For me, a vigorous morning workout isn’t just for my physical body; it’s also for my mind.
An intense workout clears out the cobwebs and turns on the lights. It’s like plugging in my brain so that it works.
Studies show this is helpful for many people with ADHD, and I suspect it’s probably helpful even for neuro-typical people.
Once you discover this, how can you leverage it to help you create more effectively?
Here’s what I do:
I often stay in the gym after my workout so I can seize the moment and leverage the flow of ideas in the space where they are flowing.
If I can capture the ideas immediately post-workout, I can complete an essay in under an hour. This means I write some of my best pieces while sitting on the floor.
On the other hand, if I delay until I’m sitting at a desk ready to start my day, the same piece can take double the amount of time. And if I wait until the end of the day, it’s likely I won’t write it at all.
Trying to put words together coherently in the evening to write a blog post is an exercise in futility.
It doesn’t matter how many great ideas I have; there’s little bandwidth available to articulate thoughts. Nothing flows.
My process is unconventional. It doesn’t fit within the normative structures of a society that says “work starts when you get to your office or you sit at your desk.”
People around me question how long I spend at the gym. They wonder what I’m doing when I am sitting on the floor typing on my phone. They are clearly judging whether I’m really “working.”
For a long time — years, decades — I have allowed those judgments to permeate my space. I’ve taken them on as a weapon against myself, fighting my nature.
This only makes things worse; I waste a lot of energy making myself wrong for how I work.
I am finally starting to come around, to accept my process and release the self-judgment.
My process may not be conventional but it works for me. The more I can accept it, the more effective I can be with my time and energy.
Judgment takes up a lot of space.
The internet is filled with gurus and experts offering productivity advice and hacks. But I’ve found that the absolute best advice is this:
Learn what works for you and embrace it wholeheartedly, without judgment. Nobody else is in your brain and body. Nobody else can tell you what will work best for you.