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10 Small Changes to Your Daily Routine That Will 10x Your Productivity

© Getty Images   Green alarm clock with bells on blue and pink background, top view with copy spa

From Inc. 

Having a routine is critical.

Answer by Neil Pasricha, NY Times Bestselling Author of "The Happiness Equation" & "The Book of Awesome". 

Here are ten things I do:

  • Have a morning "wake up" routine. For me I spend two minutes writing out three prompts (I will let go of..., I am grateful for..., I will focus on...). I wrote a large Quora Session reply on this w/ details on the research / science underpinning each prompt right here.
  • Go to the gym 3x a week. I find that each time I lift heavy weights at the gym I buy myself about 48 hours where I don't really feel stress. So even just half an hour at the gym every other day is like a pill towards feeling good and better about everything. I like workouts such as Push/Pull/Legs and 5x5.
  • Split income into 'Give', 'Save', and 'Spend' jars. I got this idea as a method for giving kids allowance from the book The Opposite of Spoiled but also find it a helpful mental model for myself. It is a simple system that prevents constant financial analysis. Just discuss and set the %'s that work for you ... and you're done.
  • Walk 5k a day. I do all phone meetings while walking and it adds up. In addition to good health and connecting with my community I find I keep walking after the meetings and it drives my most creative ideas. For more on this, check out the essays "Walking" by Henry David Thoreau or "Why I Do All This Walking" by Nassim Taleb. (note: Taleb essay goes to Scribd, but essay is in back of paperback version of The Black Swan)
  • Take 1 UNTOUCHABLE day per week. This is a day where I am literally unreachable, by anyone, in any way, including over the Internet, all day. My productivity is about 10x up on these days. I write about benefits and research behind this, and why we should all do it, why we all have to do it I feel, in my book on mental resilience You Are Awesome.
  • "Wear one suit." It's a principle. I wear a black suit jacket, white dress shirt, dark blue jeans, pink socks, Nike epic react running shoes, and my bright yellow Charlie Brown watch ... to every single speech and media interview I do. This year I'm giving about 75 speeches and doing around 100 (televised or filmed) media spots and I never think about what to wear for any of them. I just buy multiples of the same running shoes, shirts, socks, etc. I follow the same principle w/ my breakfast. "Drink one shake." Have been drinking essentially the same shake for over a dozen years. What's in it? Water, ice, turmeric, cinnamon, powdered greens, powdered protein, chia, hemp, frozen fruit, frozen greens, nut butter, avocado, and yogurt.
  • "Write first." Another principle. Writing takes more of my mind and energy than any other work I do so I begin my day with my writing so it is done. Sometimes I write for a few hours. Sometimes ten minutes. But it's always at the beginning of the day.
  • Hide your cell phone. Everyone talks about intermittent fasting ... with food. We should be talking about intermittent fasting ... with phones. We are addicted. And our phones are becoming very dangerous. On Friday nights I give my cell phone to my wife and say "Hide this until Monday morning." It doesn't always work but I generally go a day or two. I do this many evenings as well.
  • Have a nighttime "wind down" routine. For me, I have no screens, no technology in the bedroom, have a shower, brush my teeth with my wife, and read fiction before bed.

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