Okay, not the last one but it’s definitely the most useful discovery I’ve made this year, productivity-wise. I’ll keep it simple — go to bed and awake at the same time everyday. That’s it!
You don’t need a productivity system for that. Just make up your damn mind! Yes, it might get difficult (perhaps borderline embarrassing) to sneak away to bed when the whole world’s awake at 10 pm but it’s essential if you want to get a grip on your day’s outcomes. You can, of course, try to sleep in late and force yourself to rise up early but I don’t think it’s a worthy trade-off. Your body needs to rest. The question is how much.
Here’s a method that worked for me — for 7 consecutive days I slept at 10:30 pm sharp and woke up naturally. I recorded the total hours I slept in a week and divided the sum by 7 to get the average number of hours I have to sleep. Here’s what my log looked like:
Wednesday: 10:30 pm to 6:45 am (8 hours and 15 minutes)
Thursday: 10:30 pm to 6:15 am (7 hours and 45 minutes)
Friday: 10:30 pm to 6:00 am (7 hours and 30 minutes)
Saturday: 10:30 pm to 5:15 am (6 hours and 45 minutes)
Sunday: 10:45 pm to 5:00 am (6 hours and 15 minutes)
Monday: 10:30 pm to 4:30 am (6 hours)
Tuesday: 10:30 pm to 4:15 am (5 hours and 45 minutes)
Total hours: 48 hours and 15 minutes
Average sleep: 6 hours and some change (6.8 hours actually but unsure how you would translate that… do that math yourself!)
By the above calculations, you can tell that I need at least 6 hours of sleep everyday. But you might also have noticed that I slept less and woke up earlier (without an alarm clock) with each passing day. I think that has to do with your consistent effort to put your body and mind into a rested state.
Now, I’ve been an early riser for more than half of my life. The past couple of years, however, I’ve been a little less disciplined about my sleep habits until last month. I used the above strategy to get back on the track and it has worked like a charm except on days where my body absolutely needed to clock in more rest. You will have to factor in some of your lifestyle choices when it comes to sleep times. For example, I train almost everyday (twice a day 5 days a week for sure), run two businesses, and also have a family to take care of!
Clearly, your mileage may vary. The big point is that this one change can massive change the way you work. It will make you more productive by giving you the time and space to think, reflect, work on your most important tasks, and even clock in some physical training! You’re must be from some other planet if you’re able to do all of that and still don’t feel in charge of your day. I most certainly do and I find it so hard to please myself!
So much so for productivity advice, eh? Like I said, this ideally should be the last one you would ever need but who knows? Perhaps you are a procrastinator or get overwhelmed with all the things that you have to do? There’s a way to tackle that as well!
The point is that most solutions for our life’s most critical challenges are often simple. Start where you are instead of looking elsewhere.