When asked what how to become more productive, billionaire Richard Branson sat back on his private island and thought for a moment. His response was short:
He claims exercising gives him a whopping four hours of extra productivity. if this sounds crazy, think how much time you waste doing trivial, unnecessary tasks that aren’t moving you towards where you want to be. Facebook is probably the primary culprit. But other pursuits like unnecessary cleaning and scouting around wikipedia, while useful, are what I call “productive procrastination” – I should know, I’m a master of it – incidentally, reading this blog is a completely fine use of your time. So there is plenty of scope for us to become more efficient. There are a myriad of studies showing exercise works, and I think this is partly because of the extra endorphins, increased focus, and also getting in the habit of doing things you don’t necessarily enjoy. The last point is a big one. Most people are pretty good at getting on with what they enjoy, the true test of your productivity comes to when you must do something you don’t particularly want to. This is where exercise helps – most people would choose laying in a hammock in the sunshine over working out until it hurts. When I have a decision to make I usually ask myself “which is the harder option?”. And there I have my answer.
While talking about the benefit of exercise on productivity I want to mention something else. A key factor in getting results when exercising, especially weight training, is “going to failure”, i.e. lifting until you physically cant lift any more on that exercise. This is often overlooked, party because it is damn hard. It means pushing on when the voice in your head says “I’ve had enough”, because that means you have at least 10% left in the tanks. This applies to life in general. If you want to achieve your goals you have to go beyond the point when you’re brain tells you you’ve put enough effort in. Like finishing a remix – the last 10% is what makes all the difference between a good track and a great track. And that last 10% will take as much effort as the first 90%, believe me.
But in a world where more and more people are creating you need to stand out, and going that extra 10% is the first step in doing that.
I’ll leave you with a story about Daley Thompson, a legendary athlete…
One day he told a friend that he would be training on Christmas Day morning as usual and nothing was going to change. And after Christmas dinner he said he’d be out again doing his usual afternoon session. Which seemed a bit extreme on Christmas Day though his friend had to admit Daley always trained that way and the 25th Dec fell on a day that he would normally train on. And then continued Daley, I’ll go out and train a 3rd time. His friend was staggered and couldn’t believe his ears? Really? Why would you train 3 times on Christmas Day?
“Because NOBODY trains 3 times on Christmas Day, and that’s why I’m Number One”