In this post, I want to share my secret to enjoyable and productive days. The short form of the formula goes like this: prepare and drink a strong cup of butter coffee; meditate for 10 to 30 minutes; eat a protein-rich breakfast on some days and skip breakfast on other days; and finally, use timeboxing to alternate between 30-minute bursts of work and 5-to-10-minute breaks.
This formula keeps my energy levels up and helps to maintain focus and concentration throughout the day. Best of all, when I consequently apply it, I still have plenty of energy to spare in the evening.
Does this sound too good to be true? If you suffer from brain fog, low energy, or a lack of focus and concentration, or crave sugar or food to keep you going, give it a try.
Here is how I implement the different steps of my formula:
In a previous post, I wrote about time boxing as a way to stop procrastinating and getting things done. Combined with a little bit of physical exercise, it does a lot more for me: It turbocharges my day, energizes my mind, and makes me happier. Mind fog is a thing of the past for me.
As a recap, with time boxing, all work takes place in fixed-duration time intervals (20-30 minutes) after which you take a break (usually 5 minutes). During a break, you get up from your desk and do something completely different.
Today, I want to encourage you to use at least 2 or 3 10-minute breaks for your daily physical exercise:
You certainly have been told, physical activity has been found to be absolutely necessary to maintain good health and a sufficient blood flow to your brain (blah blah…). I don’t want to bore you, so I won’t go down this road.
Before I go any further, I have to admit that I am by no means an exercise junkie. For a long time, my exercise regime was going to the swimming pool once a week. Yes, I sort of always knew that moderate exercise is an important contribution to maintaining one’s health, but it wasn’t something I really paid too much attention to.
What bothered me more was that I tired fast whenever I did some serious thinking or learning. As you probably know from my blog, I like learning a lot, and feeling tired after only 20 to 30 minutes of studying made me wonder if I had already gotten too old for it. Yes, you can counter that tiredness for a while with a strong cup of coffee, and I love coffee, but this isn’t really a solution to get through the day with a bright mind. In fact, even with coffee mind fog sets in way too soon.
What I didn’t realize for many years – I was constantly asking too much of my brain.
Most of us have a tendency to put off work we don’t like very much, or work so daunting that we cannot see how we can ever finish it.
Do you postpone work because you don’t know where to start or how to finish it?
When I was a child, we had a large garden, and if it wasn’t winter, I regularly had to attend to it and pick weeds. To me, the vegetable patches appeared to be huge. I just could not see an end to my work. And actually, there was no end to it!
My concept of time was very different from my parents’.
I became increasingly frustrated and started killing time by engaging in dirt throwing competitions with my brother. Sometimes we spend more time procrastinating than working.
This is a pity, because our productivity could have been much higher. Instead of wasting time, we could have gone for a swim or played football with our friends. We lacked structure and possibly some rewards.
If you too are procrastinating because the task at hand is too complex or time consuming, you need to break it into consumable pieces and structure it.
I know, this is easier said than done, but here is what you can do…
Spend a few minutes to reflect on what you can do to move your task forward. Ask yourself, “What are the very next action steps I have to take to move this forward?”
Note down these steps, perhaps three or four, and then get going: