Productivity Hack: Get to work!
Each year I have my “word” for the year. It’s a word that I fall back on & repeat to myself whenever I’m having a bad day or when I need to remind myself of what I committed to – and my “why”.
2019’s word was “relentless”. This was my 2019 vibe. This word might sound like “motivational hyperbole” to most, but it has depths of meaning to me.
Early in 2019 I quit my job to run my own business full time, so the pressure - to turn my side hustle into my full source of income - suddenly became more real, and I knew I just need to focus RELENTLESSLY on growth, get back to the basics of doing what I am damn good at and stay focused on the things that mattered most.
I literally became relentless with chasing my goals.
The interesting thing I learned is that the best productivity hack is really just: DO THE WORK.
I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking I need ALL the gadgets. I am addicted to automation and software, obsessed with efficiency and I LOVE all the cool tech. I want my surroundings to be ideal. I want my office to be a beautiful sanctuary for me (working on that this year haha).
BUT the truth: You don’t need everything to be perfect. You just need to take action. .
Repeat that with me.
You 👏🏼 Just 👏🏼 Need 👏🏼 To 👏🏼 Take 👏🏼 Action.
That’s when magic will happen.
The good shit comes AFTER the action.
And because I learnt this, now when I am making excuses i.e. “I can’t focus because the house is a mess” or “I need to get a better camera before I can film those videos” etc. I quickly catch myself doing it, call myself out & say to myself “Are you hearing this? It’s just excuses. Stop being a little bitch & get to work”.
It works every time.
Sometimes I just need a few minutes to feel sorry for myself, but I no longer play the victim or believe my own bullshit.
Too much variety in training can stall your progress, and not enough can can potentially lead to spinning your wheels (and can cause boredom). But variety should be programmed for a reason, otherwise it's just "junk training".
Keep in mind that variation doesn’t mean doing something different every single day.
It can just mean including small differences in your exercises (using a variety of rep ranges, changing up the angle, the order of the exercises, the rest breaks, tempo etc)
Newbies to lifting/training don’t need much variation because everything they’re doing is new & they will be able to progress from any stimulus really. I think it’s important for newbies to repeat movements often as they need to prioritise skill acquisition & habit formation (the brain plays a big role in getting stronger/better) -- which means that too much variation is not ideal – but at the same time including different accessory exercises/new things puts the “fun” aspect into training & helps prevents boredom.
As your training level advances, the need for variation increases in order to provide sufficient novelty in the training stimulus to generate further adaptations. And (very important) to prevent overuse injuries.
If you are someone who is just trying to improve your strength/fitness, quality of life &/or look like a boss, you should not be getting overuse injuries from training. If you are, it’s a good sign that you aren’t training properly.
It can be tricky to get the balance right & there are many layers to this as well. For example, you may have plenty of outward “variety” in your training and still get overuse injuries because you aren’t putting the variety in the right places.
True life example: CrossFit movements tend to favour the Sagittal plane of motion, so while CrossFit gives you plenty of outward “variety” it may not be giving you the variety you need. Simply incorporating more frontal/coronal (side to side movement) & traverse (twisting and turning) movement should add in the right type of variety in a case like this.
Remember, variety needs to be programmed for a reason (otherwise it’s just “junk training).
In general the main reason we want to vary the training stimulus is to maximize progress, avoid plateaus & injuries while adding in enjoyment of training, with minimal interruption to training momentum & progress.
Whether you like where you are in life or you hate where you are, 100% ownership will set you free.
No one else is responsible for our happiness, for our results, for providing us with a sense of meaning in life, for our wellbeing—except ourselves. It’s on us to put in the work – mentally, emotionally and physically to live the life we want.
When we give up thinking anyone else is responsible for our happiness or results, when we give up ALL the excuses – when we’re willing to take full ownership for our actions, then, finally, we’re free.
I often tell this to my clients who are struggling to get results:
You want it to be your fault. You want it to be your fault that you aren’t making progress or hitting your goals.
Because if it’s your fault you can fix it.
If it’s not your fault...well that really starts to complicate things a bit more.
If it’s your fault and you are stuffing things up, maybe you're sabotaging yourself, maybe you're not taking the right actions, or being consistent enough - then fixing it is easy – once you accept that you are in control.
It puts the power back in your own hands, and there’s nothing more empowering than knowing you have the ability to get results
There's nothing holding us back except the bullshit excuses we keep telling ourselves.
When you own everything about who you are and what you do—the good, the bad and the ugly—you’re the one who gets to control the narrative of your life.
Stop exciting 100% perfection. We aren't robots. Aim for incremental changes, track your progress week by week, and you'll be surprised how quickly the little 1 & 2 %'s improvements add up.
This is one reason why I love tracking processes so much and I get my clients to track their weekly processes! I’ll give you an example:
Let’s say you want to stop drinking wine every night. You keep trying to quit, and you successfully stopped for a few nights but then you slip up one night & have a couple glasses of wine. You immediately think to yourself, “What’s the point. I can’t do it. I failed and did it again so I might as well stop trying”. That all or nothing attitude is what’s keeping you stuck.
You end up continuously having to reset all the progress you have been making because you are expecting perfection instead of expecting improvement.
If you were to track your progress week by week and you saw the data of your improvements you would realize just how much better you are doing. (For example maybe your improvements will look like this: 2 weeks ago I had wine 5/7 nights a week. Last week I had wine 4/7 nights a week. This week I drank wine only 2/7 nights a week. That’s pretty good progress if you ask me. You can also see the macro progress over months when you have enough data.)
You’ll realise that even though you may not have completely quit the behavior or built a new habit, you are getting better each week. And even though your brain likes to lie to you and tell you all kinds of negative things about yourself – the data doesn’t lie.
If you are failing LESS than before -- you are IMPROVING. And keeping track of your progress will prove this to you, which will motivate you to keep going. Finally, understand that progress will not be linear, mistakes will happen, and that you just need to keep going – because you can’t fail as long as you keep going!
You can care about the quality AND the quantity of your food choices. In fact, I highly recommend combining these two things to get great results.
You’ll often hear people “assume” that those who count their macros or calories are doing it so they can fit all the “bad” foods in – which couldn’t be more wrong in most cases. And I am here to smash that stereotype.
Let’s be honest, most people who track their macros and calories are actually more invested in good nutrition than your average person who “eats intuitively” (more on that in a later post).
The whole point of tracking is to know what you are eating and balance your macronutrients. This plays a role in hormone health, in muscle building, in improved performance AND in improved body composition. And those doing it are usually trying to reach a body composition, health or performance goal.
You could say they take their nutrition pretty seriously.
I am sure *some* people abuse the whole idea of tracking macros but honestly that accusation has gotten old. For most, I would say eating junk food every day is pretty far down on their priority list if they are the type of person to spend time meticulously tracking their food intake.
The other criticism you’ll often hear is that tracking is “so obsessive”.
But again - just blanket, ignorant assumptions being made here with no context. Conscientiousness doesn't have to be neurotic.
Like anything, I realise there are exceptions to the rule, but don’t knock till you try it. Stay open-minded. Don’t put labels on people. And don’t judge something just because you don’t fully understand it.
Join the other 10,000+ who get my best fitness, diet & mindset tips.