Science has documented a strong relationship between taking care of yourself and productivity. Your mind, body, and will to succeed are your most essential tools to accomplish anything. If there wasn't science attached to it (and there is) you'd need to take care of yourself in order to maintain productivity. Stands to reason. How else would you get things done? Force of personality? Come on. That'll only get you so far. I speak from experience.
So your whole self is one of the tools in your toolbox. Take care of it, and you will be more productive.
But how do you do it? What data do you need to increase your productivity via your wellness. Do you need a program to improve your health as an employee? Should you focus on your relationships or your workplace? Or should you balance them? And will you actually improve your business with the cunning application of periodic oatmeal?
Well, yeah. That's the answer to all the above.
Here are a few quick hot-takes on the relationship between wellness and productivity, as proved by anecdotes (where possible) and science (where applicable).
1. In moderation, embrace your favorite caffeine
Caffeine is a contentious topic in the health and wellness profession. You can find scholarship supporting its hazards and its holiness. Just depends on what angle you want to confirm.
Good or ghastly, everyone agrees what caffeine does: boosts alertness and energy, mainly.
That's a health concern. But the other thing that always comes with caffeine is the vessel. The coffee or tea or chocolate or whatever your favored poison. That's a wellness concern. The ritual that goes with your favorite caffeine helps your productivity. The whole dance of making a nice cup of tea can be the perfect five-minute break. You need breaks in the slog push over the hump to finish that last twenty percent of a project.
Caffeine comes naturally in coffee, tea, and chocolate, and less naturally in energy bars and soda. In moderation, embrace your favorite caffeine.
2. Create protected time for passion
I read once how Chuck Pahlaniuk has become jealous of the forty-five minutes every day that he sets aside for reading. When I read that, first I grabbed a book and got off the internet. Second thing I thought though was, man, that's a good attitude to have.
I asked Oliver Blakemore, published author and our Naked Content Workshop Master, what he has to say about this gem I found from an adored (albeit warped) author. He shares: "Reading's one of my joys. Except, my attitude changed about it in adulthood. I started thinking about reading as something I could do between "important" things to pass time. I need to change my attitude about reading. Reading is a highlight of my days. I'm doing other things between chapters. Reading is the important thing.
Adulthood is rife with this flipped attitude. We have a skewed view of what makes
something "important." We don't emphasize things that nourish us or encourage us. "Important" things are usually on lists given to us by authority figures.
You're the person who knows best what's important to you. Figure out what that is and carve out forty-five minutes, at least, every day for it."
Aaaah. I seems a not-too-farfetched notion, then: One of the hardest things to manage when finishing things is that excuse as old as words and time itself: I don't want to.
Spending at least forty-five minutes every day on something you truly wish to do lends meaning to everything else.
I want to finish this writing assignment. Then I get to read which is the highlight of my day.
It's like that.
What do you love to do? Protect time for your health, your relationships, your blogging. Make some time for it. Guard that time jealously.
3. Feed your knowledge-base
Anything people do professionally is an area of study. It has history. It has jargon. It has a culture that comes with it. A deeper knowledge of your professional area tends to increase your ability to work in that area. You care more about things when you know stories about them.
Learn more about what you do. Everything comes from something, and everything has a story about itself.
4. Health, maybe obvious, maybe not
Your most fundamental tool is your own body and your own mind, and your own will to succeed. We've been fed a line for the last couple of generations that if you just work hard you'll achieve success. It's starting to come out that "success" has a variable definition, and that working hard isn't the only means or measure of it.
Success, as it turns out, might include a sense of value and a sense of a life lived well.
Achieving a well-lived life includes a clear mind and sound body as you make your millions. It makes it more pleasant to enjoy "success" if you have your health when you get it. More important, though, it turns out that people have started discovering that healthier, happier people get more done.
ATHENA's Ed. Note: Oliver is well entrenched as our Resident Viking Hipster, among many other hats he wears. Read "Wellness, Productivity, and the Hustle" written over Christmas, and hear all about it LIVE as part of his Naked Content Workshops, kicking off with: "Fitting Writing into your Life" - A one-on-one interactive course.