Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

Keys to Productivity

We all want to get more out of each day. Everybody gets the same 24 hours, but what you do with that time is up to you. Over the last year I have learned much about time management and prioritizing, and I try to take a few minutes of the free time that I have each day to think about what I want out of life and what is important to me. I try to talk with and read books that are written by people who are a lot smarter than I am, in the hope that I can take away something useful to implement in my own life. There is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas; after all, what good is information if it isn't shared? While I am certainly no guru, and I view my life as a work in progress, through study and thought I have come across a few ideas that can be helpful for living a productive and meaningful life.

Learning mindset. There is always something new that can challenge you and stimulate your mind. The old saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it", is true. Some people retire from working and don't know what to do with themselves; for many, the daily challenge is gone and can be difficult to replace. I know lots of seniors that live very active lives, whether it's through travel, volunteering, taking courses online, or doing other projects that they put off while they were working. Crossword puzzles, tackling a difficult book, learning a new language, and other intellectual pursuits are great ways to keep your brain engaged. One Total Results client who started with us very recently is 85 years old, yet still runs multiple businesses, travels frequently, and participates regularly in ice dancing and fox hunting. I think that is incredibly inspiring.

Establish and cultivate relationships. It sounds almost corny to say, but everything good in life comes about through relationships. Some of them are small, such as with your mechanic or dry cleaner, and some of them are big, such as family and friends. No man or woman is an island, and isolation can trigger depression (the spike of which is one of the most shameful results of the Covid lockdowns). No matter how far you have come in life, you didn't get there all by yourself. We live in a very divided time, and surrounding yourself with like-minded people who genuinely care about your well-being is good for your mind and spirit.

Find meaning in your work. Not everyone is fortunate enough to do for a living something that they truly love and are passionate about, but that doesn't automatically have to make your work sheer drudgery. There is significance in simply completing a task to the best of your ability. Even if you dislike your job, you can take pride in knowing that you gave it everything you had and left nothing on the table. This can go for anything, including household chores. I don't particularly enjoy house cleaning, but I do get a feeling of satisfaction when the job is completed. Daily challenges come big and small, and anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Worry about what you can control. While it may seem so at times, the weight of the world is actually not on your shoulders. The ancient Stoic philosophers divided things into three categories: things you can control, things you have some control over, and things you have absolutely no control over. Focus on the things that are within your sphere of influence, such as your attitude, work ethic, and the things you value most. While the policies of the Federal Reserve definitely affect us, we have no control over them (nor does the government, for that matter). You can only solve your own problems, not those of the rest of the world, and undue stress, anxiety, and worry rarely make things better.

Exercise. Regular high intensity strength training is an essential requirement for life. Functional independence cannot be maintained without working to build strength, and metabolic as well as cardiovascular conditioning are achieved most efficiently through proper weight training. Without it, you will be more susceptible to developing osteoporosis (thinning of bones) and sarcopenia (loss of muscle). While a Total Results workout can't be classified as fun, it is something that we simply must do if we are to continue living a productive and healthy life. Find value in doing things that are demanding.

Leisure activities. Everyone needs diversion from the trials and turbulences of life. Recreation can take on many forms, such as going to a movie, pursuing a hobby, or playing a sport. These activities help you relax, decompress, and are good for your soul.

Take from this list what you will, and find what works for you. We all want to be better and get more out of life, and successful people share many of the same qualities and strategies. Take the time to celebrate your successes, but don't get complacent and never stop growing!

Posted June 10, 2022 by Matthew Romans