This week’s article puts the technical stuff on the back burner. I’ve had a number of different thoughts on the topic of productivity and I’ve decided to break it up into parts.
I sort of debated if this was well suited for my blog or not and then last week I saw an article on Pro Tools Expert discussing the studio lifestyle and it’s impacts on your health. This year I made a real effort to change some things in my life and I decided maybe it would be beneficial to share the changes and some results.
Before I start, here’s the disclaimer - I’m just sharing personal experience as an example. I’m not recommending a particular regimen that I think everyone should follow. With that out of the way, here’s where I’m at:
The changes I’m working on here I feel have been the most impactful in more ways than I actually anticipated. About two months ago I decided to get my first gym membership. I don’t exercise and never really have so the whole idea of it was pretty far outside my comfort zone.
The catalyst for making this decision was that I generally just didn’t feel great. I had a lot of tension headaches and upper back/neck issues. At a recent dr. visit they also raised some concerns about my blood pressure. Nothing crazy but more like “Hey.. this isn’t heading in the best direction”. It wasn’t uncommon that I would be taking Advil a couple times per day - which isn’t great for you.
Finding the gym wasn’t hard. A huge new gym just opened up about two miles from my house, open 24 hours. I’m not a morning person so I generally end up going around 9:30PM 3-4 nights a week. I did a little research and decided to stick to the rowing machine for 45 minutes per session. It’s really good cardio and a full body workout. It’s also something straightforward and simple. Eventually I’ll branch out and do more, but I wanted to develop a habit of going to the gym without feeling overwhelmed by all the options.
Going from never working out to 3-4 times a week seems a bit intense but I figured out a reward system that works perfectly for me. The gym I go to has a sauna, steam room and pool. After my workout I head down there and indulge in some serious relaxation. Nobody else is usually even there.
I incorporated some things into my gym going habits to improve my mental state too. When I began I decided that I would use it as a time to meditate and unplug. I don’t listen to music, and I leave my phone in the car. Instead I focus on making it a time to think or work through something that might be bothering me. The same is true after when I spend 30 minutes or so in the pool/spa area.
I worked to make going to the gym feel like a balanced experience. Yeah the physical activity isn’t necessarily fun at first but it does get easier the more you try. Getting into the sauna and pool afterward is truly relaxing and an awesome reward. When I get home for the night I feel great.
Two months later, my tension headaches have disappeared pretty much entirely. I also sleep incredibly well on the nights I go to the gym. I wouldn’t say I had high stress before but I have noticed a pretty significant change here also.
Up until this point maybe you’re wondering what does all this really have to do with productivity? To be honest I didn’t even consider before I started that this would increase my productivity. I just wanted to feel better than what I’d come to accept.
The discipline of just doing it is a huge factor. No matter what, committing to going 3-4 times per week. Doing the physical activity even though you may dread it. I’ve been much more objective in my work as of late and much more willing to take on things I might have put on the back burner. One specific example being my blog articles here. I do attribute this in part to adding this new discipline to my routine.
The other part is that I do simply feel a lot better. I have more energy, my sleep quality is higher and I just find it easier to focus during the day. I also have to say I’ve felt much more creative or more in the mood to create. Perhaps my general mood overall is just improved.
Two months is not a long time and I’m honestly surprised I feel this strongly so early in to a new routine. I really wanted to share this because physical and mental fitness is something that does get put off for a number of reasons. It’s not revolutionary but I want to say that the benefits are real. and they are perhaps underestimated in our industry and others like it.