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Want to be more productive? Take a rest from intense work? Try these steps

“Deloading” is a time to take a mental rest in preparation for big work, thought or effort.
“Deloading” is a time to take a mental rest in preparation for big work, thought or effort. Huney Co

Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” is also a podcaster. His interviews with high performers in a variety of fields (art, athletics, business, military, you name it) offer tips and personal approaches these experts use to excel in their work.

In addition, he “experiments” on himself a lot, trying different approaches from workouts to work habits.

Ferriss recently compiled some of the best advice and ideas that he has learned in a book called “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.” Not an immodest title, to say the least.

For the next few weeks, I will weave some of those ideas into these blogs. I’ll start with two I find helpful — “deloading” (pp. 583-585) and becoming more efficient (pp. 200-201).

1. Deloading

Ferriss draws the notion of deloading from strength and athletic training. It’s a week between intense or high-demand weeks, a time for the body to prepare for the stress and intensity to come. In the work world, it’s a time to unplug, to step away and let your mind wander.

I think of it as a sort of fallow period, when your mind takes a rest, in preparation for big work, thought or effort that is coming. Often, it’s a period when creative ideas emerge, because the mind is allowed to meander. As Ferriss says, “it’s the silence between the notes that make the music.”

2. Becoming more efficient

When you have tasks that are important and need to be done, but sometimes you just avoid getting to them, Ferriss offers another set of tips:

▪  Write down three to five things that make you the most anxious. Do this first thing in the morning. These are usually tasks you need to do but keep putting off because they are hard or uncomfortable.

▪  Choose the one that, if accomplished, will help move the other tasks forward. For each of the items, ask yourself: If I could accomplish just one of these today, would that make the other items easier to do going forward?

▪  Block out two or three hours today to work on that one item only. Do it in one block of time. If you find you’re distracted, bring yourself back to that one item. Block out social media and the phone during that time.

As Ferriss might say, “Voila.” Key tips to getting more done.

I will not tell you what he claims he accomplished after taking these steps. It makes me feel somewhat unproductive. But I’ll keep at it.

Nancy Napier is distinguished professor in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University.