Exercise isn’t just about staying healthy. It’s also a secret weapon that freelancers can use to turbocharge their productivity.
We’ve all been told a gazillion times how important it is to get enough exercise. Everyone from Oprah to the Government keeps telling us to get off our butts, exercise and keep fit.
But that is just part of the story why regular exercise is essential for freelancers.
You see, being healthy and looking great are just part of what makes exercise one of the secret weapons of super successful freelancers.
In fact, if freelancing is your career, it’s your duty to go out and exercise.
Bold claim? Not really. Scientific studies have shown that mental performance is directly linked to your level of physical exercise.
Exercise has been proven to lower stress levels, enhance creativity, promote faster learning, improve concentration, builds mental endurance and much, much more.
(WARNING: I’m not a doctor. Please consult your physician before starting any kind of exercise or training program.)
So without further ado (yes… clichés are back in fashion), here are three ways that exercise can help you turbocharge your productivity and some tips on how to get started.
I get it…
Freelancing can be exhausting. After a long day in front of a laptop the last thing I want to do is hit the gym and workout. Who has that kind of energy?
Yet energy is exactly what getting your daily exercise in will give you.
I’m no scientist (and I don’t play one on TV either), but just getting in a moderate amount of exercise at low-intensity is enough to increase your energy levels.
Getting your body moving, consistently, raises your body’s ability to channel oxygen and glucose to where it’s needed. It also lowers inflammation and a host of other nasty things that cause stress.
It’s not just good for your brain, it’s good for the whole body.
What would having more energy do for your productivity, and your finances at that?
Need a couple of extra IQ points to power through a tough project? Go to the gym before you start working.
Simple, when more blood flows into your brain you become more focused and aware. This will help you think about your work more clearly and manage your time more efficiently.
Exercise also lowers stress levels and improves your mood.
Stress and anxiety are cognitive depressors, i.e. they act as a hand break on your mental performance. If you’ve ever tried driving with the hand break on, you know what I mean ;-)
Also, there’s mounting evidence that the parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory are bigger in people who exercise. This process is called neurogenesis and is stimulated by physical exercise.
Exercise will literally grow you brain! What’s not to like?
Working for yourself and by yourself is hard. Sometimes it’s lonely. Then, there are those excruciatingly painful days where everything drags.
Bottom-line is, you are 100% responsible for everything.
There is no boss to hounding you to meet deadlines, no colleagues to support you and share your workload and no quarterly performance reviews to hold you accountable.
The only thing between you, failure and financial ruin… well it’s you! And that’s pretty darn scary. But there is hope.
Going to the gym, jogging every day and/or sticking to any workout regime builds a habit. It’s called pushing through “the dip”.
Marketing legend Seth Godin coined the concept of “the dip” in 2007. The dip is the painful, long stretch between starting something and becoming a master at it.
Exercise teaches you to push through the dip. At the beginning you are going to hurt like heck and think about quitting.
But once you learn to push past the dip and become used to exercising –you’ll love it!
You learn to crush discomfort and build discipline. That discipline is going to carry-over into your freelancing career.
When work seems overwhelming you’ll take a second to focus, breath in and push through it.
That’s what separates those who ‘want to be successful’ from those who ‘are successful’. Which would you rather be?
“Okay I get it, exercise is great for productivity,” you might say at this point, “But what kind of exercise is best to turbocharge my productivity?”
It has to be aerobic exercise, i.e. exercise that gets your heart pumping and lungs huffing and puffing.
Cardio, in other words. Walking, running or any kind of interval training (with little or no) is good.
To enjoy and maximize the productivity benefits of cardio you have to get about 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Sounds difficult? It doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of free fitness resources out there, many which you can use at home.
If you feel that you don’t have the discipline and need some help, try the following:
Most important of all, make exercising part of your daily routine. It has to become a daily habit, just like taking a shower.
Here’s some inspiration from entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.
When asked for advised on how to be more productive, he simply said, “Work out”.
Exercise isn’t just great for your health, it’ll boost your productivity as well.
Getting regular daily exercise will increase your energy levels, increase your brain power and teach you to crush discomfort and build discipline.
The world’s most successful freelancers (and business people) are dedicated to their exercise. It’s a habit, part of their routine.
Don’t lose out, go out and do some cardio before you work.
Then watch yourself be more focused, creative and smart.
It’ll show in your work, you’ll be less stressed and your customers (and bank account) will love it!
PS: Cardio will boost your productivity, just like a super cool decal from Freelancer at Work will boost your business. Stand out from the crowd and meet cool new people. Find your decal now!