Categories
Health Productivity

How to Improve Your Health and Boost Productivity

At first glance the subjects of health and productivity don’t seem to have much in common. One concerns how you treat your body and the other how you handle your time. Yet the two are inextricably entwined. It is only by maintaining and improving your health that you can find the energy to do the things you want (and need) to do.

I must confess that I only understood the correlation recently. Over the years I had noticed a lessening of my energy levels. Considering that I am nearing the half-century mark, I attributed it to age and dismissed it. Everybody slows down when they get older, I told myself.

Over the past two years a lingering dental problem (a lifetime of drinking soft drinks has destroyed the enamel on my teeth) forced me to have several teeth removed. As I began to have the teeth extracted, I noticed a surprising side effect: Every time I had a tooth removed, my energy levels increased. With every single boost of energy, I became more productive in my daily life.

I began to ask questions about this phenomenon. Dental issues can cause lingering infections in the body. By removing the source of the infection, I was reducing the load on my immune system and allowing it to work more efficiently. Instead of expending energy to keep infections at bay, my body now had excess energy that could be channeled into other areas of my life.

I pondered this quietly as I noticed the change. If eliminating the cause of infection in my body could cause such a dramatic improvement in my productivity, could actively caring for my body improve my productivity even more?

I decided upon a simple experiment. As most people in this modern age, I didn’t get enough sleep. I would stay up until late in the night writing or chatting online with friends. As a result I would have to drag myself out of bed each morning and force myself to get to work. Since sleep is essential for health, getting more of it should not only boost my health but increase my productivity as well.

At first it was difficult to train myself to go to bed earlier. It felt as if I was wasting time sleeping instead of doing more important things like writing or cleaning my home. I can sleep when I’m dead, I would tell myself stubbornly when my designated bedtime arrived.

I kept working on my experiment. Since a set bedtime wasn’t helping, I instead started setting my alarm clock a bit earlier. Within a week or so my body would start forcing me to go to bed earlier at night.

I didn’t see much difference at first. I would still be a bit groggy in the mornings as I woke up and began to work. Over time that began to change.

I began to wake up before my alarm each morning, sometimes by several hours. At first I was content to lie there and think but over time I began to get restless. I began hopping out of bed ready to get to work.

I began to feel a restless energy that I hadn’t felt in years. Each time I would feel it surface I would get up and do something. While some of these spurts didn’t last long, others lasted for several hours. Over time, these spurts of energy began to get longer and tiny little health issues I’d attributed to age began to decrease.

My ankles no longer swell painfully after a long shift. My shoulder rarely aches after a busy day scanning purchases. My ability to deal with the daily stress of life has improved. Things that used to upset me are now met with a shrug.

I feel as if I’m doing less yet the evidence around me proves that I’m doing more than ever. My home is cleaner. I write more. I read more books than ever. I even started mowing my own yard instead of hiring others to do it yet I still have time and energy to spare. Even with starting college I now find myself with enough time and energy to get it all done.

And it all started by taking care of me first.

If you find yourself perpetually exhausted and feel as if you don’t have enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done, you can improve that situation by making one simple change to your routine:

Get more sleep.

Sleep is like a magic potion to the human body. It allows it to recharge, giving it time to devote to healing and restoration. It can solve problems that the modern medical community cannot even detect, much less repair. Even better, the solution is free.

So go to bed earlier tonight. If like me you have trouble doing that, start by setting your alarm a bit earlier each morning so that your body will force the issue. Take naps whenever you can. This is especially important if you find yourself nodding off whenever you sit down since this is a classic sign of sleep deprivation.

Take one day each week to just rest. You may sleep the entire day away at first (like I did), but over time you will notice that your sleep periods will get shorter and your energy levels begin to climb.

When your energy levels go up, your productivity will follow.

If you found this post helpful, please take a moment to share it with a friend. If you find that you have trouble sleeping, you may want to consider picking up a copy of Set Your Sleep on Autopilot: Learn How to Fall Asleep Fast by Eric West. In this book he compiled a number of very helpful suggestions. I had the honor of contributing my personal method for dealing with insomnia to this book as well. Over the years I’ve revisited this book several times to learn from him and the other contributors so I highly recommend it.

Categories
Finances Health

Self-Analysis

Last night I face-planted into my computer keyboard.

That was a definite sign of why I’ve become so grumpy and frustrated as of late. I’ve pushed myself a bit too hard again, sacrificing sleep for my goals.

I have really got to establish some limits here. While I’m happy that I am more productive than I’ve been in quite a while, I do not want to push myself so hard that it negatively affects my health.

On another front, a friend of mine has decided to create some goals of her own. Like mine, her goals include increasing her current income and establishing passive income.

She has heard about some local factories that may be hiring, so we have made plans to apply together at several places as soon as our days off match up. We can split the cost of fuel if we work the same shift, which will buy me some time to build up the extra funds needed to comfortably purchase a vehicle and pay for the higher insurance that I’ll be charged for the first year.

This has the potential of helping both of us if we work together. It would propel both of us income-wise, into “lower middle class.” While she is currently right on the border of that based upon her gross, I make a bit over half of her current income, so the financial change would be dramatic for me.

I would be forced to work a bit less on my studies (and my book project) but the increased income would greatly benefit my long-term goals.

That is a sacrifice that I am willing to make.

In the meantime, I clocked out early from work today since we were really slow, came home, and took a long nap. I need to start taking care of myself if I want to do this.

Categories
Productivity

Wake Up Early

No matter how early I am scheduled to arrive at work I make sure to set my alarm clock a few hours early. This can be a challenge sometimes. I have never been a morning person and frequently stay up until the wee hours of the morning but the results are worth the extra effort.

I wake up, stumble through the house for some coffee, then plop into my computer chair. Once I wake up I write something, anything that I believe has the potential to become a blog post or a book section.

This allows me to walk to work with the knowledge that I have already made a little bit of progress towards my long-term goals. My steps are lighter and my day easier. No matter what happens at work I know that I’ve managed to accomplish something worthwhile.

Even better, I don’t have to worry about the day getting away from me. Even if I am exhausted at the end of my work shift I can rest easy with the knowledge that I haven’t let the day slip by without working at least a little bit towards my passion of writing and helping others.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of living day to day. You get up, go to work, and are so tired by the time you arrive home that you simply don’t have the energy left to work towards your goals.

This is my solution.

Have you ever thought about waking up a bit early to work towards your personal goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.