9 quick productivity experiment updates

by | Aug 30, 2013 | Productivity Experiments

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 25s.

I have three big productivity experiments that I’m tackling right now (with more on the way): gaining 10 pounds of lean muscle mass while reducing my body fat from 17% to 10%, waking up at 5:30 every morning, and writing 200,000 words over the course of the year.

Instead of burying updates to these experiments on the Experiments page, I thought I’d highlight all the recent updates to them in one post!

Gain 10lbs of muscle; reduce my body fat to 10%

  • douchebagWorkout changes: I started working out with three sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise, and now my trainer has reduced that to 8 repetitions, still with three sets. Having a larger number of reps (12) served to warm up my muscles during the first few weeks, and now I’m bumping the weight up considerably, with a lower number of reps, to gain muscle mass.
  • I’m seeing noticeable results with this experiment, especially in terms of how much muscle mass I’m gaining. As you can see from the (quite douchey) picture on the right, I’ve gained a good amount of muscle mass since starting from almost nothing a month ago.
  • I’m gaining muscle faster than I’m reducing my body fat. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though – my body fat is still decreasing, albeit at a slower rate.
  • Going forward, I’m integrating taking body composition measurements into my morning ritual so I can make some cool graphs as the experiment progresses. (I know, I should have thought about this earlier, but I do have a more scientific body composition measurement that my nutritionist conducted at the beginning of the experiment.)
  • Diet changes: I’m now allowed to eat more beans, legumes, hummus, and some complex carbohydrates (like millet and buckwheat – no rice or wheat).

Wake up at 5:30 every morning

  • Four strategies that are helping my inch toward my wakeup goal:
    1. Not rushing into waking up so early, and really listening to my body and mind to see how tired they are.
    2. Making notes of what interferes with my bedtime routine.
    3. Implementing a consistent routine every morning and night.
    4. Figuring out a purpose for waking up so early (so I can hit the gym every morning to get energized before I start my day).
  • One challenge I’ve had with this experiment is I have no external forces that make me get up early. I can start working on A Year of Productivity at whatever time I want, and so I have had to find motivation internally to wake up early.
  • I’ve woken up at 6-6:30 nearly every morning recently, and am inching my way down to 5:30 from here.

Writing 200,000 words over the course of the year

  • At the time of writing I’m about 4,500 words off my goal pace (the pace I’d need to keep up to write 200,000 words by the end of the year). This is mostly because I took a week off to volunteer for an oncology camp, and I expect to catch up in the next few weeks!

Have a great weekend!

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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