Productivity (Get Some!) – Part II

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In yesterday’s post – Part I –  I touched on the concept of productivity and started to go into a little detail on how I go about getting things done on a day-to-day, and even weekly basis.  To summarize, I briefly talked about making an effort to surround yourself with other productive people, as well as the power of making lists.

Let me preface this by saying that I am by no means suggesting that I’m the most productive person in the world – let alone my household – but I do feel I have some valuable insight for many upcoming trainers and coaches out there looking to take the next step in their career.

As I alluded to briefly, the fitness industry can be a bit of a (WARNING: earmuffs) cluster**** in the sense that as a fitness professional, you make what you want of it.  A few years ago, wanting a bit more, I decided I to take strides to further my career and moved out of central New York. It was scary and a “ballsy” move on my part, but deep down I knew it was something I needed to do and that it was for the best.

Not long after, I began to entertain the idea of doing some writing. I started a blog while simultaneously submitting article ideas to various publications, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that, but I don’t want to bore you to tears.  Suffice it to say, it seems I’m busier now more than ever, and it’s rare where I don’t look at the clock and wish there were more hours in the day.

With that, lets get back to it!

Get Up Early

It’s 6:30 AM as I begin writing this blog post.  Most of the people who’ll eventually read this are either still asleep (I hate you) or maybe just making their way to the kitchen to turn the coffee maker on.  Either way, if you want to increase your productivity, it only makes sense to get your ass out of bed earlier.

I’d say on average, I get up between 6-6:30 on most mornings – although there are times where I get up with Lisa at 5:30 when she has to go and teach her spin class.  It’s rare, but it happens.  Okay, it’s happened like three times.  Okay, once.  Whatever.  Get off my back!

The point is, I’m up early.

I walk to the bathroom, and you know……..

…and then I go and make my breakfast, and I generally spend the bulk of my mornings catching up on emails, reading some blogs, writing a few programs if I need to, and also doing what I’m doing now.

I have a 45 minute commute from my apartment to work, and given that the staff typically trains together at 10:30 before we open our door at noon, I really only have a good three hour window from the time I wake up to when I have to leave to get some solid work done.

Go to Bed Early

By that same token, if I’m getting up at the crack ass of dawn, you can bet that I’m going to bed early as well.  Jesus, I sound like an 80 year-old man!

Next thing you know I’m going to tell stories of how I used to walk 1-mile to and from school everyday, and yell at every person who walks on my lawn.

But I digress.

My body knows what’s up, and when it’s time for sleepy time – usually around 10 PM – it tells me.  I’m not one of those people who stays up at all hours of the night playing video games or watching Skin-a-Max.  I like my sleep, and it’s important to me to get a solid 7-9 hours per night (if I can).

Turn Off the Television

In his book, The Art of Non-Conformity (awesome book by the way), author Chris Guillebeau notes:

Seth Godin writes the number one business blog in the world, with a readership base of hundreds of thousands. He is frequently asked how he has time to do everything, especially write back to everyone who emails him. His answer is that he doesn’t watch tv, so that gives him four to five more hours a day than most people have.

Before Lisa and I moved in together, I went about a year and a half without paying a cable bill because I actively chose not to have it. Not only did I save myself $70 per month, but I also saw an exponential growth in my bank account. Why?

Instead of watching re-runs of 30 Rock (arguably my favorite show) and spending upwards of five hours of my day rotting my brain, I read, wrote, and was just more productive overall. In other words, I got shit done.

Likewise, and pigging back on the whole “going to bed early thing,” turning off the television will undoubtedly help. Most people are so wired from watching so much tv, that they can’t fall asleep! I can understand if you don’t want to do any work, and I can totally relate to wanting to veg out from time to time and watching some mindless show – but in all honesty if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, read some fiction (or other reading material that doesn’t require a lot of thinking) and thank me later.

Refuse to Get a Smart Phone

I’m an Apple snob like everyone else (I converted to a Mac last year), but there’s one thing I refuse to get…….

and that’s a iPhone, or any other Smart phone on the market

Call me selfish, but I don’t want to be THAT easily accessible to the point where I’m constantly plugged into the internet.  What’s more, one of my biggest pet peeves is when you’re at a social event sitting at a table with several other people, and there’s always one asshat tapping away on his or her phone.  Uh, helllllo?  Over here???

Talk about lack of a social filter!

And don’t even get me started about people who use their phones during a movie.

Anyways, I just find that smart phones – as cool and shiek as they are – just get in the way, and otherwise prevent people from being as productive as they can.  Instead of writing an article, they’re playing Angry Birds.

Have an Understanding Girlfriend

This could easily go at the top of the list. Having a significant other who understands and supports the fact that you’re in an industry that demands a lot of time is crucial in many ways.

I mean, it’s not easy to come home after a long day of coaching, only to walk in the door, say hi to Lisa, talk for like ten minutes, and then go off into the office to write programs or work an article which has a deadline the following day.

It definitely takes a lot of compromise and communication, but when both parties are on the same page, it’s a beautiful thing.

The only caveat, of course….is Wednesday. Which we all know is reserved for “business time…….”

Know When to Say When

And then there are those days where you just need to say F-it, close your laptop, and do whatever it is you want to do. I’ve mentioned in the past how I’m an introvert and heart, and that one of the best ways for me to re-energize and collect my thoughts is to head down to the local coffee shop or bookstore and read for a few hours…….by myself…..at my own discretion.

I love it, and it’s amazing what a few hours of doing NOTHING can do.

Too, I’m also a HUGE movie buff, and it’s not uncommon for me to walk down to the local theater to catch a matinee on the weekends – either alone, or with Lisa.

The point is, you can’t always be working, and you need to allow yourself time to enjoy the things you like to do.  Take a nap, play World of Warcraft, walk your dog, clean that disgusting toilet of yours (seriously dude, that’s gross).

Do something other than work

Have some thoughts or words of wisdom to share…..I’d love to hear them.  Chime in below!

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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  • Gaurav Kapil

    Awesome part II.

    I’ll add in a point: To cut off reading lists also. We subscribe/read too much of rehashed versions these days, most of which we won’t even remember, most of isn’t usable, most of which is good to read only.

    So follow only a few people and read/follow when they write.

    • Anonymous

      Nice suggestion Gaurav! I have like 1800 followers on Twitter, and only follow like eight. How’s that for a ratio!?!?….haha

  • Anonymous

    My friends make fun of me, but I still have my free entry level Samsung from Sprint that comes with a new phone plan. I’ve scratched it up, dropped it from the top of the staircase far too many times, and even spilled bacon fat all over it. And you know what, it still works lol. I don’t know if an iPhone would have survived any of that.

    One thing that I do that I got from Tim Ferris (who hasn’t heard of this) is to not check e-mail first thing in the morning. It’s hard to do at first, but not having an smart phone helps, and it does get easier the more you practice.

    Now I just need to find that understanding girlfriend…..

    Sirena

    • Miguel

      Definitely agree with the phone part. I’ve had some Samsung phone for years, and it survived literally everything that came it’s way… Except for Kingdaka (sp), the worlds fastest roller coaster. It unfortunately fell out during the 3second ride…!

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree. I REFUSE to get a smart phone. I’m happy with my free upgrade from Verizon I got a few years ago.

      Can’t say I follow the “no checking emails” rule, though. I fail miserably on that one.

  • Brooks Tiller

    Thanks for the insights Tony. Really helpful and encouraging ( as i read this while my work computer syncs up)
    One thing that has really helped me is saying “no”. In order to say yes you have to say no.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Anonymous

      Brooks! Thanks for chiming in buddy!

  • L.

    Gosh, that Lisa lady sounds really fabulous!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, she’s a keeper……..;o)

  • Susan Galeone

    I’ve found that sacrificing things is an essential tool to productivity. I loved playing the violin, but it would require practicing 1-2 hours a day. The time and cost were not as high on my priority list as was the gym or school or other things so… out it went.

    • Anonymous

      I can play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano. That’s my only musical talent. I can’t even imagine how much time and dedication it takes to play the violin. That must have been a hard decision to make.

  • Ben Blaweiss

    Hi Tony,

    Martin Berkhan of leangains recently posted a top 10 books article, and one of the books was Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I have been reading it recently and can second Martin’s recommendation. It has definitely helped with my productivity, and I was pretty productive to begin with.

  • Rob King

    Tony

    Get an Iphone 🙂

    Great post dude.

    Rob
    http://www.RobKingFitness.com

  • Risto Uuk

    Tony, awesome blog! I love the fact that you allow so much of your personality get in the blog. Shows us that you’re a human after all, even though a very productive one, obviously.