How to Be More Productive

My good friend Dave Tripp (Trip) recently just finished his masters thesis. 

To me, it sounds like quite the recipe for procrastination: 

  1. One MASSIVE assignment with few due dates. 
  2. Very little supervision. 

But, Trip did it.

Plus, he learned some cool stuff along the way to help you become more productive. 

Here is that stuff. 


LESSON ONE: TO PRODUCE MORE OUTPUT, YOU NEED MORE INPUT


To get more done, Trip had the same mindset that you're probably used to: 

To get more work done, spend more time working.
— Most University Student Brains

THIS IS EXTREMELY STUPID THINKING.

 

Trip found that focused, productive work hours can be many times more productive than unfocused, tired hours at the lab. 

So, instead of grinding through12-13 hour days, missing exercise, sleeping little, and eating poorly... 

Trip would spend 4-7 hours at the lab, fully focused and feeling great.


Increasing inputs to increase output can take many forms. 

 

Most involve doing a better job of maintaining your body. 

 

Trip found consistent, early wake-up times, Sunday meal prep, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helped him sleep, eat, and exercise better. 

Whatever your body maintenance routine, stick to it, especially in the wake of heavy workloads. 

It will give you the input you need to produc(tiv)e output. 


LESSON TWO: DITCH THE PHONE. 


Like you, Trip liked to take breaks by checking his phone. 

Like you, Trip found it very easy to have this brief breaks turn into hour(s) long spirals

 

ONCE TRIP DITCHED HIS PHONE, HE FOUND HE WAS MORE PRODUCTIVE, FOCUSED, AND ACTUALLY MORE CURIOUS ABOUT HIS WORK.

THE RESULT? MORE WORK DONE IN LESS TIME. 

 

For breaks, instead of checking his phone,

Trip would go for walks, do some push-ups, or just lie down. 

 

Trip found that instead of breaks distracting him,

forcing him to take some time to recover,

they actually rejuvenated him to come back

to his work feeling refreshed and even more focused. 

 

Here you can find out more on how to ditch your phone. 

But if you're looking for the quick version of the 'how':

Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.
— Ronnie Coleman, Eight-time Mr. Olympia Champion

LESSON THREE: A HAPPY MIND IS A PRODUCTIVE MIND. 


When Trip worked too much, he found it was easy to become unhappy. 

Disconnecting from his friends at the lab was isolating and drained him of the energy he needed...

...to get his work done. 

Intelligence and happiness probably have no correlation with each other. In studies, it’s repeatedly been shown. And money is very little correlated with happiness. The highest correlation with happiness is community. 
— Ray Dalio, Multi-Billionaire

Since working pulls you away from your friends and your feeling of community, you must be careful not to work too much. 

Beyond working too much making Trip unhappy, it actually made him less productive

Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity levels rise, your energy levels rise...
— Shawn Achor, Happiness Researcher

So next time you're tempted to push off sleep to do work, stay in from seeing your friends to do work, or skip the gym to do work, just be aware of the illusion you're falling victim to. 

Skipping out on inputs will actually make you less productive, not more productive. 

Your phone will delude you too. It is a source of distraction not focus. 


And don't forget the most important goal of all: happiness.

I mean, what else are we here for anyways? 


Yours, in love and kindness, 

John Samuel Gray