My Secret Productivity Weapon Against a Roller-Coaster Day

by Amy Anderson
Managing Editor

Okay, so the fact that I scribbled the letter “B” on the back of my hand to remind myself to write this blog entry today should tell you just how much I need productivity strategies. I have a friend who jokes that my mind is like a steel sieve. That’s not a compliment.

At any given moment I have twenty lists, conversations, plans, and ideas swimming around in my head. I am an incredibly busy person, and I work some roller-coaster days here at the magazine. I like it that way. I like the energy of it all.

But when I’m sitting down, ready to tackle my to-do list, I have one super-secret productivity weapon that I’m going to share with you. And you’re not going to like it.

It’s called wellness.

Yep, this is about to turn into one of those blogs–the ones that make you squirm and feel defensive or guilty about all the things you know you could be doing to live a healthier, more productive life, but for whatever “reason” you’re not?

So if I haven’t lost you yet, let me say one thing first: I did not change everything at once, and I think anyone who tries is a little off their nut.

Let me give you an example.

I used to sit at my desk and drink soda after soda after soda. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I was popping open a can at 8 a.m. But back in 2004, I started feeling jittery during the day; my moods were all over the place; and by 3 p.m. I could barely keep my eyes open, no matter how much sleep I’d had the night before. And yes, one day I made the connection.

So the next morning, I stopped on the way to work and bought a smoothie. A big one, with fruit and lots of sugar and some extra ginseng or some such, convinced that by 9 a.m. I’d be jonesing for my morning can of soda.

But it didn’t happen. In fact, I made it until lunch.

The next day, I did it again.

And by the end of the following week, I realized that I didn’t feel like having a soda at all. Not only that, but my energy level around 3 p.m. was higher, and I felt more even, more level-headed, not so moody.

I had officially kicked caffeine. It’s been six years now, and I wouldn’t say that an ice-cold soda doesn’t sound good now and then, but I haven’t gone back.

Eventually, I replaced that sugary smoothie with an all-natural one. I started exercising, thanks to the encouragement of my husband, who has always been athletic. Today, I run six to seven days a week, avoid processed sugar and fried foods, get as much sleep as I can, and I feel like a different person. I get more done in one day than I could do in two before I made these changes.

Sure, I could buy a caffeinated drink and give myself a shot of hyperactivity. But what I’m after isn’t a quick fix. I want it all, achievement and peace of mind. I get them by deploying my secret productivity weapon: I stay well.

How well are you? Why are you ignoring that little tickle in your gut that says you’re worth the effort? Just start with one thing. One thing. Replace one bad habit today with one good habit, and see how well you can feel. And how much you can get done.

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