From May 1st, 2013 until this past May 1st, 2014, Chris Bailey turned down jobs to devote his life to conducting productivity experiments on himself. Here’s some of the top 10 things he learned from a year devoted to being the most productive person possible:

8. Always question blanket productivity advice: There are some pieces of advice that work well for most people—eating well, getting enough sleep, exercise, and meditation included—but there are also exceptions to every rule. It’s okay to buck conventional wisdom if something else works better for you. Find you get more done when you don’t wake up at 5:30 every morning? Then sleep in! Find you get more done when you don’t do your most important task first thing in the morning, and instead answer a bunch of emails? Then answer your email!

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4. Working too hard or too much shatters your productivity: As a productivity experiment I worked 90-hour weeks for a month, alternating between working 90 hours one week and then 20 hours the next. I actually found that I got about as much work done in both my 90-hour and 20-hour weeks, for a simple reason: when I limited how much time I spent on a task, I forced myself to exert more energy over less time so I could get the task done in what limited time I had. When I threw more time at my work in my longer weeks, I tended to procrastinate more, work on lower-leverage activities, and waste more time.

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Check out the rest of his top 10, and a whole year’s worth of insights, here.

  • Jake Jorgovan

    “The best way to feel motivate is to know why you want to get something done.” – This is a great piece of advice and reminds me of Todd Henry’s book, Die Empty.

    He talks about pursuing your passion as pursuing the ‘why’ of your work. While every moment may not be an enjoyable joy ride, when you are driven by the ‘why’ or the end goal that you want to accomplish, then you become more motivated to complete the tasks in the middle.

    Great article and thank you for reposting it here.

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