Instant Ambiance [Vitruvi]
SUPERHUMAN SCORE: 8.4
My favorite smell?
Fine, laugh at me. But a whiff of good ol’ Cutters takes me back to childhood summers at the lake.
One smell, and I’m instantly adventurous, free, and ready for juice & cookies.
(OK, being down for juice & cookies is more the norm…)
What I’ve described here is a “Proustian moment” (hat tip to Marcel Proust). That’s when a scent conjures up the experience of a memory.
Studies show that scent is “a stronger trigger than any other sensory cue for recalling personally meaningful memories.” (Source)
Our olfactory system (which gives us our sense of smell) is connected to the oldest, most primitive part of our brain: the hippocampus. The hippocampus is where memories originate, along with emotions of pleasure, pain, and motivation.
The olfactory system is more connected with the hippocampus than our other five senses. This explains why scent is wildly powerful in triggering particular mental states.
Now get this: There are certain universal scents that prime specific frames of mind. In other words, we can proactively USE scents in our homes to boost our focus, concentration, and mental clarity (among others).
No bug spray needed.
Vitruvi Stone ($119) is an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser that activates your sense of smell for desired frames of mind. For example, bright scents of peppermint and lemon boost productivity. Pine elevates moods. Lemongrass reduces anxiety. Cinnamon increases alertness. Vitruvi’s ultrasonic technology avoids heating, thereby preserving the integrity of the oils.
Alternate diffuser: Asakuki ($29.99)
I recommend this Starter Kit by dōTERRA ($26.67) for the essential oils. It includes 5mL sample sizes of lemon, peppermint, and lavender.
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“The scents that you surround yourself with,” writes author and performance coach Christopher Bergland, “are in the locus of your control. You can put yourself in the driver's seat, and use fragrance as a tool to create a particular mindset and increase your motivation to achieve a target behavior.” (Source)
Take advantage of scent by using an aromatherapy diffuser, which can be very powerful in creating a productive state. From Jim Kwik’s book, Limitless, I learned that peppermint and lemon promote concentration.
As I’m writing this, my Vitruvi diffuser is exhaling geranium (which is known to have a unique effect that’s both calming and stimulating).
Last week’s newsletter covered how to optimize for sound (by soundtracking your day with Sonos). This week optimizes for smell. Learn how to upgrade your office for sight, touch, and taste in my free Ultimate Guide to Environment Design.
Setup is simple:
- Fill the interior vessel (with filtered water) to the line.
- Add your choice of essential oils. Again, I like dōTERRA, but there are less expensive and comparably well-reviewed brands (like Gya Labs).
- Experiment with mixing your essential oils. I often blend peppermint and lemon, about 7-8 drops each. (Be careful, any more, and things might start to feel like an Abercrombie & Fitch store.)
- Plug in the diffuser.
- Hit the “4h” or “8h” to set your desired release time.
- The diffuser will begin to scent up to 500 square feet.
Journey mapping is at the core of the most customer-centric businesses (at scale) ever known to man.
What if you “journey mapped” your daily routines to create remarkable experiences…for yourself?
One such remarkable experience: ritualizing the use of your diffuser. Set it when you enter your workspace every morning.
The stone diffuser comes in six color options (black, charcoal, pink, sea, terracotta, and white).
It may come as no surprise that I own the black. When toggled, an LED ring around the bottom emits a candle-like glow. It’s System Sunday yellow, so you already know it’s ON.
The thin ceramic spout at the top emits the perfect trail of misty vapor. It’s elegant AF.
Vitruvi is equally handsome as it is functional. Doubling as décor, it ticks 9.5/10 for aesthetics.
BRINGING IT HOME
From Donald Rattner’s phenomenal book, My Creative Space, I learned the power of designing indoor spaces to mimic the outdoors. He points out that “99.99 percent of the total time our species has spent on the planet has been within purely natural environments.”
As creatures of evolution, we thrive in nature. Tactically, this means incorporating woodgrain desks, plants, and organic scents.
So while we can’t spend the entire workday outside, we can experience a breath of fresh air—with Vitruvi—in any workspace.
All systems go,
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