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How to be productive

Posted on August 11, 2018

Searching on Google “How to be productive” returns millions and millions of tools, methods, tricks and personal accounts of how to be productive. Many of which are out of context and thus ineffective when I actually tried them out. Either that they don’t fit into my workflow, or most of the time they are overkills. Nevertheless, the biggest problem is that they add overhead to my existing process, meaning I have to do something extra before getting any productivity improvement.

To be honest, most of them are just bullshit.

To not fall into the same bucket of bullshit productivity advice, I am going to introduce something that are more like common sense than the holy grail of productivity.

There are three basic rules for productivity which apply even to general well-being to everyone. At the end of this post you’d probably think: ok I knew these already. Why bother?

To which I answer:

If you knew they are helpful to productivity and you knew these rules already, why aren’t you feeling productive and have to resort to reading this?

So here they go…

Sleep

8 hours of sleep. No compromise. You may turn on your afterburner by burning your own lifespan and health for like a couple days or but you’ll end up crashing, say while you’re sitting on a chair or while you’re on an esculator, which might kill you.

How much do you sleep during week days? 4, 5, 6 hours? Even 7 won’t cut it, not in long term. You will experience random fatigue, absent-mindedness, and unstable emotion. You’ll be constantly tired, procrastinating and easily provoked.

On a podcast I listened to the podcaster made a smartphone analogy I found relatable. How effective is a mobile phone that’s charged to only 30% in the morning? It will switch to power saving mode and unable to function like a proper phone in the middle of the day. In contrast, a well-slept person functions like a 100% charged phone that can make it throughtout the day just fine. Sleeping as to human is like charging as to mobile phone.

You should sleep more or less 8 hours a day. Don’t accumulate your ‘sleep quota’ and leave it to the weekends because recoving lost sleep requires you to sleep enough for a couple days. This means you are trading proper productive hours with sleepy and unproductive hours if you skip some sleep during the week.

Eat

What we eat everyday becomes not just the energy for us to survive and function, food also serves an important role in repairing our body.

Let’s suppose you’re a car, what kind of fuel do you burn every day? There are fuels with different octane ratings. Using fuels unsuitable for the engine (your body) may take you some miles before the engine begins choking and eventually breaks down.

Not only do you need to ensure your food intakes provide the necessary energy to support you throught out the day, but you also need to ensure the food is good for your body. Fatty food, refined sugars and artificial food additives are bad in long term causing health issues such as obesity and chronic diseases.

I am not going to tell you what to eat because I know no better than what you can Google yourselves. However, I want you to monitor your own body. You can tell when your throats and skins are dry or you feel easily tired, those are the signs that you need better nutuitions.

You can also mind the color of foods you consume. Try to aim at consuming foods of different colors. If all of them are golden brownish (= fried food), you know you’re in trouble and you should better eat more green stuff.

Don’t be tricked by M&Ms’ colors, their color don’t reflect their nutrition content. However, most unprocessed foods do, like many golden yellow/orange fruits contain vitamin C.

If you eat wisely, you can prevent sickness or tiredness from malnutritin, and thus be more energetic and achieve more during the day.

Drink

Coffee and energy drinks make me fall asleep.

They do because there’s this crash after a short period of hyper alert moment, then as the chemical, be it sugar or caffeine, wears off, I crash.

I don’t mean that coffee doesn’t work on some people. It’s just that perhaps it comes at a cost. People tend to add tons of sugar into the mix too, so you’ll likely end up with a big cup of sugary drink that’s obviously not doing your fitness level any good.

Instead, drink water. Have you ever felt that refreshing moment after a long time of dehydration? Your mind brightens all of a sudden despite it’s just dihydrogen monoxide that you consumed.

Drink regularly. 8 cups of water a day is more or less an approximate. It’d be best that you keep rehydrating yourself especially when you engage in outdoor activities where you lose watar via sweat.

Closing notes

I told you these are common sense matters. However, if you haven’t been getting these right in the past, it means there’s a huge potential in increasing your productivity by fixing your sleeping, eating and drinking habits.

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