There are more articles on productivity than you can shake a stick at.
So, instead of adding to the clutter and overwhelming you with more tips than you could possibly consider implementing, I want to share just one tip that I believe is an absolute game changer.
This tip will...
- Save you time every day. This can easily add up to over an hour per week!
- Make 1/3rd of your diet "perfect." We are going to put one meal on auto-pilot.
- Reduce "decision fatigue." This will make you more effective throughout the day.
My Greatest Productivity Tip
Here it is...
...Eat the same, simple meal for breakfast every day!
I have coined this as "The Perfect Breakfast Hack."
That's it. Simple right?
Well, this can be life changing. Here is why...
Reason #1 American's Spend Too Much Time Each Day Prepping Meals
While it varies by age and demographic, on an average day in 2014, Americans age 18 and over spent 37 minutes in food preparation and cleanup.
That is a lot of time per week!
Reason #2 You Need to Start Your Day off Right
If you're like me, you want to start your day off running. If you drag out your morning routine, you'll be playing catch up all day.
Reason #3 Eating Healthy Is Hard but We Can Make ONE Perfect Meal and Repeat It
There are a lot of healthy breakfast options and for some reason, breakfast meals can be repeated without getting boring as quickly as if you ate the same meals for lunch or dinner.
I don't know why this is (or maybe it's just me) but it seems to be the truth.
Reason #4 You're Body Will Always Be Properly Fueled
Some people skip breakfast all together. I don't agree with this approach.
Your body has been fasting for 10+ hours after sleep and (in my unprofessional opinion) it needs refueled.
Sure, maybe skipping breakfast can lead to some weight loss (there are many different findings on if this is the case or not since it can lead to binge eating later in the day) but I'll take the fuel personally.
Reason #5 You Don't Start Your Day off with Decisions
The brain makes up only 2% of our body mass but consumes over 20% of the body's energy (in oxygen and therefore calories)!
It is well documented that making new decisions uses far more energy than performing a habit.
This is known as decision fatigue.
The concept was first described by Roy Baumiester and John Tierney in their book "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength."
Tierney went on to discuss the concept in an interview with the New York Times in which he said...
"Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy."
When you wake up and have to decide what you're gong to eat, you're wasting valuable energy. While this may seem like a small problem, it adds up and there is no need for it when we can eliminate it with some basic planning in advance.
Reason #6 Breakfast Is the Easiest Meal to Plan and Repeat
I will admit, planning lunch and dinner are much more difficult than breakfast.
For some reason, it seems much easier to eat the same thing for breakfast each day than it is to eat the same meals for lunch or dinner.
Why not capitalize on this and choose one or two breakfast meals that we know are healthy and quick to prepare?
My go to breakfast is extremely simple.
- 2 Scoops of Athletic Greens
- 1-2 Hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper
- 1 Cup of black coffee
That's it. It takes me less than 7 minutes to prep AND eat (with the exception of the coffee that I sip over the course of my first hour of work).
Hard boiled eggs are great because they can be prepped in advance so I can get about a weeks worth by boiling a dozen and putting them in the fridge.
I don't peel them until I'm ready to eat them but this takes a couple of seconds.
Thoughts on Food Allergies
In 2017 I did something that was a game changer for my diet and general wellness.
I decided that I wanted to find out if I had any food sensitivities. I've tried many different diets and lots of them involved consuming a lot of the same foods.
I had an epiphany...I knew that many of these diets worked for others (obviously) but what if I was allergic or sensitive to the foods that became staples of these diets?
For example, I did the Bullet Proof diet which involves a large amount of dairy. For someone who isn't sensitive to dairy, this diet should be fine but what if you are sensitive and don't know it? This could be detrimental to your health!
So, I purchased a food sensitivity test from a company called Everly Well. I learned something that was very important to my current diet.
I was seriously sensitive to almonds....
Why did this matter? I HAD BEEN DRINKING ALMOND MILK IN MY PROTEIN SHAKES INSTEAD OF MILK FOR OVER A YEAR!
What I thought was a healthy move (I thought I had a dairy sensitivity) was hurting me. I cut out the almond milk and felt huge changes in my energy, clearness of my skin and overall clarity of mind.
If you have a serious allergy you most likely know about it but taking one of these tests could make your life much better if you can identify just one food product that is causing negative reactions in your body.
- Credit to Tim Ferriss for teaching this hack in his New York Times best selling book "The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman"
- I am not a nutritionist so consult with your doctor before implementing any severe changes to your diet.
- If you like starting your day off slow and enjoy the experience of breakfast, by all means, ignore this tip. It isn't for everyone but if you're like me, it fits perfectly into a busy lifestyle.