I've been thinking a lot about health and productivity these days. I turned 60 in May, and because I want to remain as healthy and productive as possible, I’ve been researching steps I can take, and habits I can institute, to do just that.
Healthy habits make for productive lives
One key to being productive, both in the sense of getting things done and in the sense of making a life that matters, is being healthy enough, physically, mentally, and emotionally to do the things we want and need to do. Many of us live with illnesses or physical conditions that affect our health, and as we age our condition changes, so I am not suggesting that only the most physically fit and healthy can be truly productive. But regardless of our age or circumstances, I think we can agree that in order to maximize our health, we need to do what we can to be as healthy as possible.
We’ve talked about habits before (TPW216 - Habits that Help; TPW226 - Habits to Consider for This Year; TPW114 - Mindset Matters: Productive Habits; and TPW082 - Developing Healthy Habits, with Bridgit Danner).
A habit is something you do regularly. It's defined in one dictionary as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” When we do something regularly enough that it becomes a habit, we do it almost without conscious thought. The great thing about habits is they eliminate the friction of decision-making. It’s easier to do what you habitually do, so it’s important to be intentional about the habits we develop. (Check out James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits - discussed in episode 230 -for help in purposefully developing habits that serve you.)
In thinking and researching I came up with a short list of key habits that can help promote health and productivity. It's likely that none of these are new to you, but we can always benefit from being reminded to think about our habits--especially those habits that can contribute to a strong, healthy body and mind. Spending time in the next few weeks developing healthy habits can reap productivity benefits in the coming year.
1. Drink plenty of water (more than you think you need)
Water matters because it is a principal component of our bodies and makes up 50-75% of our body weight. We can go much longer without food than water. Every part of our body uses water to work properly.
This article from the Mayo Clinic goes into greater depth about why water is so important. A lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can drain our energy and make us feel tired. Because we naturally lose water every day, we need to replenish every day.
“The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.”