“Time is what we most want, but what we use worst.” That’s what William Penn once said, and he absolutely nailed it.
Time is the one resource that we all have available to us, yet many of us fail to put it to good use, instead throwing much of it away. Take me. I loved high school. Some of my best memories are my days hanging out with my buddies Arthur, Kris and Alex. They taught me that it’s not where you live, but who you’re with that really makes a city. Alex was the smart one in our group. He went on to be a lawyer. The rest of us, shall we say, weren’t the best students. We weren’t stupid by any means, but we also did whatever we could to get out of studying.
One of my biggest regrets is not doing more in high school. All of us could have joined a club, but we were having too much fun. Head to pretty much any high school and you’ll find people like us. The best word to describe us – slackers. An ex-girlfriend of mine once asked my father what I was like in high school. His answer took me by surprise. He said, “Adrian was so lazy. He could have done so much more had he applied himself.” I got decent grades, had a 3.2 GPA, but my father was right. With a little effort, I could have graduated with honors.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to change. I changed after a near-death experience when I was 30 and I’ve never been the same.
What I’ve learned is this – Most of us know what works. It’s not that we don’t know, it’s that many of us don’t do what we know we should do. We’d rather pawn it off onto other people or find an easy way. When it comes to time management, the same is true. Having worked with executives of multi-million companies, doctors, lawyers, and more, I can say without a doubt that the one secret everyone knows, but not that many do is quite simply this: take care of your health.
It’s not a to-do list. It’s not Pareto’s Principle. It’s not the Pomodoro method or organizing our offices using the Kon Marie Method. Nope. None of that. Those are all techniques or strategies to maximizing our time, but a more fundamental question is whether our bodies and mind are able to maximize the knowledge we acquire and the opportunities we are given.
Two years ago, I had sciatica. Let me tell you, it was, excuse my language, a b*tch. I couldn’t bend my left leg without the feeling of having hot pokers being shoved up my you know what and when I walked around my leg was almost completely numb. What do you think that did to my productivity? Simple – it tanked. I could work, but it wasn’t easy. From getting to and from work, to finding a comfortable position with which to work from, everything took more time.
Hopefully, you don’t have sciatica. But I would hazard a guess that you’re doing things to yourself that prevent you from being uber-productive.
The three areas of health are sleep, exercise, and food. Let’s tackle them one by one.
Are you getting between seven and eight hours a night? No? Then you’re hurting yourself, you just don’t know it. I recently met someone that is in his 40s and gets four hours a night. He’s done this for more than 15 years. When I talked to Ryan Hurst of GEB Fitness, he just shook his head and said something along the lines of “He’s killing himself.”
We all need sleep. It’s a critical component for our own productivity.
Are you exercising 20 minutes a day at least three days a week? No? Then you need to change that. Exercise releases all sorts of endorphins into our bloodstream. Moderate exercise makes us stronger and more resilient to illness.
What are you eating? Are you getting enough veggies, protein, and carbs in your diet? You don’t have to go vegan or become a vegetarian to be healthy, but you do to make sure you’re putting good stuff into your body. If your favorite foods are In-And-Out Burger or KFC, then we need to talk. Too much alcohol is also a no-no, although in moderation it can be somewhat beneficial. There’s no reason to go crazy, but according to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2015-2016, in the U.S. 39.8% of adults aged over 20 were considered obese. And another 31.8% overweight. Those numbers aren’t good.
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