Inefficiency is the key to productivity. That's what I've concluded after living in London one month.
1. SLOW FOOD. Londoners, like the French (see one of my first posts on the book French Women Don't Get Fat under the topic of "worship") believe in the concept of good, slow, quality-made food. There are hardly any fast food places in London, and those that exist come from America (McDonald's, KFC, and Subway). Food doesn't travel very far and is grown locally, so the taste is better, and there are hardly any preservatives in it. Now, an American might say that London's food scene does not cater to efficiency. But it definitely creates a more productive meal experience. Overall, it's more satisfying and nutritional.
2. PUBLIC TRANSPORT. It's amazing how much farther the mind is capable of roaming when given an extra 30 minutes (at least) waiting for buses and tubes. And if you have a long journey, you can read a book, talk to people on your "mobile" as they say, and basically devote more time to the luxury of contemplation. Efficient? Actually, aside from delayed trains and traffic, I'd say yes. But most Americans would probably argue that owning a car would be more efficient. But productive? Very. Not only does public transport do it's part in supporting our green efforts, but it's amazing what one thinks of when given time to think, and to basically do nothing.
3. BUSY CITY. London is a multi-cultural busy city. There's always something to do and see and experience, but to live in a city like this, you do need to sacrifice a sense of personal space. Londoners don't have a sense of the "right" way to walk on the sidewalk (since they drive on the left, you'd assume they'd walk on the left, but there's too many immigrants and tourists to make that a reality). So in London you spend a great deal of time bumping into strangers and smelling the shampoo of the person you're smashed into on the tube. Efficient? Again, probably not. Especially if you get impatient easily and want to get places quickly. But I've discovered that I have a greater sense of community and humanity as a result of the congestion.
4. And finally, VACATION! Most Londoners get 4-5 weeks paid vacation immediately after their start their job. Need I say more?