Victus Spiritus


When Eating and Exercise are Out of Balance, Productivity Plummets

31 Aug 2010

One of my professional goals is to extract every ounce of productivity from each day. Unfortunately, I've allowed my health and fitness to take a back seat to work. This is a common problem for tech folks who work long hours and have little time to balance exercise and diet. This post is a wake up call to myself and a friendly reminder to folks who become so focused on one goal that they ignore their health. When you're younger you may get away with ignoring your body. Now that I'm in my later thirties, I understand how and when my body and mind perform at peak efficiency, but have allowed my fitness to slip.

Keep Marching Forward, Each Step a Little Victory

My regular ten to fourteen mile morning walks have gotten a little tougher over the past year. I confess to adding significant extra padding, like a bear preparing for hibernation (30-40lbs). I skip breakfast during the week and eat a balanced lunch*. Long working days have lead to late dinners where I eat much more than I should. My wife's a fantastic cook and baker which further increases the challenge of eating light.

Fitness is critical to productivity

Good health acts as an amplifier on all other activities. Concentration, drive, and effort are all at peak performance when we are fit. On the other hand, being less fit is a tax on every action. Between diminished enthusiasm and lethargy the cost is severe. On top of those costs, as fitness declines we become more prone to injury. I submit my lower back as a painful example.

Life Hacking

Maintaining fitness requires discipline, yet I have little in reserve after 15 hour days. I can clearly see where my daily habits go non-linear, leaving me with an opportunity to hack my own habits. The point in the day where I'm slipping (8pm) and dinner are the beach head I'll target.

This week I'll eat dinner earlier whenever possible, and in the cases when I can't I'll guzzle a pint of water before eating to trigger an earlier feeling of satisfaction. Beyond that I'll squeeze in breakfast to shift my calorie consumption earlier and kick start my metabolism.

*= a healthy lunch for me consists of a small sandwich, carrots, snack bar & fruit