March 18, 2011

Distracted by Color?

BY John Paul Narowski IN Uncategorized 2 Comments

ColorWheel1The finely tuned human brain has a keen ability to recognize a multitude of colors, but this basic ability may be robbing you of productivity. Somewhere in our developmental past, we probably had to be able to tell good fruits, nuts and other food sources from bad ones and our ability to distinguish color played a big role in that.  But now that the whole “hunter-gatherer” thing isn’t so hip, colors may be working against us.

Colors and Psychology

Different colors have varied effects on us emotionally.  People way smarter than me figured out a long time ago they could effect and manipulate people’s emotions by using color. Some well known examples include:

University of Iowa’s Pink Locker Room

Legendary head football coach, Hayden Fry, was a psychology major in college and read all about the soothing effects of pink.  He had the visiting team’s locker room walls painted pink as a subliminal attack on his opponents to calm them and get into their heads. He would later profess, “I can’t recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us.”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Pink Underwear

The head cop of Maricopa County, Arizona is known for this chain gangs, bare bones county jail, tent cities and making the male  prisoners wear pink underwear and  handcuffs.

Fast Food Restaurant Signs

Ever notice how most fast food joints have, or at one time had, a sign that is red and yellow?  Apparently yellow makes you hungry and red accents its companion to get your brain thinking about food.

Feng Shui

From red doors to wood floors, the ancient art of Chinese manipulation of ying and yang with furniture and color placement is well known all around the world.

Color Engineered to Distract

The multitude of devices, programs, apps and everything else digital have all been designed with the express purpose of getting your attention.  While this increases that item’s efficiency, it destroys yours. Color is a powerful weapon in this battle.  I bet there were teams full of color and design experts called in to lend their advice to almost every major web page you visit, application you open, device you touch and so on. With colors conspiring against you with sounds and other visual aspects, how do you fight back?

Go Grey

Turn the color on your monitor off! Switch to grey scale and your digital world will be in black and white.  While this won’t take away the flashing, popping and hopping items on your desktop, it will rid you of one huge drag on your attention. Check out this simple “How-To” to switch your color off and make your biggest time bandits less interesting today.  Even small breaks to check emails, read Facebook statuses and respond to flashing reminders will steal huge amounts of productivity from you. Ditch the color and create laser like focus on the task at hand.
I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.
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  • Mike

    So… I am going to give this a shot.

    I am a photographer though, so switching back and forth may be a bit annoying… Looking for an OS X extension that can solve that for me…

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