The Productivity Project
So there's a lot of advice out there on how we can become more productive. I'm not sure if you've walked down the bookstore aisle at Barnes and Noble, or Chapters, if there are any of my fellow Canadians tuning in today, or Waterstone's in the UK, I think? Yeah, you're nodding your head? Okay, good, whew. I don't want to butcher... I don't want angry letters from the UK. Actually they would be very polite, very similar to letters from Canada, I'd imagine. But there's a lot of books out there on how we can become more productive. There are a lot of experts who will share with you how their five or ten step system will allow you to accomplish more every day. And there are a lot of websites out there too that promise to allow you to accomplish more as well. And the thing about this advice, as I was mentioning a little bit, is not all of it is created equal. A lot of it's productivity porn that you won't... It's fun to read about, how Richard Branson keeps his couch in his kitchen, or what...
ever, to be more productive, I don't know what kind of life hack type of advice is being doled out there. But there's a lot of BS in the productivity space. And I've been consuming a lot of it over the... [Chris] more than I'd care to admit. [Chris] But a few years back, I decided to embark on a personal productivity experiment. To separate the actual advice that works from the stuff that's just BS. And this is a passion of mine, kind of a weird curiosity in a way. Some people are into, I guess normal things like sports and cooking? What are people into? Sports, cooking?
Sports, cooking, art.
Yeah, art, music, yeah. (laughing) For some reason that's never stuck. The only thing that's stuck is productivity. Such a weirdo, eh? [Chris] Yeah, this is a picture of me [Chris] from more than a decade ago. [Chris] I'm on the beach, my family and friends [Chris] are presumably playing volleyball [Chris] or whatever it is that people do on the beach, I don't know, laying in the sun? I'm reading a book called The Joy of Stress, a productivity book, and this is a passion of mine that's followed me, 'cause really, we only have so much time, and so why not find out how to get more out of what limited time we have? And so, I was in a position where I'd received a few full time job offers, but I thought, if there's ever a time in my life to explore something that I'm actually curious about, it was then, when I had graduated from university. And so I declined them, I lived off of the money I'd saved. In Canada, you can defer your student loans for about a year and so that's exactly what I did. They caught up to me after the year was over, but I went in deep. I poured over... It was very much an academic project to start off. You know, I poured over all the academic papers and all the books and all the literature, as it relates to productivity and human performance in a workplace type of environment. I interviewed the greats, people I'd looked up to for years like David Allen, who wrote Getting Things Done, and Charles Duhigg, who wrote The Power of Habit, and people who, I'd been nerding out over their work for many, many years. But the thing that took the cake as being kinda the weirdest part of this project, were a series of experiments that I conducted on myself where I used myself as a guinea pig to push on the limits of how much I was able to accomplish every day, both mentally and physically. There were a whole whack of experiments, drinking only water for a month, cutting out alcohol and caffeine, which was a bitch, [Chris] but I had more energy that month [Chris] than I've had in so long, [Chris] and that showed me the importance [Chris] of drinking caffeine and alcohol strategically, [Chris] and not habitually. [Chris] Waking up at 5:30 every morning. [Chris] Oh man, that one was hell. [Chris] But I found some curious research [Chris] after that one was done [Chris] where there is no difference [Chris] in somebody's socioeconomic standing [Chris] based on what time they wake up at. [Chris] Right, somebody who wakes up at 5:30, [Chris] research shows, they're just as successful and make just as much money as somebody who wakes up at 8:30 or 9:30. This'll be great for some of the creative types like myself who are watching, who think, "Man, how can I be productive when I like waking up "at 10 AM and doing work late into the night?" But as I'll show you, it's about working around the rhythms of your day, where, if you have the most energy in the evening, late at night, take advantage of that, you know? Work around how much energy you have, if you have that flexibility. Another one, you probably thought when I got up here, was, you know, the first thing you had in your mind, was "Wow, this guy is so extraordinarily muscular." (laughing) No, I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. And that's because another one of the experiments is gaining 15 pounds of muscle mass over the course of the year. I made that side of the experiment, but there was another side of the experiment where it was to lower my body fat from 17 down to 10 percent, and I think instead of 10 percent, I made it to, like 15 percent by the end of the project, cause I just love butter chicken and pizza. In fact, the first thing I did, this is shameful to admit, but the first thing that I did when I got into my hotel last night, was fire up Uber Eats and order some Halal Guys. So good. Uh, Halal Guys has a way of just connecting to my heart. And so these weird experiments, these interviews, this research, was the basis for the project, and it's also the basis, getting back into it, to this course that I've designed for you today.