I have found my productivity is closely correlated with my health. Some reading this are probably thinking, "duh," but for an ignoramus like me, it was quite a profound realization. The trick, however, isn't "getting healthier." It's finding a formula that will get you into healthy habits in a way that you can sustain them long-term.
Everyone's formula is different. For me, it started with a low-carbohydrate diet. For me, it helps reduce psychotic symptoms. For my productivity, however, its most significant benefit is the simple act of exercising self-discipline three times a day. Choosing between not eating wheat, sugar, rice, potatoes, or corn, and compromising my health and good habits. For me, the choice is simple and easy to do. If you're creating your formula, don't start with something hard — you're setting yourself up for failure. Start with something easy. Then build on your next habit.
Once I was on my low-carb diet, and my routine of exercising self-discipline was established, I started going to the gym once a week. The goal was to go every single week, no matter what. It took me more than two months to be consistent, but I eventually succeeded. Now that my diet and exercise was honed in, I set my sights on a far more significant challenge.
Next, I needed to manage my sleep. My sleep habits were pure chaos. I would go to be anywhere between midnight to 5 am — or not at all. It was awful. I would get obsessed with work and push bedtime back further and further. It disrupted my responsibilities and my body's ability to function correctly. In the past, I tried controlling my sleep habits, but I always slipped back into my old ways.
This next attempt, however, was different. I had a secret weapon. I discovered a key component of what was keeping me awake — my work. In particular, my ability to work at home. My poor sleep habits rested on the fact that my laptop was always home. From then on, I kept my laptop at the office. My bedtime has consistently been between 10 and 11 pm and has no signs of changing.
And that, to date, is my formula: managing diet, exercise, sleep, and digital exposure. It seems so simple and obvious but is quite profound once you put it into practice every single day, every single week.
Thumbnail/header photo by:Brooke Lark