The internet is lousy with productivity ideas, mostly about how to work harder or longer. I personally believe that good productivity is about maximizing per hour results, not working harder. And the fastest way to improve your productivity is to eliminate some of the things slowing you down. So rather than going over the usual suspects, let’s take a look at eliminating some of the low hanging fruit.
1. Conquer Your Diet.
What you eat is the cornerstone of who you are and what you do. The proteins in your muscle, the fats in your cell walls and your brain, and the amino acids used throughout your body must all come from, or be synthesized from your food. Low quality food products like trans fats have been connected with apathy, depression, and might be related to ADD. In order for your brain and body to perform at peak levels you need to give it high quality food to repair and refuel.
Sleep is massively underrated. Everyone knows at this point that Americans are typically not getting enough sleep on a nightly basis, but distressingly few people consider it to be an issue. After all, hours spent asleep aren’t hours spent working right? Unfortunately it isn’t that simple. Insufficient or low quality sleep is one of the fastest ways that we know of to destroy per hour productivity. Get sleep or waste your precious waking hours in a mind fog.
3. Know when to stop.
Athletes regularly destroy their bodies by “over training”; exercising to the point of injury or chronic fatigue. The results of over training are often slow growth or even frustrating setbacks despite hundreds of hours at the gym or on the track.
Mental workers regularly do the exact same thing to their mind by working well past the point of mental burnout. There is very little use in working when you are not going to be putting out at least average results, and you risk ruining your morale after hours of low-results work. Instead of ritualistically working even when you are spent gain an intuitive sense for when you will accomplish little and instead go recharge and try again later.
4. You must come out unharmed 1 time or 1000 times.
No productivity regime is worthwhile if you can only maintain it for 2 weeks at the start of each year. To be successful, you must find a pattern that you can maintain years. Whether that is a small amount per day or a cycle between intense work and relaxation, you must find a balance between work and play or you will be plagued by failures to meet your goals.
5. Know thyself.
Everyone wants to be successful, but most people overestimate how much money motivates them. Find ways to motivate yourself with something other than riches, or better yet find something that you love to do. Love of the work will make it easier to get up, or home, every day and work rather than abstract future financial rewards.