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While looking at The Happiness Project, Steve Pavlina, Randy Pausch etc I realize there are a number of objective things you need to do in your life to be productive. One needs to learn how to sleep early, get organized, eat healthy, exercise.

However, then, there is also a state of mind you need to be in.

Bear with me, my question is perhaps philosophical but objective:

Does the increase in comfort and control over your living situation help you get more productive?

Personally, over the years I've put in effort, less sleep and hard work in a very crammed living situation and I've been very productive with my career, which also happens to be my hobby: engineering and computer science.

Now, I want to keep going, I want to learn how to build micro-processors with my hands, I want to learn how to write an operating system and build robots.

But I feel like my living situation hampers my productivity. I live in a very tiny room with a slightly schizophrenic relative who has cluttered the place with about a few thousand religious books, and with whom I share a 1m wide bed.

Although I am one of the few who can afford his own apartment room by now, this would be considered wasteful and lavish. (Especially the number of computers I want to own), but more often the condescension and volatile nature of my house disables me from a strict plan.

I am caught at war between myself, with people saying that productivity is all in the mind ? and you should train yourself to just adjust the situation.

Or should I go and move out, build myself a laboratory home, where my life is in my control and I can make myself a predictable schedule and follow it.

Question : Will moving into my own home, with the added expenditure and responsibility, help me gain control over my life so I can be productive? (Enough to exercise daily and work extra after my day job and on weekends)

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Very interesting question, and one for which you'd be better off finding answers in published research material. There's been published work on the happiness curve and how after a certain amount of money the "happiness level" won't change much, and on what priorities we put on happiness. And I'm pretty sure there'd be some already linking confort and happiness (in fact, I know there are some, at least on productivity in the workplace based on employee satisfaction, on site or for remote workers). – haylem Jun 9 '13 at 23:48
Also, beware but the question you highlight in the body of your post strucks me as quite different as your title... The title seems to assume the highlighted question has been answered with "YES" already. – haylem Jun 9 '13 at 23:49
I lived alone out of college and it caused me to be less productive. I lacked the willpower to remain focused, and distractions on the internet were easier to succumb to. Now living with roommates, I have completely turned it around. Gym 5 days a week. Hours set aside each night to churn ideas and code. It strongly depends on the people you are living with. Just a thought :) – Gaʀʀʏ Jun 12 '13 at 20:26

There's no question that a more positive environment is more productive. But it doesn't hold back a lot of people from carving themselves out of poverty. There are countless stories of people who have been raised in gangs, broken homes, homeless people who have built a fortune out of nothing. Some businessmen have even gone bankrupt and homeless, yet manage to build another business empire stronger than before.

On the question of sleep - sleep is your best friend if you're actually learning something new. If you're not learning anything and your method of progress relies on lots of algorithmic experimentation, then time may be more important than sleep and concentration.

Exercise can be done regardless of environment. Just go out and have a run around the block. Get your blood pumping. Or spend the money you save from not buying an apartment into a gym membership.

If you really want something, go for it. Think of it as a testing grounds. If you can slog through with it under the present conditions, you'll be far more productive under improved conditions. Mastery does not come without pain.

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Thanks for your answer. (1) I am learning at quite a rate and some days I get very tired and stressed, guess I do need good sleep. (2) I do exercise but I can manage consistency. For your last point, absolutely, but I'm caught whether I should suck it up and try harder (I've been trying for 6-7 months so far) or change my environment. – CuriousGeorge Jun 10 '13 at 10:17

While there are no definites in this, as everyone responds differently to their environment, there are some useful pointers that many professionals agree on.

Control of your own environment helps productivity for most people. Even if you are very busy, if you know what you will need to do and when, have a routine which you define and can manage time to your own benefit, you are likely to be able to work more effectively and with less wasted time.

Responsibility, whether it is your choice or imposed from the outside week help you develop techniques to own tasks, activities and chores and manage debts and funds.

Customisation of your environment to suit you, rather than you and another will help you remove distractions.

Sleeping is likely to improve if you get a full sized bed to yourself.

Admittedly, as many people do, getting married or having children will require you to develop a wide range of time and priority management techniques in order to work at high productivity, but that is likely to be a separate question.

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Thanks for your answer. Yep. I know what I need to do, I have the books, I need space and some solitude. The thing that really gets me sometimes is when I come home early from all ready to do round two, and my house is gloomy, dark and my room-mate is asleep. It's beyond frustrating and gets me in claustrophobic mood. – CuriousGeorge Jun 10 '13 at 9:40
I especially like the last paragraph, I do want to be independent and learn how to take care of myself well enough. I realize this goes into being a good father and husband one day. – CuriousGeorge Jun 10 '13 at 9:43

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