Be a more productive freelancer through a healthy lifestyle

In its simplest form, good health is just a collection of all the decisions you make throughout the day.

Sleeping or more coffee?
Doughnut or pressed juice?
Hiking or Netflix marathon?

You get the idea.

Now it goes without saying that I am not a sleep therapist, personal trainer, nutritionist, or doctor. So why should you listen to me? I'm writing this article as a place to collect all of the knowledge that I have picked up from countless podcasts, blogs, books, and videos on how a healthy lifestyle can directly impact one's productivity. I hope that you get much value from this article, as we at focus booster believe that productivity is more than just completing pomodoro sessions. To us, productivity is about making sure you can get your work done in the most efficient manner possible AND still have abundant energy to enjoy the rest of your life to the fullest.

So let's get started. Here is your guide to living a healthier and more productive lifestyle as a freelancer.

Know thyself

One of the key steps to becoming more productive is deciding if you will follow your body's natural productive rhythm or not. This one decision will have the most impact on your health and productivity. As a freelancer, you have the luxury to choose to work around your body's natural productive rhythm, so I highly recommend you take advantage of it. Take note of what your current schedule is and jot down when you feel like you have the most energy or are most productive naturally. Using this data, set up a new schedule that places your most important tasks within the times of highest natural productivity.

But first...

A healthier lifestyle starts with deciding when you will have your last cup of coffee in reference to your bedtime. Your last cup will depend on your body's tolerance to the type of caffeine you regularly take. For myself, I don't drink any more coffee if I'm eight or fewer hours away from bedtime. Another key element is making sure you have some sort of routine for going to bed. Just how certain working environments can tell your brain it's time to get work done, a nighttime routine can tell your brain it's time to start winding things down for a good night's rest.

SaaS (Sleep as a Service)

Now that you have your night time routine in place thanks to our friends at Vox, it's time to take it to the next level and get work done while sleeping. Josh Waitskin author of The Art of Learning, world-class martial arts champion, and international chess master has perfected his sleep work technique. Every night before going to bed he gives his subconscious an idea, task, problem, etc, to mull over during sleep. The next morning when he awakes instead of turning his attention to his Twitter or Facebook feed. He immediately journals and is able to tap into all of the solutions/ideas his brain has come up with during sleep. Our brains of course naturally do this because REM sleep is a perfect time for the brain to solidify the new neural networks that were made throughout the day. It's within these neural pathways that we find our eureka moments, insights, and next big ideas. All we are really doing here is just writing these insights down as soon as we rise.

Master Your Mornings

Waking upright is one of the most beneficial things you can do to set yourself up for a great day. As a freelancer, the most crucial reason for a morning routine is its ability to mark the beginning of the workday. Therefore it is more important to establish any sort of morning routine than to focus too much on what you should include in the routine itself. For reference, here is what I have chosen to include in mine, feel free to use it as a building block for your own.

Roughly about 8 hours after I have fallen asleep my Philips Sunrise Wakeup alarm is shining bright and there is a soothing oceanside soundscape bringing me back to consciousness. I immediately gulp down 1 whole water bottle to replenish the surprising amount of fluids I have lost during sleep. I then go into my morning journaling session, which is followed by a 5-minute floor mediation. After a morning run on an empty stomach and a cold shower, I'm ready for the last step of my morning routine which is breakfast. In part 2 of this post, we will go over nutrition, exercise, work ergonomics, and the best way to implement all of these tips.

Written in 12 Pomodoro sessions in San Francisco, California.