The Productivity Paradox: How Working Less Will Make You More Productive

Let me repeat: Most of us sacrifice productivity-boosting activities for working more hours. (When I write about productivity-boosting activities I simply mean activities that are scientifically proven to improve our productivity. They increase our work output per hour. For example, instead of producing 10 units per hour these activities help us produce 12 units per hour.)

What if, instead of working more hours (while suffering from diminishing returns), we would use that time for productivity-boosting activities instead?

I’m personally not very good at spending time to recharge. This article outlines some great ideas:

  1. Sleeping More
  2. Meditating
  3. Napping
  4. Exercising
  5. Taking Breaks

These seem like simple things to do, but it’s hard to integrate them into your schedule.

What things are you doing to recharge during the day? And how did you build that habit effectively?

I do a number of things.

  • I schedule a lunch with nonwork friends, once a week. I am willing to drive to them. That gives me something to look forward to.
  • I work out in the morning to get myself going. I also do meditate and practice Qi Gong as well.
  • I make sure to walk around the house a few times a day. I also will take a full mile walk sometimes in the afternoon if the weather cooperates.
  • I also have a list of motivation YouTube Videos that can pump me up when I need it.
  • I check the Guild out to see what @justindirose and @wilsonng have posted. :slight_smile:
  • I do cryotherapy some days over lunch as well.

If things get rough, I will mediate or practice Qi Gong. Both of these allow me to center myself and make sure that I am doing what I can.

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Is that like some kind of Force practice inspired by the late Jedi Master?

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

No @justindirose. Good guess though.

It’s like Tai Chi only less martial focus.

On a more serious note, I like your list. It’s a neat picture into how you focus on caring for yourself.

Here are a couple of videos…

The next two are not safe for work. Swearing…


I think I’m trying to reduce my workload so that I can spend more time with my family. It’s a crazy world where we think we try to be more productive to do more work. We lose sight of the important things in life when we spend so much time at work “for the family” but we forget that we need to spend time “with the family.”

@shouit: We look forward to seeing you pop up here in the Guild as well as maybe an occasional drive-by in the podcasts? :pray:

Family, baby!

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@justindirose I think the “how did you build that habit effectively” is the more difficult part of the question. I’m sure there’s already lots of material on habits in either guild posts but @shouit perhaps you could elaborate on how you effectively built those particular habits

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Sometimes, we’re so concerned with what other people want from us and we forget to take care of ourselves. Recharging is an important aspect that can’t be neglected. Some might think it’s selfish but everybody has to have some “me” time for themselves.

Scheduling it as a time block is an important step for my habit building. If I don’t devote a time for a habit, I’ll never get it done.

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@Tyler_Weitzman, there are three things that I think are needed for a habit.

  1. The biggest thing that helps me with regards to a habit is a strong enough why behind the habit. The problem is that why needs to be from you. It cannot be a shoulda habit. It cannot be someone telling you need that habit, even if it’s @joebuhlig. You need to make the habit cause YOU want it. The problem is at times, people don’t want it.

  2. Knowledge.Take eating healthy. I don’t think we need to keep telling people they need to eat healthy. Most people know that is a fact. That’s not the knowledge I am thinking of. And they know some of the basics, eliminate junk food, more veggies. But that stuff is too damn much for people to take in. They need to knowledge to break that idea down and to make it manageable.

  3. Tracking. I use a tracker. Which one, doesn’t matter to me. Analog, digital. Which app, doesn’t matter. The whole concept of a streak, aka gameify the thing, is huge. Don’t break it. That said, I do allow myself the permission to break a habit once in a while. I don’t beat myself up about it. I am going through an interesting season of life and sometimes, I need to break things.

This was a bit longer than I thought it would be. Hope this answers your question, @Tyler_Weitzman. Ping me if you want more.


Also @Tyler_Weitzman , Duhigg’s habit loop: Cue > Routine > Reward > [repeat].