By judging the endless stream of blog entries, books, conferences, tweets, status updates, advices, statements and aphorism on the topic, you can certainly figure out that productivity is the hottest topic behind celebrities naked pictures, cats in embarrassing situations and tomorrow’s weather.
A quick and simple way to be more productive
You should slice your work into 23 minutes tasks and moonwalk on Mondays. The end of each slice should be signaled by a timer which plays “The Eye of the Tiger”. Between each task, do 20 pull-ups and 20 tractions. If that doesn’t work, rotate your screen by Pi/7 every two hours.
If it still doesn’t work, make sure you install a couple of to-do applications on your telephone, tablet, laptop, computer, television and microwave oven. This should at the very least give you and your entourage the illusion of working through task scheduling.
It’s pretty effective at displaying an alpha-male - “I’m the CEO bitch” – status and getting closer to your goal of having a diner with this nice receptionist that smiles at you every day you badge in (Wait! She smiled and looked at you today! It’s now or never!).
For the record this is how Leonardo da Vinci, the guy who drew men in circles for a living, worked.
There’s also a “theory” that getting things done is just about doing them.
I have another theory. Getting things done, being productive is about not doing certain things. There are things I don't do in order to work better, things such as...
"I can sleep when I am dead!" Don’t worry, if you don’t sleep your hours, you will be dead soon enough.
"I only need 4 hours of sleep per day." No you don’t. This is as cocky as saying “I have an IQ of 180”. Some people do indeed have an IQ of 180, but these people are not you.
"I really need to advance on this project." Crunching happens to all of us, but sleep is the last thing you want to impact.
Just sleep whatever hours you need to and I promise a significant impact on your brain power.
There’s more work to be done, more knowledge to acquire, more worlds to visit than what your entire lifespan will allow. Don’t be afraid to make sure you will enjoy your awaken time as much as possible by sleeping your hours.
Still not convinced?
What if I were to tell you, that you actually work when you sleep? I stopped counting the times I found a solution to an intricate problem in my sleep.
In French we say "La nuit porte conseil", which could be translated as "The night bears advices". But we also say "Les cuisses de grenouilles et l'escargot à l'ail : c'est bon" so be careful with what French people say.
Destroying yourself with junk food
Your brain needs glucose to work, that’s a fact. However fattening yourself on your chair with snacks and sodas is clearly not a good way to satisfy that need.
When I feel hungry, I eat a banana or dates. When I’m thirsty, I drink water.
Results guaranteed or you money back.
Drinking twenty-four espresso per day
I love coffee. If you asked me about my happy place, it would probably me drinking a ristretto at a nice coffee in of one of Roma’s piazza.
Unfortunately, I’ve found out that after a couple of ristretti, my eyes close with great difficulty as I’m looking for sleep…
Consider that you probably drink too much coffee per day as well and try lowering your consumption to see how it impacts you. By the way, tea counts as coffee as well.
Having crappy hardware
Thanks to my awesome keyboard of awesomeness I can type faster than my computer is able to process while making enough noise to cover conversations in the room. Thanks to the 1000 W high fidelity set I set up in the office, I can make sure that everybody in the building enjoys my beat.
Money well spent.
“But I use a standing desk!” Congratulations: you are a horse. I guess you also sleep standing. Newsflash: standing is not exercising.
“I don’t have the time!” Oh, I’m sorry: I didn’t realize you lived in a parallel dimension where days are 12 hours long. You have the time: you just prefer to spend it on other things.
“I don’t like to exercise!” You do, you just don’t know it yet.
At Bureau 14, knowing to kill with your bare hands or any object closely available is a must. As part of the recruiting process, you may be tasked with neutralizing a group of hostile interns with an empty plastic cup. Keep in mind that your day to day job may involve hiding in trees and walking through air conducts.
Nevertheless, some of you might prefer boring activities such as “running” or hitting a ball with limbs or inanimate objects and call that a “sport”.
To this I say: fine, but how is running on a treadmill with a fluorescent short going to help you in case of a zombie invasion?
But I digress. Long story short: get your body moving and enjoy the benefits.
What? Yes. I don’t work to work better. This is actually the corner stone of being efficient at whatever that is you do. I especially don’t try to work when I feel I cannot get in the zone. Another way to put it is when I feel I have inspiration I work, when I feel I don’t, I don’t force myself.
It's not always possible as you not always master customers requirements, but I try to work that way as much as possible.
By the way, the 80 hours week doesn’t work. If you need more time, you need more time, end of the story. It’s not because you can deploy a web site in two minutes that you can build the Eiffel Tower in two days. Everything takes an incredible amount of time and shortcuts are rare.
If you never cut yourself some slack you’ll burn out and be miserable, which brings me to…
Caring too much
Running to get that metro, quickly eating a sandwich in front of your computer for lunch, skipping your favorite activity to work some more…
The result isn’t more work done: the result is more stress and misery.
I’ve stopped caring about wasting my time when I pondered the following question “How do you actually waste time?”.
I challenge you to answer that question.