Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs

Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs

Ready to have a breakthrough in productivity? That’s what Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs is all about.

You can join the Facebook group here to be a part of the free program (the only thing I’m asking for in return is your feedback – comments, blurbs, testimonials, etc.). Upon requesting to join the group, you will be prompted with a few questions.

Each week, there will be a live stream and an assignment. I will be linking to all relevant posts below. Live streams occur Tuesday nights around 6:20 PM PST.

As I write this, we’re just getting started, but rest assured I will be updating this post as things progress.

The Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs Program

Week 1 Live Stream
Week 1 Assignment
Week 2 Live Stream
Week 2 Assignment
Week 3 Live Stream
Week 3 Assignment
Week 4 Live Stream
Week 4 Assignment
Week 5 Live Stream
Week 5 Assignment
Week 6 Live Stream
Week 6 Assignment
Week 7 Live Stream
Week 7 Assignment
Week 8 Live Stream
Week 8 Assignment

Exercise & Productivity

Exercise & Productivity

We all know we need to add some movement to our days if we hope to increase our energy levels, remain healthy long-term, and lose weight, if that’s something we aspire to.

If you already have an exercise regimen you keep to, congratulations, you may not need to make any immediate adjustments.

But most of us aren’t moving enough. Sitting has been called the new smoking, and with hybrid work becoming the new norm, there are more opportunities to spend long hours at a desk or in front of screens than ever before. Longer sitting times have been linked to lower productivity levels and mental well-being.

I don’t know if “lower” mental well-being is the right verbiage here, but it was the terminology used in the study cited. Either way, spending all day at a desk affects your mood negatively.

But how much exercise do we need, exactly? What’s the North Start to aim for?

Mayo Clinic says we require at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. And if you’re thinking about losing weight, 300 minutes per week is ideal.

Further, Mayo Clinic recommends strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice per week.

This exact routine may not be the ideal for everyone. What matters is we have a target to aim for. Adjusting from there, based on personal preferences and goals, is easy.

Sidebar – I have found that my best ideas come to me when I’m busy doing things other than work, including exercise, showering, driving, and most notably, reading. But I am often astounded at how working out will trigger one or two ideas that would make an immediate difference for whatever I’m working on at the time.

Famously, business magnate Steve Jobs thought he did his best thinking while walking, so he didn’t hold meetings in a board room. Meetings were held while walking with his staff. Most of my meetings are virtual, so I can’t generally walk around as they’re happening, but given the choice, I prefer Jobs’ approach.

Movement really does make a difference.

Burke Britton Financial Partners & Secure Life Financial Solutions corralled some key points around the connection between exercise and productivity based on research. Here’s what they found:

  • In one study, it was shown that workday exercise (meaning, participants exercised the same day they worked) improved time management and workload by 72%.
  • Low-intensity aerobic exercise does a better job of improving productivity than high-intensity exercise.
  • Workplaces that adopted a “sit less, move more” approach found that employees improved productivity loss and lost workday productivity (again, verbiage here is weird, but what they’re saying is when employees were encouraged to move more, they were more productive).

Okay, so exercise is good. But is it possible to do too much?

The general attitude is that you should push yourself as hard as you can because your body can take it.

Then why is that young people committed to healthy eating, rigorous exercise routines, and disciplined lifestyles sometimes spontaneously drop dead[1]?

I will let you come to your own conclusions, but there is more than enough evidence to suggest that it is possible to push yourself too hard, and that – as crazy as this sounds – being too fit can potentially reduce your lifespan.

Indiatimes published a research-backed article titled Too much exercise can shorten your life; here’s the ideal amount of exercise for a long life. Summarily, they found that excessive exercise can lead to joint and heart problems.

Here are several other key findings:

  • Higher volumes of sports training do result in a big drop in mortality risk. But these benefits regress when training for more than 4.5 hours per week.
  • Running for 60 minutes per day, five days per week for 10 to 12 years was linked to arterial stiffening and thickening.
  • Runners who run at a pace of at least seven miles per hour for four or more hours per week had mortality rates on par with sedentary adults.
  • Japanese Kabuki actors are known for their high-impact, vigorous movements. They were found to have shorter lifespans compared to other traditional art performers who lead sedentary lifestyles.

Moderation truly is the key to everything. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. It’s a toxin.

You need movement if you want to be more productive. But beware of pushing yourself too hard.

[1] Also see Mayo Clinic’s Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed.

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute health advice.

There’s more available in the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

Meditation & Productivity

Meditation & Productivity

“All successful entrepreneurs do this…”

No, they don’t. Don’t be hoodwinked by catchy headlines.

That said, many entrepreneurs do this. And by this, I mean meditation.

I’ve interviewed over 300 musicians, executives, entrepreneurs, and marketers, and have found this to be a surprising commonality among many. Admittedly, I didn’t have the opportunity to ask all of them about meditation.

But is there a cause-and-effect relationship between meditation and success?

Some people I’ve interviewed, like serial entrepreneur Andy Seth, seem to think so. But not necessarily in the way you might think. Meditation doesn’t magnetically and automagically attract to you everything you want. It may have benefits beyond what we can see with the eyes, but I don’t have enough evidence to suggest that it’s a miracle worker of any sort.

What’s important to know is that success in one’s endeavors, especially in business dealings, often requires level headedness. Decisions must be made in the face of trying, urgent circumstances. Meditation is known to calm the mind and make you less reactive to outside circumstances. Which is, admittedly, a superpower in business.

While there are different types of meditation out there – and it’s well worth experimenting until you find practices that work for you – I have found that almost all meditations have this in common, that they revolve around sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing or a mantra. Most practices also involve closing your eyes, but not all. Assuming your practice fits this definition, you can leave the finer details until after meditation has become ingrained habit.

My observation is that many people think they are supposed to have an awakening or transcendent spiritual experience after each meditation session. Sure, these things can and have happened. Just ask Dr. Joe Dispenza. For most, though, it’s a gradual process. Years and decades of meditation lead to compounding benefits. You can’t enjoy these benefits without first making it your practice.

So, unless your practice is spiritually focused, you are better off concentrating on the nuts and bolts of meditation than trying to work out the perfect practice to trigger a euphoric mental state or kundalini experience[1]. I know people who’ve had kundalini awakenings, and I believe I’ve come awful close myself. But as I understand it, it’s not something to mess with.

There is no such thing as a perfect routine. As with anything, it’s about what works for you. Some people meditate for five minutes multiple times throughout the day. Others meditate for 20 minutes at the start and end of their workday. If I get around to meditating 15 to 20 minutes once per day, I consider it a win.

More to the point, meditation boasts dozens if not hundreds of benefits.

Mayo Clinic says meditation can:

  • Increase self-awareness.
  • Help you gain a new perspective on stressful situations.
  • Build skills to manage your stress.
  • Help you focus on the present.
  • Reduce negative emotions.
  • Increase imagination and creativity.
  • Increase patience and tolerance.
  • Lower resting heart rate.
  • Lower resting blood pressure.
  • Improve sleep quality.
  • Help you manage symptoms of a variety of conditions, including sleep problems, anxiety, depression, heart disease, and more.

Mayo Clinic obviously aren’t believers in magic, and neither am I, but let me emphasize – I know for a fact that meditation can offer so much more.

So, what’s the connection between meditation and productivity (you almost thought I was going to skate on by the topic entirely, didn’t you)?

Headspace (a popular meditation app) sums it up nicely in an article titled Meditation for Productivity:

  • Meditation can improve cognitive and emotional processing, working memory, and skilled decision making.
  • Meditation can declutter your thoughts and sharpen your concentration, which can help you stay on task for longer.
  • Meditation reduces stress, which prevents us from performing at our best.
  • Meditation results in a calm and serene state that’s conducive to focus.

Try it for yourself and see what happens.

[1] A powerful spiritual experience avid meditation practitioners and yogis generally spend years preparing for. Well understood in spiritual circles, lesser known to the Western world.

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute health advice.

There’s more available in the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

Sleep & Productivity

Sleep & Productivity

Conventional wisdom says you need seven to eight hours of sleep per night to feel fully rested.

While I think this is a good place to start, it’s like saying working eight hours per day will make you wealthy. If you have a job, freelancing contracts, or a business lined up, you will make an income working eight hours per day. But the mere act of working a certain number of hours does not guarantee wealth. If it did, we would all be wealthy.

Similarly, sleeping a certain number of hours per night does not guarantee health and optimum performance. If it did, we would all be healthy.

Exploding Topics says, on a global scale, people are spending an average of nearly seven hours at a screen per day.

Let’s keep in mind – this is separate from work. Seven hours per day are spent streaming TV, playing video games, or surfing social media.

If you can afford to be entertained seven hours per day, then you may only need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. It’s a different story entirely if you’re reading this article. You don’t spend seven hours per day on entertainment. You may have, at most, one to three hours at the end of the day to spend as you please.

This may sound controversial, but I am only repeating what was a known quantity to motivational speaker and author Earl Nightingale and marketing expert Dan Kennedy. 95% of people are clueless in almost every facet of life, most of all when it comes to money.

This context is crucial when examining something as broadly applicable as productivity, and in this case, sleep. If you do what everyone else is doing, you will get the same results they got. This can be a rather harrowing realization if you find yourself following the clueless. It’s like the blind leading the blind.

There’s a saying that’s often repeated in network marketing business circles, and that is “98% of people will be dead or broke by 65.” As it turns out, there is plenty of evidence to support this claim.

If you want different results, you must take different actions.

Does this mean we should sleep less? One of my personal heroes, Gene Simmons, says he despises sleep. Co-founder of Quest Nutrition and Impact Theory Tom Bilyeu says he works 18 hours per day. Everywhere we turn, we can find examples of entrepreneurs and marketers boasting about their around the clock hustle. Gary Vaynerchuk. Grant Cardone. Dan Peña.

Maybe it really does work for them. But for most people, adopting the habits of the exceptional would be akin to buying a one-way, express ticket to the hospital.

The effects of sleep deficiency and depravation are well known. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says a lack of sleep can lead to:

  • Depression.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Heart disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Stroke.
  • And more.

You do not perform at your best when you aren’t sleeping enough. You will find it harder to think clearly or react quickly. Your mood will be impacted, and you may find yourself more irritable as well.

To be more productive, you must prioritize sleep. Generally, you need more sleep than you think you do. Your level of performance and happiness will be affected greatly by your sleep schedule.

Just like me, you may have heard people say:

“Feeling tired after 10 hours of sleep? You must be sleeping too much.”

Ridiculous. You needed that 10-hour binge, and you probably need several more nights if not several more weeks of the same, especially if you’re still feeling tired. says getting enough sleep can help you:

  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get sick less often.
  • Reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • Get along better with people.
  • Make better decisions (including avoiding car accidents).
  • Lower your risk for serious health problems (like diabetes and heart disease).

Sleep is restorative. It’s healing. It’s what keeps you healthy and young.

Importantly, sleep is the top difference maker in productivity. Prioritize sleep, allocate more time to sleep, practice better sleep hygiene, and you will see your performance transform. Everything you layer on top in terms of productivity practices will work with greater efficacy when you’re getting sufficient sleep.

Conversely, if you do not prioritize sleep, you will see your performance suffer.

I can’t tell you how much to sleep. You must listen to your own body. Use seven to eight hours as a starting point. If you don’t feel fully rested, try sleeping for longer. Set yourself up for success by sleeping in a dark, quiet, cool room and try sleep masks, earplugs, fans (white noise), meditation apps, and natural supplements like Somno-Pro as well. But don’t overcomplicate it.

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute health advice.

There’s more available in the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

Finding a Lasting Solution

Finding a Lasting Solution

If you’re going to talk about a problem, the responsible thing to do is to bring a solution to the table.

Throughout human history, we’ve succeeded at replacing or augmenting old technologies, not by rehashing the problem, but by focusing on the solution.

Horse buggies were replaced by cars, which are more efficient at taking us from one place to another. A power grid that was predominantly reliant on coal power was augmented by nuclear, wind, hydro, and solar power solutions. These are not perfect solutions, but modern society as we know it would not exist without them.

Today, we seem to be going about it all backwards. “We need to replace plastic,” we say. But we don’t have any meaningful solutions. We say, “let’s use paper instead.” But paper is only marginally more replenishable than plastic, and we’re repeatedly hearing issues of rainforests going extinct.

We end up wasting precious energy creating new solutions when energy is apparently already a concern. New solutions often come with enormous costs that end up negating their much-touted benefits.

You can’t just stop doing something because it was deemed bad. You need a workable replacement and a strategy for implementation. Ironically, replacements always come with their own issues too. It’s never “the best.” It’s always “the best we have right now.”

What problems are you seeing? Have you identified a meaningful solution? Do you have an implementation strategy? Are you too quick to throw out the best you have right now to expend energy you don’t have creating new solutions that may have their own drawbacks?