The Basics of Energy


The Productive Life


Lesson Info

The Basics of Energy

We just talked about time. And I wanna now turn to the second ingredient of productivity, which is energy. It's kind of a good chance to check in on how much energy you have right now. I would encourage you guys doin' it. I would encourage folks online to also check in on how much energy you have right now. Just outta 10. You know, check in with yourself between zero and 10, 10 bein', you know, man I'm so pumped up, and zero bein' asleep I guess? (laughter) Where do you fall? Just shout out a number. Eight. Eight, oh wow! That's pretty good. Yeah, it's pretty good. That's awesome. (laughter) So over the course of the day, our energy can fluctuate quite a bit. You know, we start the day, maybe at a four and a half or so when we wake up, and then we're a bit groggy, but we get some coffee into us and then we kind of surf this wave and then lunch hits. Then we get that post-lunch crater, where our energy kind of tapers off in the afternoon, and then maybe we have another coffee and ...

that spikes it and then we recharge and have maybe a few drinks at night. Crack open that box of wine, whatever your drink of choice is. But our energy fluctuates. And because energy is the fuel we burn over the course of the day in order to be productive, our productivity fluctuates too. And seeing this idea is positively enlightening, because instead of being controlled by these waves, we can surf them! And that feels amazing. One quick experiment that I touched on before in the last module was being a total slob for a week. And this is a picture from that experiment. (laughter) You guys have onesies in the USA, right. (laughter) Now this is me in the middle of that, I think I still own that onesie. You know, a lot piece of memorabilia that we'll be auctioning after, no I'm just kidding. (laughter) This is a picture taken during that experiment. So for one week, I didn't work out. I didn't meditate. I didn't shave. I didn't wake up early which I was doing the 5:30 experiment, close to that time. And I didn't socialize with people. Which is another huge source of energy that we've got. I watched a minimum of two hours of TV every single day. And only after this experiment did I find that the average American watches over four hours of TV every single day, and that's a lot of time and it kind of speaks to the value of looking at your hotspots and the areas of your life, and where you're investing this time. Because if you add that up, I think I ran the numbers once, and the average American over the course of their life, Canadians we are much worse. It's colder up there, so we probably watch more. We can't go outside. It adds up to 16.9 years of your life. That's a lot of time. People always wanna live longer, but the time is there. We're just spending it in a way that isn't meaningful. So, I showered as little as possible to the behest of my roommates. This was my shower schedule. This week, I showered once on Wednesday, and I couldn't quite make it through the end of the week (laughs). I showered 10:00 AM on Sunday, unfortunately. I should have showered just once. I ordered takeout every single day. I will now show you my favorite slide in the whole slideshow. This is the takeout schedule. So at last once a day, you know, Burger King, whopper meal, on Monday. Look at Tuesday man. We got some chicken strips, fries, Coke, Doritos, beef jerky, Red Bull and chocolate. Man, that was a, I think I took it a bit easier the next day. I love food but it has a diminishing (faint speaking) utility toward the end of the week. And while, of course, this was a productivity experiment, I tried to be as productive as possible over the course of this week. And what I found, it broadened the way I saw productivity. Where it wasn't just about time, but I begin viewing it in a more holistic fashion, because if you zoom out, a common theme today, you'll see that there are things beyond our time, that influence how productive we are. And in this experiment, I eliminated essentially, every source of energy that I had. Energy being the fuel that we burn over the course of the day in order to be productive, and that showed me in, admittedly, extreme fashion, just how important the basics are. You know, you could talk about productivity hacks all day, day in, day out. You can pick up books, you can read, but sometimes it's the basic things that matter the most. Things like how we eat, how much physical activity do we get, how much sleep we get, and the quality of sleep that we get. These matter more than almost anything else 'cause if we don't have energy, we don't have productivity. Food. You know, there are ways that we can eat for energy. By doing things like eating fewer processed foods that burn over an extended period of time. Not sugary foods that spike how much energy you have and then leave you in an energy crater afterwards. You can do things like notice how full you are. Bring some awareness to that. Because it's when we overeat, that we feel sluggish after. Especially, when we overeat things that are highly processed. Elevating our heart rate is another one. (clears throat) By the way, I know that there is some presentation lessons on CreativeLive on how to become a better presenter. One trick, I've watched a couple of them, that they don't talk about, is turning on your fitness tracker when you're presenting, because that'd burn 507 calories over the course, just kind of walking around a little bit. You can get credit for speaking. That's you know, you gotta... (laughter) That's a total tangent, I realize. But physical activity is so essential, whether you're speaking, whether you're going about your day, integrating that into your day. Especially, if you work from home, is crucial. We evolved to walk five to nine miles, every single day. Few of us walk that. But at the same time, this physical activity is such a productive outlet for stress. Right, instead of, you know we have that outlet that we can hit the treadmill, in order to use that as punching bag for how stressed out we feel. And in the environment that we work inside of today, with so many distractions and interruptions and things going on all around us, more demands on our time, we feel overwhelmed. This is as important as it ever has been because exercise destroy stress the science says. It increases blood flow to our brain. It helps our mental performance. It boosts our mental performance by almost every single measure. And so if you feel sluggish, if you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself, you know, do I get this much physical activity, as I evolved to benefit from? The third idea, the third basic thing is sleep. You know sleep, I view it as a way by which we exchange our time for energy. And it turns out the the exchange rate is pretty good. This is very pseudo-scientific. There's little scientific backing to this, but I've a rough rule that I follow, that for every hour of sleep, I miss out on, I miss out on two hours of productivity the next day. And the more you rely on your brain to do good work, the more important this idea becomes. There are some days when I'll get seven hours of sleep, but I know that I'll be able to write twice as much if I sleep for one and a half more hours. So I do, because the calculation makes sense. I save time and benefit overall. The key habit is getting to bed at a decent time, having a solid nighttime ritual. Because it doesn't matter when we wake up. It doesn't if we wake up at 5:30 or 4:30 or 7:30 or 10:30. We'll be just as successful if we're just as deliberate after that point in time. So a few quick strategies for investing in your sleep, less blue light. I thought this was the biggest BS thing on the planet, where when we consume blue light late at night, it disrupts our sleep, but then I looked into the science and when we consume blue light, it inhibits melatonin production in our mind, which tells us to be tired, and so we can't fall asleep. You might notice a pattern that when you use your devices late into the night, not only is your attention disrupted, but your mind is as well because, your body doesn't receive a signal that it's dark, and that it's time to rest. Embrace naps. There's such like a bias against napping. I don't get it. Naps are the most beautiful, especially a coffee nap. If you have a cup of coffee and you set a timer for 25 minutes, it usually takes you five minutes to go to sleep, and you wake up, and you could like throw the earth into the sun, you have so much power! (laughter) And it feels amazing, just how much energy you have after that. No caffeine, eight to 14 hours before bed. It takes the average person, again everybody's wired differently. It takes the average person eight to 14 hours to metabolize caffeine out of their systems. And so, understanding this, that this can disrupt our productivity. And think of your bedroom as a cave. You know, a place that is cool, dark, quiet, helps with our sleep as well. So the basics. Something that we should all be mindful of. Easy to gloss over, but really reflect on this idea, of how am I doing in each of these areas? You know, is my energy good? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I putting good fuel into my body? Am I getting enough physical activity? It's something that is so valuable and so overlooked when it comes to our productivity. It's basic and it's common sense, but it's not common action to think about it.

Class Description

The first 100 eligible purchasers of this class will receive 
The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy
Limit one Offer per person. Additional exclusions may apply - visit for full details.

It’s a common refrain: “If I only I had more hours in the day, I’d be able to get everything done.” But since finding more hours isn’t an option, we search for ways to be more productive—to better use our limited time to not only complete our required tasks but also accomplish our loftier goals.

Chris Bailey, author of “The Productivity Project,” spent a year of his life conducting productivity experiments on himself in order to discover the secrets to living the most productive life possible. He’ll share his most insightful lessons on how to work deliberately rather than reactively, manage your energy better, avoid excessive procrastination and have more time to do what you find meaningful in life.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Slow down and work more deliberately.
  • Shrink or eliminate the unimportant from your life.
  • Focus on your highest-leverage tasks that give you the greatest return.
  • Schedule less time for important tasks.
  • Distract yourself from inevitable distractions.
  • Develop productive procrastination.
  • Use a healthy diet, sleep and exercise to be more productive.
  • Strive for imperfection.
  • Form good habits so your productivity is automatic.
  • Motivate yourself by understanding why you want to get something done.


Michael Duskus

I wasn't sure what to expect from this course, but I was happily surprised to learn very useful, practical approaches to being more productive in all aspects of my life. Chris's approach to dealing with time and productivity challenges we all face daily are simple to comprehend — and with a little discipline, easy to implement. I'm looking forward to reading his book, too. Additionally, the team at Creative Live are so great and make the experience memorable; from their smiles, warm greetings and professionalism to the great food provided, they know how to bring out the good vibes in everyone. We're definitely looking forward to attending more classes!

Helen Leung

I found Chris' book very useful, full of great ideas that are easy to implement, and totally fun to read. This seminar is the same: inspiring, practical, and very enjoyable. The productivity ideas that he introduced are crucial for reducing stress and enjoying our work and personal life more. Highly recommended!


A fantastic class that will NOT teach you how to be more productive in creating to-do-lists and completing as many tasks as you can, but will explain how to make right priorities and choices and how achieve what you want in a more efficient matter while having a holistic view of your productivity, including your approach to food, sleep and meditation. The class is packed with actionable tools and techniques and I recommend it to everyone who would like to start working less and achieve more. The teacher - Chris - has a great personality - he's very likable and relatable - and he delivers the message in a manner that makes it very easy to understand and act upon the message.