I used to coach basketball. And as any good coach knows, the most important aspect of having a good, productive practice is by beginning with and focusing on the fundamentals. Dribbling, passing, and shooting. Without the ability to execute those necessary skills, everything else is a waste of time. After all, how can you get the ball up the court and past the other team without the ability to make an effective pass to your teammate?
Just like basketball, life has fundamentals that must be practiced daily if we are to experience it fully. When we take the time to put them into practice, our lives work. We are productive and efficient.
When we fail to put them into practice, the opposite happens. We become ineffective. Our performance suffers, and so does our productivity.
1. Sleep. You probably don’t need to be told this, but it’s official. The research is in. To function at your optimum level, you must get good quality sleep.
“To function at your optimum level, you must get good quality sleep.”
Think about it, how effective are you when you are tired versus when you are well-rested? Personally, the difference for me is huge. When I am well rested, I feel incredible. Everything seems to click. I am efficient and effective. Ideas seem to flow to me.
On the other hand, when I am tired, everything is a struggle. I am ineffective and unproductive. At these times, I know the best thing for me to do is take a power nap or get a good night’s sleep and start again in the morning.
Make sleep a priority. Start getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night and watch your energy and productivity soar.
2. Exercise. Do you get enough exercise?
Exercise is vital for productivity because, like sleep, it also helps you to have more energy, be more efficient, and as a result, more productive.
If you sit all day at a desk and rarely get up and walk around, then you will definitely benefit from a daily exercise program.
Exercise allows your body to function at an optimum level. It helps circulate oxygen and nutrients to all of your organs, including your brain. At the same time, it helps cleanse your system of waste that can leave you feeling lethargic and run down. And, as an added bonus, exercise helps you get a better night’s sleep which leads to more energy.
I suggest getting up and taking a short walk every 45 or 50 minutes. Not only will this provide you with the mental break you probably need, but it will also get your blood circulating and give you a quick boost in energy.
If you are not sure if you are getting enough exercise, a pedometer is a great place to start. Count your steps during the day. Aim for 10,000 steps and see how much better you begin feeling.
3. Nutrition. Once again, these are fundamentals, and everyone knows how important they are, but how well do you practice them?
As a coach, I always began my practice with the fundamentals. I knew that if I didn’t lead my players in practicing them, they would be pushed aside for less important half-court shots that would never win games.
What do you fuel your day with? If you are like most people, you eat and drink way too much junk. If you really want to up your productivity, cleanse your body of fast food, sugary foods, and caffeine.
If you need a snack, reach for a piece of fruit. If you need a drink, reach for a glass of water. Think of it this way, if you had a racehorse, would you feed it with fast food and coffee?
“If you had a racehorse, would you feed it with fast food and coffee?”
Of course not. That’s ridiculous. So why would you treat yourself any differently?
4. Intentions. The first three fundamentals are taking care of your body. The last one is taking care of your thoughts. If you want to be more productive, then you must start getting clear on your intentions. What do you want? What is the main objective you are trying to accomplish?
Way too often, we work super hard trying to finish a task, only to find out we were working on the wrong task.
If you really want to be more productive with your day, begin it by deciding what your primary intention is for today. Then create a plan of action that leads you toward its accomplishment.
For example, this morning, I set my intention to grow my business. Next, I asked myself what the most effective thing I could do to grow my business was. I decided it would be to write a new blog that would help people increase their productivity. This simple act allowed me to block out everything else and just focus on what I wanted to share with my readers.
There you have it, the fundamentals of productivity and getting more done. While there are tons of productivity hacks out there you could be using, I believe they are all worthless until you begin to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, fuel your body with the proper nutrients, and set your intentions.
If you want more ideas on how to increase your productivity and how I started my online business, wrote two books, and kept my teaching job, all while maintaining my sanity, download Intentional Mornings from Amazon.com today.
Until next time,
Which fundamentals do you struggle with?