Got a question from a reader having a "productivity slump" - the solution isn't difficult, it just requires focusing on and doing it. And if you do it, you'll feel better and get more done at the same time.
For productivity slumps, focus on re-gearing the fundamentals. It's almost always the following things -
How's your eating?
Are you drinking enough water?
How's your sleep schedule?
Are you deciding the most important things to do for the next day before going to sleep?
Are you reviewing and working on the most important things right away the next day?
Also think about if you've gotten fitness time, full relaxation/disengagement, and time in nature lately.
If you do those seven things - eat well, drink water, sleep on schedule, plan tomorrow before sleeping, start on what's most important, exercise, fully relax regularly, and get some time in nature - that almost guarantees busting out of a slump. If you're in a slump, you're almost certainly not doing one of those.
Review, change the ones that are out of line, and you'll break out - and feel great in the process.
Another importent thing is to do something that is your passion. What do you yearn for? What do you desire? What do you feel is your purpose here on this earth?
If we do not have something to look forward to, it´s much harder. I mean, what is it that makes YOU want to wake up in the morning?
You could read Richard Branson´s book. He is very inspiring. He also knows what´s importent in business. It´s not just about money. It´s about your life, how we act with each other, how we feel and what makes us wanna go to that job.
What's interesting about this list for me is the majority of recommendations have a direct physiological effect on the body (and the ones that don't, the planning and scheduling part, have the effect of reducing stress, mental costs on the body).
I've started to pay a lot more attention lately to the effect my biochemistry has on my motivation, focus and general performance and i've been experimenting with supplements, diet, gave up caffeine etc. I'm in a good spot at the moment, but admittedly I didn't go about making these changes in a scientific way so I'm unsure what changes correlate with the improvements, or even if I'm just in a longer term 'up' cycle.
Do other people find that fine tuning your body is essential to good mental performance, or for you is it just a matter of will power and crashing through mental barriers?
Or are they just different sides to the same coin?
Well, this is embarrassing. Day Two of my "Most Productive 90 Days Ever" was off the rails. I'll share why it happened to the best of my understanding, along with some best practices on what to do during bad days (some of which I abided, some I broke).
Here was my "the night before" plan for yesterday --
Wake around noon Morning routine, modafinil, etc. Write observations from yesterday on blog
1PM: Prepare questions I'm trying to learn and things I want to understand about the nonprofit space. Go through my email, reply call or write to everyone who responded, call people who were out of Beijing when introduced. Ask questions and/or invite to lunch next week.
I think that some might be surprised to hear how much I sleep and how important it is to me. I average right around eight hours per day (tracked for a few months), and prioritize sleep very strongly, even over most work.
Once ten pm comes around, I have four options for things I'm allowed to do: I can play violin, read a book, work, or sleep. Computer is off at midnight every day, at which point I usually read for an hour or two, and then go to sleep.
The other night I was tired at ten, but I was really excited about my work so I tried to push through and keep at it. I was stuck trying to fix something, but I managed to try five or ten solutions out before getting in bed. At the time, it felt like a good choice.
I woke up the next morning, took one look at the code, and spotted the solution instantly. Within five minutes it was fixed. Once is a fluke, but I've noticed this pattern over and over again with work when I'm tired-- it feels like I'm working, but often I'm just spinning my wheels.