There is hardly enough time in the world to accomplish everything you want to do. If you desire to go down the path of self-fulfillment and masculinity (why else would you be here?), you must have a productive routine and habits that maximize the usage of your free time. You must optimize what you can do with the time that you have, and since motivation is critical, you should generally enjoy yourself while you are undergoing the process.
Here are twelve tips that you can follow immediately to get this process started. These are all tips that I follow and work great for me. I have been able to dramatically increase my productivity in approximately the last year following these.
Productivity is ultimately a matter of mindset, developing good habits, and having a great routine. If you feel like you need to work on your productivity, and you take the time to read this article and follow these tips, I absolutely guarantee you will be able to live a significantly more productive life.
1. Optimize Your Sleep Habits
It is essential to sleep optimally to improve your productivity. If you sleep poorly, you set yourself up for much less productivity throughout the entire day.
I used to sleep eight hours a night, but now I generally aim for seven as long as I am not in a sleep deficit. Unless I am catching up on sleep, I feel no difference between seven and eight hours of sleep, so I aim for seven to get the extra hour each day.
Many people feel that they do best when they wake up early in the morning and get started immediately (see point #2). Others feel that they do their best work at night, and they structure their schedule so they’re awake at night. I strongly recommend trying both and seeing what works best for you.
No matter what time you’re awake, you should be focused on your goals. Some people work better or have to do tasks and obligations that are better performed or required during different times of the day. Again, see what works for you.
I’m a huge fan of napping during the day when possible. When I nap, I’ll generally take a full nap instead of just a power nap. An hour nap is approximately a full sleep cycle, and it may make you feel groggy after you wake up from it. A power nap typically only takes you through the first two cycles of sleep (there’s five total, Stages 1-4, and REM). Whichever nap I take, I feel much more ready to go afterward.
When you rest matters as well. The human body is designed for a regular sleep pattern at night. A schedule along the lines of 11-6, 12-7, etc is ideal for most people. You want to aim for quality sleep where your body can go through all of the sleep cycles and not wake up in the middle of the night. Ideally, you also want to wake up naturally without an alarm clock.
If you have trouble sleeping at night and you nap during the day, you should try cutting out the nap entirely, turn a full nap into a power nap, or make sure that you are not napping too close to when you go to bed. Cut out caffeine at least six hours before bedtime and get exercise during the day, but not too close to when you sleep. You can also cut out blue lights before bed with this app. There are many resources you can access online if you have trouble sleeping. A detailed look at sleep trouble is beyond the scope of this article.
Overall, you want to experiment with your sleep routine to see what works for you. Once you do, it’s best to stick to a sleep schedule as much as possible. Occasional flexibility is fine if you want to have a night out, but you generally want to go to bed at around the same time every night. Try not to diverge from it by more than an hour.
2. Get Started Immediately When You Wake Up
Right when you wake up, get started on your routine immediately. Do not fuck around.
An example of a morning routine is to get up, do a few basic stretches, exercise (I prefer doing some shadow boxing in the mornings, and I usually lift in the afternoons), drink your coffee, shave, shit, eat; then get started on your objectives for the day. After you get the necessities out of the way, get to your schedule immediately.
If you’re horny, then either jerk off, have sex, or hold it to keep your horniness for women later (I recommend options 2 and 3). Men are horniest in the mornings, so this is something that has to be addressed. No matter what you choose, if you have a lot of work to do, you don’t want to waste much time with it.
Aside from an obvious increase in productivity, there’s a certain pride in waking up early and getting your day started immediately. It’s an even more rewarding feeling when you wake up earlier than everyone else. Morning exercise, in particular, helps you get a jump-start on your day. Try these suggestions out and see how they work for you.
3. Have a To-Do List That You Check Often
I’ve spoken about this before. Your to-do list can be extremely simple; the most important point is to have one that you check often, and that you write down the most important things to do so you have a list of your most important objectives.
You don’t necessarily need to write down everything that you expect to do in a day. Just write down your major objectives or the gist of what you expect to do. If you want to extensively plan out your day, it’s up to you, but I don’t spend much time planning a day out without a good reason. I’ll typically only plan out a day ahead of time if I know my schedule will be very tight.
Mark Baxter also introduced me to the idea of writing things down on a physical calendar. When you do this, it supposedly carries more weight in your own mind. I have never tried this but it may be an idea that you want to try.
Mark also mentioned the idea of a weekly list of goals. Briefly, write down what you want your week to look like. Then go out and do it. A week is a long enough amount of time to get real work accomplished, but it is short enough that you can go into the next week, see what you actually got accomplished, and reevaluate your routine to see what you did well or what you could improve. It also makes it harder to procrastinate (if you take it seriously) since you have a week to do what you want to do, instead of a month or a year.
Like with everything else, see what works for you. Get started on at least something and start from there. Over a course of time, you can truly optimize this process.
4. Improve Your Diet
It is essential to have a good diet to improve your productivity. This is mentioned less in posts that other authors write about productivity, but it is undoubtedly a crucial factor.
Unless you are on a specific diet for a very good reason, I recommend the following: Cut down significantly on high glycemic carbohydrates. Eat low glycemic carbohydrates instead, particularly, brown rice, quinoa, pasta, oatmeal sweet potatoes, and Ezekiel bread. Take the one(s) you like the most and make it a staple – something that takes up a large chunk of your daily calories. Eat a moderate fat diet, and eat at about 0.8g/lb of protein per pound of bodyweight. You damn well should be exercising as well; see the next section on exercise.
A good diet eliminates blood sugar spikes, which will sap your productivity after the inevitable crash. It has many other benefits of well that I will not go into in an article about productivity. The goal is to have a steady stream of energy throughout the day.
Your diet does not need to be perfect, but it should be at least 75-80% clean. If you have higher glycemic carbohydrates, eat them with a fat source. Anecdotally, I’ve also found that if I eat a higher glycemic carbohydrate later in the day it has less of a crash effect than earlier in the day.
A well-maintained diet should help increase your productivity significantly.
I strongly recommend full-body compound lifting and some cardio in the form of shadow boxing, hill sprints, or low-impact exercise such as an elliptical. Most types of well-performed exercise are fine from a productivity standpoint. Make sure you’re in good shape and get some type of exercise most days in the week. Early morning exercise, in particular, can really make you feel like you’re ready to kick ass the rest of the day.
Frankly, exercise just makes you feel good. It’s also a great idea to get your workout in when you’re dragging ass when you should be doing something productive. Exercise enhances your productivity and masculinity as a whole. Simply put, those who are in shape are much more productive and have much higher T levels than fat lazy slobs.
6. Figure Out Your Most Productive Times To Do Certain Tasks
Pay attention to what you do effectively at certain times of the day. I generally have a hard time writing during the day while the sun is out unless I am out in public, so in most cases, I don’t waste my time. I begin to do other tasks, such as practicing survival skills, weightlifting, shooting, any errands I have to do, “day-gaming,” and so forth.
As long as you have flexibility, stop a task if you are no longer performing it optimally. If something is becoming boring, or if you are losing attention and/or focus on it, it’s probably time to take a break and do something else. Often times, you need to change your physical state to change your mental state.
Your routine must obviously revolve around your life obligations. Consider what these obligations are and which ones you can eliminate. If you have kids, you obviously cannot eliminate them. If you have a bitchy girlfriend or shitty friends, you can cut them out (if you have the balls) and you’ll suddenly have more time to work on real projects to increase your productivity and masculinity.
If you have flexibility in your schedule and/or your deadline(s), have a backup plan for when you are losing interest in one task so you can replace it with something else that’s productive.
7. Always Have an Objective and Multi-Task When Possible
From a cognitive standpoint, multitasking is impossible. Your brain simply cannot effectively manage two tasks at the exact same time. What you can do, however, is mix many types of tasks that don’t require your focus on more than one thing at a time.
Always have an objective in what you do. Accomplish multiple goals at once. If you have kids and you’re hanging out with them, try to do things with them that you can both learn from. If you’re out with friends, make sure they’re the type of friends that will push you to the next level.
If you’re out to the coffee shop to pick up girls, make sure you bring a book worth reading. You’re out there to become a better man — the girls are just a diversion. If you’re learning a new language, do things you would normally do in that language instead, such as listening to the radio, reading a book, or playing a video game. If you’re out in the park, practice your survival skills. Combine things that don’t require a constant shift in focus but can be combined intelligently.
8. Use Nootropics and Supplements Wisely
There are certainly effective nootropics out there. Caffeine and L-Theanine (this is a great brand that I use, and it is among the cheapest) are the ones I have the most experience with.
As most people know, caffeine can absolutely enhance your productivity. Use it wisely. Don’t use so much that you cannot go without it; 1-3 cups of coffee a day is enough. Too much caffeine gives me anxiety and swamp ass.
Green tea is better than coffee for a much more relaxed feeling, largely because it has less caffeine and it has theanine in it. I like to mix coffee with L-Theanine because together, they produce a relaxed, focused state. If I drink green tea, I’ll usually drink it later in the day.
Overall, however, I am no expert on nootropics. Sites like Pill Scout and Examine are much better authorities on various types of supplements that can enhance your mood and focus. Remember that your diet, mindset, habits, and lifestyle are more important than taking supplements to enhance your productivity, but effective use of caffeine and other supplements can certainly help.
9. Minimize Your Distractions
This is perhaps the most important, yet most difficult thing to do for most men who want to improve their productivity.
You must minimize your distractions. We live in a world where attention is a limited resource that marketers compete for. People’s attention spans are short due to the many distractions of the technological age, and therefore marketers focus on getting and holding your attention in the cheapest ways possible.
Evaluate your habits. Do you take too much time talking to girls on your phone? (You player, you.) If so, you need to cut your phone out while you’re doing something more productive. Let them wait.
Try to keep things (your car, your home, your desk) relatively neat. For instance, if you work on your computer a lot, eliminate clutter on your desk to help eliminate distractions. Even avoiding keeping too many windows open on your computer can help significantly.
If you work on your computer, cut out social media. Anything that is a waste of time should be ignored. If you can’t trust yourself to entirely cut out the bullshit, you should set up an area where you can be productive and where there’s little distraction. This may take a lot of experimentation.
Overall, this is perhaps the most difficult step to follow on the list. Distractions are everywhere. I find that I am good, but not great at cutting out distractions. Things on Twitter, messages, and the like still creep on me and steal my attention at times. But in most cases, I consciously cut them off after a short period to focus on my objectives.
10. Allow For Some Downtime
Do not think that you should not take breaks because you’re aiming for optimal productivity.
Go outside. Pick up girls for a half hour. Watch something on YouTube. If you don’t allow for any downtime, you’ll eventually get burned out from your routine.
A break from your routine should still ideally be something productive. Go to the gym. Watch something useful on Youtube; such as ancient Japanese history or how to clean a rifle. Play a video game, but play it in a foreign language that you’re learning. Just make sure you’re not allowing for too much downtime. Stay focused on what you have to do.
11. Experiment With a Productivity Log
This is not something you necessarily have to do for long, but it is absolutely worth doing to analyze and improve your productivity.
I have spoken before about the benefits of writing a journal. I strongly recommend that every man keeps a journal for the sake of self-development; it is an incredibly easy thing to do, and it becomes a treasure chest of memories and useful information. It only takes a few minutes each day that you decide to contribute to it.
In your journal or just a notepad file, you can write a few posts on your personal productivity for the day. Write what you did and during what time, and at what point you stopped and why. Do this for at least several days or maybe even a few weeks. Come back and analyze it later to see what you could have done better. These short exercises can set you up for long-term planning that will have a large impact on the rest of your life.
I don’t necessarily recommend doing this all the time because it can be a little bit time-consuming. But try doing this for at least a few days, then do it every once in a while when you want to analyze your routine to see where you did well and where you could improve your productivity.
12. Reevaluate Your Technique Frequently
Habits are essential to learning, but as we know, people can develop bad habits. If you develop a bad habit, you will constantly do the wrong thing.
This is why you must evaluate your technique frequently. For example, don’t think that because you eat the same sub-optimal breakfast every morning that you can’t change it and eat something better. Don’t think that because you exercise every night that it wouldn’t be more effective for you to wake up earlier and exercise early in the day. There are many variables you can play around with. You must be honest about your routine and re-evaluate it to determine what is and isn’t working for you.
It can be a huge mental step forward to change a habit you’ve performed over a long period of time. You have to do it to feel it, and the feeling of changing your routine for the better can be challenging to put into words. Some things you can do can have a huge impact on your life.
Again, you can use a productivity log to help yourself through this process. Many habits don’t need an 180-degree change, but some do. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.
There’s a certain pride in constantly improving yourself and having a full, productive schedule. This teaches you to value your time and it helps you cut out all time-wasters in your life; whether it includes people, bad habits, or anything else. This guide cannot cover every little tweak you can make to enhance your productivity, but it should help you evaluate your habits and routine to take your productivity to the next level.