working and look for real solutions to make it work better for you. It's totally possible and within your control.
John: Fire Nation, be aware of your space, realize, believe that you have control because you do. So Tobi, how can we find out more about you? Any call to action you have for our listeners today?
Tobi: Absolutely, so you can find me at TobiFairley.com, you can find me on Instagram, which is a great place to find interior designers because they have beautiful images and all kinds of fun stuff. I'm @TobiFairley on Instagram, and I have a really fun guide that I've created called Tobi's Guide to Your Most Productive Home, and I'm going to have that for you and your listeners at TobiFairley.com/fire.
John: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you've been hanging out with TF and JLD today. So keep up the heat and again go over to TobiFairley.com/ fire. Fairley is F-A-I-R-L-E-Y and Tobi is T-O-B-I. So TobiFairley.com/fire. And of course, we'll have that on the show notes page as well where we drop all the links, all the shares, everything's there if you want to check it out. And Tobi, I want to say thank you for sharing your truth with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip-side.
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