How to Have a HIGHLY Productive “ON” Day

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This is a simple guide on how you can have a very productive day.

STEP 1: Make a TO-DO List

This has to be done the day before. Preferably right before you sleep. It’s hard to be productive when you don’t know what you want to get done.

Also, a to-do list reminds you that there are things you need to get done before you can rest.

Don’t make it on a phone – use a physical pen and paper. (Most people’s minds associate the cell phone screen with entertainment – plus having to check your phone again and again can be distracting for many).

STEP 2: Sleep Well and for a Full 8 – 9 Hours

“If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of those hours sharpening my axe.”   – Abraham Lincoln

Your brain is the axe.

I’ll never understand what’s the reasoning behind the obsession the “work hard bro” people have with sleeping just 6 hours a day.

(And the irony is, that additional 3-hour period is probably being spent on Facebook, meaningless conversations on Whatsapp, porn, TV serials, etc.)

Why would you spend 18 hours a day working hard with a blunt axe? It doesn’t make sense.

Remember, a well-rested mind is a sharp, focused mind. Your attention span will be longer, you’ll process things faster, AND you will feel better while you’re at it.

Ideally, you want to wake up naturally without an alarm. Go to bed early if you have to.

STEP 3: Coffee, Chess, Cold Shower

Easy, immediately after waking up, you want to have a coffee (no sugar). Caffeine is a powerful drug – most of its potential is wasted.

Additionally, we’ll play a game of chess online while we consume our coffees to quickly bring our brains in “thinking” mode.

Once we’re done, we’re going to take a cold shower. A cold shower wakes you up, makes you alert, and gets the blood flowing.

STEP 4: Meditate and Stretch

We’ll start with meditation, which we will do for 20 minutes.

We will then do a full body stretch, from the neck to the calves. You also want to add in 10 squats, 10 pushups and 10 pull-ups (if you have a pull-up bar) to help get the blood flowing. (If you sweat a lot, you can do this before you shower)

Both of the above should be done under sunlight.

By now you should have drunk ~1 liter of water.

STEP 5: Getting Started with the Small Tasks

Note that we’re going to be skipping breakfast for now.

We will quickly finish off the small things on our to-do list. Anything that takes less than 10 minutes to finish gets done here.

This should downsize the list quite a bit. You also want to check your email here.

Around 1.5 to 2 hours have passed since you woke up.

STEP 6: 2 Hours in the Zone

You want to start getting some real work done. Put your phone on silent, turn off the noise and get to work.

You should have an intense amount of focus now – use that to get the tasks that require the highest amount of attention to detail done. Your brain is extremely alert and you won’t be missing subtle things.

If you’re a student, you want to pick a technical subject here to study.

Don’t break your attention with anything – no email checking, no texting, no answering random phone calls.

Don’t break the flow. The momentum will help you get things done 2x better than normal.

STEP 7: Breakfast

Okay, so you’ve done quite a bit in those 2 hours (likely done more already than most people get done in their entire day), and you’re feeling a bit peckish.

We’re going to eat filling, high-calorie items here, that don’t take a lot of time/effort to prepare:

Eggs fried in butter: Makes a great breakfast, provides a lot of protein, and enough fat to help digest everything better. Don’t use margarine – it’s bullshit new-age crap.

(PS if you’re a vegetarian, you can substitute this with fresh whole milk – none of that skim/fat-free crap)

Dried Fruits: Some almonds, cashews, walnuts, dates, and raisins. Excellent sources of minerals and vitamins, and will provide you with the energy you need to charge through the day.

The advantage of a high-calorie breakfast is that it’ll keep you full for the next “on” block, and since we’ve largely avoided high sugar foods (such as cereal, donuts, and pastries) – we won’t have the post-lunch slump that plagues corporate slaves employees around the world.

You can listen to some music around this time, and respond to any urgent phone calls you may have received.

STEP 8: 4 Hours in the Zone

The process is similar to before, but this time we’ll work for 4 hours.

It has been my experience that this is the best time for creative tasks – most of my articles are written during this time.

Students should use this time to study subjects that involve lots of intellect and creativity.

Also, same as before – no distractions, no answering phone calls, no checking emails.

STEP 9: Lunch

We will have a heavy lunch (but not too heavy).

High to moderate protein is a must. You can have your carbs here – a large part of the day is already done.

Meats, rice, potatoes, grains, vegetables, legumes.

No sugar drinks though – only water (you can have fruit juices without added sugars here).

Some people like to take power naps around this time, but I have not found them useful.

You can take a small post-lunch walk though, 10 – 15 minutes.

STEP 10: 2 Hours in the Zone

Same as above. This part of time is best suited for dull, boring work that you have to power through.

We’ve already done enough through the day, and now we’ll go all out. You’ll notice that this part is downright tedious and you don’t have the same amount of focus, attention, or creativity as you did earlier.

Nevertheless, the day is coming to an end, and we’re just going the extra mile.

STEP 11: Workout

Notice we didn’t do a workout in the morning. This is intentional.

If you’re going to be working out in the morning, you’ll have some amount of exhaustion throughout the day. This is not ideal for productivity.

Evening workouts make more sense – after you’ve hit most of your targets for the day.

Start with some warm-up, do some cardio, lift weights. All in, this takes around 1.5 – 2 hours, depending upon your speed and intensity.

Come back home and take another cold shower.

STEP 12: Take Dinner, Read, Relax, Sleep

So the day is almost over; we’ve meditated, we’ve eaten healthy, we’ve put in ~8 hours of highly productive effort, we’ve exercised our body – today was a good day.

Now you can relax – read a book or two, listen to some music, browse the internet – whatever you like.

Have a light (or heavy, depending on your mood) dinner – high to moderate protein as usual.

It has almost been 15 – 16 hours since we woke up.

We’ll now go to bed, pleasantly making a note of how much we’ve accomplished today.

Some Pointers

  1. Do not consume any alcohol throughout the day and the day before.
  2. Make sure that the dinner you have the day before does not leave you bloated in the morning.
  3. Avoid distractions and unnecessary screen time – no watching TV, YouTube videos or anything else that breaks the “flow” of the day.

P.S. Grab a copy of Live Intentionally: Discipline, Mindset, Direction – A 90 Day Self-Project to help you supercharge your growth to the next level and get moving today itself. The 90 day self-project will not only work on your mental strength and toughness – it’ll also help you lose all the body fat and give you the discipline and mental stamina you need to be extremely productive. Every. Single. Day.

Hope this helps,

Harsh Strongman

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