I want to share with you the best methods to maintain high productivity. These are carefully selected practices that work. I've tried every method I heard about in the last 17 years. Some do work but some definitely don't. Let's focus this time on the ones that work:
- Working in the morning
- Fasting and razor-sharp focus
- Focus (time) blocks
- Tracking working hours, you don't know when you don't measure
- Good night sleep, at least 7+ hours
- Low stress level
Working in the morning
Your mental energy tank is refilled after good night sleep. Don't waste it in the morning on the non-essential activities like emails, meetings, reading news or even gym/physical activity. Try to do as much creative work and coding as possible. And take a break. Remember that the maker's schedule is different and not compatible with the manager's schedule. You will be amazed how much you can do in 3-4 hours in the morning when you're really focus in the distraction free environment.
Mental energy is finite and it's draining through the day. Those hard limitations are put in place by the human brain. There is no magic hack or pill that will extend your ability to concentrate. After sometime you will finally hit "the wall" and more coffee, quick naps or meditation won't help. Remember to use your mental energy wisely through the day. To turbo-charge your ability to focus I recommend reading "Your Brain at Work" by David Rock.
Kathy Sierra has really good explanation why mental energy is finite and how to protect yourself from losing it.
You can be surprised why I'm against gym in the morning? It will exhaust your body nervous system and you will have hard time to concentrate. A pump you feel in your muscles is nice when training, but it gets in the way of your creative work. Also, physical exhaustion doesn't help to maintain high level of mental focus. I've been weight training and powerlifting for more than 25 years (with longer breaks) and I recommend training in the afternoon or evening, but not too late because it may cause problems with falling asleep.
... to be continued. Subscribe to the part 2, "Fasting and razor-sharp focus", below.