How to Increase Your Personal Productivity
By Brian Tracy
Your body is like a machine that uses food, water and rest to generate energy that you then use to accomplish important tasks in your life and work.
One of the most important requirements for being happy and productive is for you to guard and nurture your energy levels at all times.
The rule is that your productivity begins to decline after eight or nine hours of work. For this reason, working long hours into the night, although it is sometimes necessary, means that you are usually producing less and less in more and more time. The more tired you get, the worse is your work and the more mistakes you make. At a certain point, like a battery that is run down, you can reach “the wall” and simply be unable to continue.
The fact is that you have specific times during the day when you are at your best. You need to identify these times and discipline yourself to use them on your most important and challenging tasks.
Most people are at their best in the mornings, after a good night’s sleep. Some people are better in the afternoons. A few people are most creative and productive in the evenings or late at night.
A major reason for procrastination is fatigue, or attempting to start on a task when you are tired out. You have no energy or enthusiasm. Like a cold engine in the morning, you can’t seem to get yourself started.
Whenever you feel overtired and overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time, stop yourself and just say, “All I can do is all I can do.”
Sometimes the very best use of your time is to go home early and go to bed and sleep for ten hours straight. This can completely recharge you and enable you to get two or three times as much done the following day, and of a far higher quality, than if you had continued working long into the night.
According to many researchers, the average American is not getting enough sleep relative to the amount of work he or she is doing. Millions of Americans are working in a state of mental fog as the result of working too much and sleeping too little.
One of the smartest things you can do is to turn off the television and get to bed by ten o’clock each night during the week. Sometimes, one extra hour of sleep per night can change your entire life.
Here is a rule for you. Take one full day off every week. During this day, either Saturday or Sunday, you absolutely refuse to read, clear correspondence, catch up on things from the office or do anything else that taxes your brain. Instead, you go to a movie, exercise, spend time with your family, go for a walk or any activity that allows your brain to completely recharge itself. It is true that “a change is as good as a rest.”
Take regular vacations each year, both long weekends and one and two-week breaks to rest and rejuvenate. You are always the most productive after a weekend or a vacation.
Going to bed early five nights a week, sleeping in on the weekends and taking one full day off each week will assure that you have far more energy. This added energy will enable you to overcome procrastination and get started on your major tasks faster and with greater resolve than you ever could if you were tired out.
In addition, to keep your energy levels at their highest, be careful about what you eat. Start the day with a high protein, low fat and low carbohydrate breakfast. Eat salads with fish or chicken at lunch. Avoid sugar, salt, white flour products or deserts. Avoid soft drinks and candy bars or pastries. Feed yourself as you would feed a world class athlete before a competition, because in many respects, that’s what you are before starting work each day.
By eating lean and healthy, exercising regularly and getting lots of rest, you’ll get more and better work done, easier and with greater satisfaction than ever before.