Staying productive is an integral part of being a freelancer, a creator, an independent worker or simply a human being. But being responsible for one’s fate can be a burden and it puts one’s strength and basically everything to a test.
There is no one magic thing that you can do to suddenly be highly productive, motivated and creative. I believe, it requires long-term dedication to achieve a long-lasting effect. It’s the same as with fitness, you can’t—in a healthy way—suddenly gain or lose 20 kgs in a month. The same goes for productivity, motivation, drive, creativity, and thinking. It’s a matter of continuous effort, routine and practice.
[blockquote text=”To stay productive, one needs to take action.” text_color=”” width=”” line_height=”undefined” background_color=”” border_color=”” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=””]
After chasing independence since my university years, I have explored various techniques and methods. I’m still learning every day but I believe I have gathered some wisdom from my career and I can share a thing or two on how to keep sharp, productive and creative as a human being. My plan is to divide this article into numerous parts since each part deserves its own place and time.
So how does one stay on top of things? One answer is good sleep.
Having a good sleep schedule and routine is essential to keeping one’s energy, health and productivity at check in the long run. We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so we better make it our top priority.
Extensive research has been conducted in regard to the optimal time needed for sleeping. A scientific paper published in 2015, recommends that for healthy adults, the guideline is 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
I have been personally experimenting with different sleep schedules and cycles, and I can agree that when I sleep more than 9 hours, I experience headaches originating from my neck and a general lack of drive and motivation. If I sleep less than 7 hours, I feel anxious, stressed, hyperactive, impatient and dizzy.
So like everything, it’s about experimenting and finding your personal sweet spot. I used to sleep 9 hours, and now I have been pushing it down to 8-8.5 hours. This change seems to resonate very well with me and my headaches and neck pain are gone. But for you it might be completely different, so experiment, and analyse various cycles to see what works for you. Try to use some mobile applications like Sleep Cycle as it helps to monitor your sleeping and wakes you up with nice melodies.
Another important thing is to try is to stop working at least an hour before bedtime or in general, stop doing any activity that releases adrenaline into your body. I usually start entering a meditative state at least an hour before going to sleep. The worst is to start a new assignment right before sleeping as that usually results in interrupted and bad sleep.
Of course, eating a lot or drinking caffeinated drinks and alcohol is also not a good idea right before sleep. As well as using electronic devices. So basically any unwanted stress, energy and anxiety triggers, get rid of them if you want to sleep well!
If you don’t manage to get your ideal sleep at night and feel a little tired the next day, try taking a nap, ideally early afternoon for an hour, so that you can get some quality rest. That way you will still be able to fall asleep at night.
In general, it’s a good idea to just see what works for you. Once you find it, then stick to it every day including weekends, since any change gives an unwanted shock to your day. If you wake up at 7 am all week for work, then you should be waking up roughly around the same time over the weekend. Find your ideal time window and go with it.
[blockquote text=”That is not to say that one should be a slave to the routine, but to have some structure to adhere to is beneficial.” text_color=”” width=”” line_height=”undefined” background_color=”” border_color=”” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=””]
I believe, at first, a strict routine can get you to a good start, but later, once you are accustomed to it, it’s crucial to be flexible and to listen to your body as well and do what feels right for you at that specific moment.
…and what is your experience with sleeping? How does it affect your daily life?