Saturday, April 23, 2011

Productivity and health

I was watching a recent video upload from Tim Ferriss which you’ll find here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qwP74XpaFU

 

For those who haven’t heard of him he the author of the 4 Hour Work Week and the 4 Hour Body both I which I commend to people. Now Tim’s work certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but a lot of what he says really resonates with me.

 

One of the topics he deals with is the link between health and productivity. When Richard Branson was asked what one way he would recommend to lift productivity, his answer was simple – work out. Tim also mentions a great book (which I have also read) called “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” which demonstrates the link between improve brain function and physical activity.

 

All this got me to thinking. Some of the smartest and hardest working people I know are also the most unfit. Imagine what they could achieve if they could improve their fitness. So many of them pooh-pooh the idea regular physical activity citing time constrains and workloads, etc. My response to that is this is simply an excuse. How do I know? Well, I was in a similar boat for many years. Although I have always been physically active I did not differentiate between exercise for recreation and exercise for health. I do now.

 

As Tim notes, exercise for health does not necessarily mean absolutely killing yourself in the gym. It means setting some goals, developing a plan and measuring the results. As time progresses it is matter of finding out what is minimum amount of work that can be done for the maximum result. Simple efficiency if you will. Problem is that too many people don’t take the time to learn and understand their body and what works for them, they are lead by ‘popular opinion’. As Tim notes, popular opinion is wrong most of the time.

 

Even if you dislike Tim you should at least acknowledge the process he goes through to obtain results. He tests, and adjusts. Measures and adjusts. Learns and adjusts. In recent time this is exact what I have been doing for myself (more in later posts) and I can’t tell you the improvement that it has made for me.

 

There is no time like the present to make a change, and the secret to successful change is to make in small increments. However, just as importantly you need to MEASURE what you do so you can spot trends. Again, in the above video Tim responses to a question about what are the key characteristics of successful people. One of his observations is that they measure and record their results so they can spot trends.

 

Let me ask you, what are you doing?