When we’re thinking about productivity, the first thing that comes to our minds is work. From that context, being productive 24 / 7 / 365 is impossible.
If we define productivity as making the most of our lives, then 24 / 7 / 365 productivity is possible. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely within our reach.
The 24 / 7 / 365 productivity goal might look like an unreachable pinnacle for you. In reality, it’s a meaningful target.
Inversion is a useful method to approach a goal like 24 / 7 / 365 productivity. The first step is to ask yourself the following question.
What keeps me from reaching 24 / 7 / 365 productivity?
When we find the answers to that question, all we have to do is to eliminate those obstacles between us and our goal. Now, take a moment, and answer that question.
I expect most people to mention sleep as one of the obstacles to 24 / 7 / 365 productivity. I disagree. Sleep is one of the essentials of our lives. How productive can you be without sufficient quality sleep?
If you want to maximize your productivity, you don’t have to minimize your sleep. On the contrary, you need to optimize it. You need to make sure that you get sufficient quality sleep every day. That’s one of the pillars of high performance.
Time Spent with Family
Time spent with family doesn’t count as an obstacle to maximum productivity either. Remember, how we defined productivity? It’s making the most of your life.
If your family is higher than your work on your priorities list, time spent with your family isn’t an obstacle to productivity. On the contrary, just like sufficient quality sleep, you need to optimize your days for quality time with your family.
Watching TV, scrolling social media feeds, and drinking alcohol don’t qualify for quality time with family.
Vacation and Recreation
Would you consider vacation and recreation as an obstacle to productivity? Absolutely not. Just like quality sleep and family time, vacation and recreation charge our batteries so that we become even more productive when we’re back to work.
Now, we’re approaching the real obstacles to our 24 / 7 / 365 productivity goal. What are your distractions? How much time do you waste on distractions on a given day?
We usually underestimate the time we spend on our distractions because they are a few minutes here and there. This is what I call the fallacy of minimum marginal costs. The problem is that those minutes add up to hours on a given day.
A few hours a day add up to weeks in a year, to months in a decade, and to years in a lifetime. Do you really want to lose years of your life to distraction?
Worse than that, every time you give in to distraction, you lose your focus. It takes another quarter of an hour to concentrate again. Sometimes, it’s much better to do nothing at all than to give in to distraction.
You might think that alcohol relaxes you in the evening and coffee fires you up in the morning, but what are the long-term effects of those habits on your energy levels?
Caffeine might give you an energy peak when you consume it, but excessive consumption can definitely wear you out and leave you lethargic. How does that affect your productivity?
I’m not going into other substances here. You can reflect on their effects on your productivity if you consume them regularly.
Unhealthy Diet and Lack of Physical Exercise
Maybe, you skip preparing healthy food and exercising to save some time. Have you considered the effects of those dietary and lifestyle choices on your energy levels, and as a result on your productivity?
You don’t need to eliminate all the obstacles to your productivity overnight. You can gradually reduce them using the 1% method. That is aiming for 1% daily improvements.
24 / 7 / 365 productivity comes down to resource allocation, and your most valuable resources are your time, attention, and energy.
You might consider 24 / 7 / 365 productivity an impossible goal to achieve. You might think that sleep, time spent with your family, vacation, and recreation are obstacles to achieve that goal. However, they don’t keep you from maximizing your performance. Those are ingredients of a healthy, prosperous lifestyle.
What keeps you from achieving 24 / 7 / 365 productivity is your distractions, substances like alcohol and caffeine, your unhealthy diet, and your lack of physical exercise. They hurt your productivity by wasting your time, disrupting your attention, and lowering your energy.
What keeps you from reaching 24 / 7 / 365 productivity? How can you eliminate those obstacles from your lifestyle?
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my latest posts.