From 90-hour work week to rising before dawn, author experiments with productivity

TORONTO -- Is there one sure-fire strategy to maximize your time and energy in a given day?

Chris Bailey was so determined to find out that he turned down two lucrative job offers and devoted a year of his life to a quest for the holy grail of productivity.

See Full Article

In addition to his research and interviews with leading experts, the business school graduate used himself as the test subject in a series of experiments.

Bailey lived in isolation for 10 days, worked 90-hour weeks and gained 10 pounds of muscle mass.

He documented the experiments on his blog and then compiled the upsides and pitfalls of his pursuits in the book "The Productivity Project" (Random House Canada).

Bailey said there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for increased productivity. He learned that firsthand when the habitually late riser forced himself to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for three months.

"It didn't work for me, and I accomplished less in that experiment than I would have otherwise," Bailey said during a recent interview in Toronto.

"I had to go to bed when I had the most energy, when I was the most productive -- because I don't view productivity as how much we produce, I view productivity as how much we accomplish. The best way I found to do that while doing my project was by managing our time, our attention and our energy."

Bailey also tried drinking only water for an entire month and found he had more energy than he had in years.

While he still drinks caffeine and said it can offer productivity benefits, he added that people should be smarter about their consumption habits and not continuously rely on the stimulant.

"Being able to find that energy boost whenever you need it, when you have something important you're working on ... is something huge that you can do."

Bailey writes in his book about the benefits of assessing your Biological Prime Time (BPT) for performing one's highest-impact tasks.

"It's during your peak energy hours that you're able to bring more to whatever it is that you're doing, so that you can spend your energy wisely, in addition to spending your time wisely if you have the flexibility to do so."

A strategy Bailey has maintained is to unplug from digital devices from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. He also suggested shrinking "support tasks" that can consume considerable time, like answering emails.

"If you check them every hour -- even for 12 hours -- over the course of the day, that's still 12 times a day and more than enough time to keep on top of everything that you have to do."

Bailey said among the best tactics for him were those that allowed him to work "more deliberately and with intention."

"When we have more work to do than the time to do it in, it becomes crucial that we take that step back to figure out what's important," he said.

"When you only work on auto-pilot in response to whatever tasks get sent your way ... other people have control over your work."

Another of his favoured approaches is "the rule of three"-- looking ahead to the end of the day to determine which three things you'd like to accomplish.

"On days where you have a ton of meetings, maybe those meetings are what you intend to accomplish -- or maybe they limit what you intend to accomplish.

"Just taking that step back is something huge someone can do for their productivity."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Billy Bee and Doyon honey sold in Canada to be made in Canada, too

    Economic CBC News
    The company that owns the Billy Bee and Doyon honey brands says it will start using only Canadian honey for both products in Canada this year. McCormick & Co. says Billy Bee and Doyon products containing all-Canadian honey will start appearing on store shelves in June, while the Billy Bee organic variety will arrive before the end of the year. Source
  • Trump plans to slash U.S. corporate tax rate to 15%

    Economic CBC News
    President Donald Trump plans to stick with his campaign pledge to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent, but the dramatic cut raises a problematic question for the White House: How can the president deliver the "massive" tax cut he promised without also blowing a massive hole in the budget? Source
  • Reducing debt among Barrick Gold's priorities: president

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Barrick Gold says it will focus on maximizing its free cash flow, reducing debt and maintaining investment discipline in the year ahead. Company president Kelvin Dushnisky told Barrick's annual meeting Tuesday that the gold mining giant will also work on transforming its business to better use technology. Source
  • Billy Bee and Doyon honey brands shifts to all-Canadian honey in Canada

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The company that owns the Billy Bee and Doyon honey brands says it will start using only Canadian honey for both products in Canada this year. McCormick & Co. says Billy Bee and Doyon products containing all-Canadian honey will start appearing on store shelves in June, while the Billy Bee organic variety will arrive before the end of the year. Source
  • Wells Fargo board re-elected as management faces protests

    Economic CBC News
    Wells Fargo & Co.'s annual meeting turned raucous when it was repeatedly interrupted by angry shareholders on Tuesday as the bank's chairman and chief executive tried to calm nerves ahead of a vote that could oust the majority of its board. Source
  • Wells Fargo shareholders disrupt meeting as fate of board members awaited

    Economic CBC News
    Wells Fargo & Co.'s annual meeting turned raucous when it was repeatedly interrupted by angry shareholders on Tuesday as the bank's chairman and chief executive tried to calm nerves ahead of a vote that could oust the majority of its board. Source
  • New Ontario rent control rules may prompt some condo owners to sell: report

    Economic CBC News
    New rent control measures unveiled last week by the Ontario government could wind up pushing some small investors out of the condominium market, according to a new report. Urbanation, a research and consulting firm specializing in the Toronto condominium market, said the imposition of rent control by the government on recently built units is the "single biggest and potentially most harmful change" introduced in the government's plan. Source
  • Loonie takes a hit but shares of most lumber companies rise after duties

    Economic CTV News
    Canada-U.S. relationship bigger, more important than any one 'irritant,' says PM U.S. President Trump takes first swing in lumber war Source
  • Trump's tax plan could face a budget deficit challenge

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump plans to stick with his campaign pledge to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent, but the dramatic cut raises a problematic question for the White House: How can the president deliver the "massive" tax cut he promised without also blowing a massive hole in the budget? Source
  • Eurozone deficit down to lowest level since early 2008

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Following years of strict budget restraint, particularly in Greece, the level of government borrowing across the 19-country eurozone has fallen to its lowest level since before the most acute phase of the global financial crisis, official figures showed Tuesday. Source