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  • Writer's pictureMatt Pipes

Work Environment as Portals

Optimizing Your Working Environment

Published on my newsletter Jun 12th, 2023 11:00 AM


As you know I’m a bit of an over-optimizer that’s who I am, I totally understand, and I’ve just come across an idea. It’s an older idea in which the seed was planted in me a long time ago. It’s about creating an optimized work environment. So I’ve thought of it like this. Say you have a beautiful mansion that you can fill rooms with a focused theme. I personally would set these rooms up like this, (because I’m single and probably will be for a long while)

  • Library/writing space (Intake with a bit of output) - I visualize that rustic, leathery (vegan leather of course), earthy, stacked bookshelf kind of room with a beautiful desk in the center facing the window with pen and paper, and an optimized writing machine that solely is for the purpose of writing.

  • Media room (Intake) - Theater for movies, and for long-form TV shows (succession, peaky blinders) long couch for friends as well as cold bubbly beverages in a fridge nearby (Olipop and Kombucha).

  • Office (output) - Minimal, focused, sit/stand desk, optimized for work, and restful movement - foam rollers, minimal exercise equipment, and so forth.

  • Black box theater (output, input) - though all rooms are spiritual conduits, this is a direct space of communication within the spiritual realm. Has the ability to be pitch black, and soundproofed. Prop closet with different eras of furniture to create minimal set designs to play with. Ideally, the closet will attach to a freight elevator which connects to a section in the garage, this section will be a shop to build out sets.

  • Rest space (Rest/review) - a bedroom that has a little section for writing if needed, a space for reflection, a window, and a nice wall to stare at.


Quickly drawn on my whiteboard to visualize.


I’m going a little more into detail than I need because these are ideals, but I do visualize them like that.


Imagine every single one of these spaces to be a portal into the realm in which you wish to travel. Each doorway is a spiritual portal, every piece within these rooms is consciously curated to solidify the quality of that space. Essentialist, and preferably minimal, as well as practical.


I was watching a YouTube video that went into detail on how we create flow within our work. There is a possibility to increase our focus on novelty. We could go to a library, or a coffee shop, or take a walk across the bridge. This ignites novelty, but not only that an innate curiosity. It’s a survival tactic, when walking in a desert we grow weary and want to give up and lie down, but when a new environment appears, we are reignited with newfound vigor to find water, life, and anything that will help us to survive. So these portals play an integral part within our workspace, and if you can create them you can enter them. For me, I have a sit/stand desk that creates 2 different working environments. If I travel to a coffee shop I am renewed with a sense of desire to work. If I go for a walk, I’m resting and reviewing through physical movement helping the brain repair the neurological synapses that were just split and are now being connected to rewire, implementing the information we’ve just gained.


THE MOST important part of this is the rest. When dopamine comes into play we need to be conscious. As we work, if our rest is going into our phones, checking our messages, or scrolling through Instagram, we are getting a larger dopamine response to our phones as opposed to the work that we were just doing. The reward for the phone tends to be more rewarding, meaning more dopamine is released than that of the textbook that we are exploring, conversely releasing less dopamine making us feel when we get back to work that something is lacking. RIGHT, because we just got this taste of something seemingly better and more enjoyable than reading this textbook. So the rest that we partake in has to release less dopamine than the activity we were just doing, or are about to re-enter into. Getting back into that textbook is going to be far more enjoyable to read.

To review,

  • Treat what you wish to enter into as if it’s a portal into the session.

  • didn’t talk about this much, but movement is important within a work session. Standing while at a computer offers a ton of health benefits, you can even prop stuff on books. While also walking around, or pacing while thinking. Or walking while taking phone calls.

  • Find novel environments. If you’ve been walking around the desert for 40 days (getting biblical) and 40 nights, the sameness is going to groan on you, causing wear and tear, aching muscles through repeated movements, and a similar environment, wondering where the water is. If you come across a forest all of a sudden there’s a renewed sense of survival through curiosity, there’s a greater sense of energy because maybe, now, a little further in that forest is going to be a spring of water, maybe cover from the elements, and maybe some more life for food.

  • Rest and recovery is by far the most integral part of this. Throughout your resting session make sure you are releasing LESS dopamine than the activity you were just doing or are about to re-enter into.

Though I sort of transferred into some different subject matter when I have more time I’d like to go into what I mean in creating portals into these workplaces. I got my job back at the restaurant, so I made this newsletter quite quickly.


I’ll catch you next week!


Much love today and every day,

Matt Piper 🐅🌱


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