10 Things I Learned About Productivity While Living In Hermit For 10 Days

Original author: Chris Bailey
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Earlier, we introduced you to the translations of Chris Bailey articles that he wrote as he developed his project a Year of Productivity - they are available on our blog under the section “Personal Productivity” . Today we would like to introduce you to the conclusions of Chris, which he made living as a recluse for 10 days. We want to remind you that the common goal of all articles is to share the author’s experience on how to become more successful and effective everywhere: in your personal life, relationships with friends, yourself and of course at work (whatever you do)!

So, give the floor to Chris!

I almost quit this experiment on the fifth day.

imageI hated this experiment. Hated-hated-hated-hated-hated this experiment. Every morning I woke up without energy, without motivation and with the feeling that my life was completely drained from me. I did not have public support to rely on; I felt completely isolated almost all the time; woke up sick almost every morning because the cellar was damn cold; and experienced deep emotional recessions that made me tired, exhausted, and depressed.

At the same time, I liked this experiment. I liked living on an island in a paradise cocoon, where no one could contact me and get to me. I felt that the burden of obligations associated with people fell from me. All my time belonged only to me - I was not dragged into a million different directions, I could move freely, be productive, or do whatever I wanted.

We can say that this experiment had its ups and downs.

The purpose of being in solitude was to understand at a deep level how social interaction affects productivity, and I definitely succeeded. At 5 in the morning today I leave my cocoon back to the real world, but first I will write what I came to. Here are 10 highlights that I learned by living a recluse for 10 days.

10. Wait a moment before sending important emails / messages

Probably everyone has tweets, emails, text messages, photographs that they regret and would like to recall, but they can’t. On my desktop, I have a huge text file with a bunch of emails, tweets and blog comments that I could not send during my experiment. But the most interesting thing: 10 days have passed, and during this time I managed to significantly change and fix many messages, and completely changed some of them. I made most of the corrections within 24 hours of writing the initial post.

When you give your mind time to gather your thoughts and formulate them, what you say will turn out to be fuller, more valuable and generally better.Before you click Submit under your next important email, try to wait a few hours or even a day if you can. The world will definitely not collapse during this time, and you can convey your point of view much better.


9. Do not eat tangerines if you intend to live 10 days in the same small room

The room where I lived for 10 days is very small, and tangerines caused gas formation in me. Needless to say, you should take this lesson into account if you ever spend time in solitude.

8. It is easy to “launch” oneself when there are no people around.

Towards the end of the experiment, especially when I started writing more and making less video about the experiment, my appearance began to worry me much less. I began to dress casually, eat worse, and did not think about how to impress people.

I admit, one of the reasons why I want to be in good shape, to be more focused, smart and so on is vanity. This is not the only reason, but one of them. I want people to look at me and think: "hell, is this man really free!" When there were no people around who could be impressive, I found myself starting up.

I'm not sure that this lesson can be summarized somehow, but I will do it. When you are surrounded by more people, especially if they motivate you to confirm your success, you will try harder to become better.



7. Meditation is the key to staying sane

Over the past 10 days, I have been meditating on average 47 minutes a day, and it definitely helped me stay in my mind. At the beginning of the experiment, my mind was restless, but after each meditation it calmed down noticeably. Meditation can be the key to keeping your mind calm and in control ( I wrote an article on this topic ).

As the old Buddhist proverb says, “you should meditate for 20 minutes every day, unless you are too busy, in which case you need to do this for an hour.”

6. Digital communication brings much less impact than live communication.

Over the past 10 days, I cut myself off from all my real connections and contacts from the Internet (people whom I have not seen live). I realized that my real connections are very different from virtual ones. Real connections are deeper, more valuable, and bring greater returns when you invest more time and energy in them.

The problem is (and maybe you are like me in this) that I spend more time on my virtual connections than on real ones. This does not mean that there is no real person behind every twitter account, but real relationships will bring you much greater returns. In this regard, you need to be able to properly allocate your time.

5. The most boring, boilerplate stuff is what really works.

I think the truth is behind every cliche - so strong that people feel compelled to repeat one phrase over and over. Train. Sleep enough. Eat well. Take vitamins every day. Drink plenty of water. The problem is that these truths were repeated so often that they almost lost their meaning.

On the third day, I was broken, my nose was stuffy, I had difficulty breathing and overall felt terrible. But then I began to drink plenty of water, take vitamins, eat impeccably and try to get enough sleep every night, instead of trying to get up at 5.30 every morning ( as for another experiment ). As soon as I started doing these boring, stereotyped things, my health, mood, motivation and energy level improved dramatically.


4. Without people around you, you feel more uplift, but recessions become more noticeable.

While I was in seclusion, two new articles were published about my project, and to be honest, I enjoyed it here alone no less than if I was surrounded by friends.

Regarding the difficulties of this experiment, it took me three hours to fall asleep, I had to fight a cold, I felt tired due to lack of sleep, and I became sadder than ever in the past few months. Nor did I have the support of society that would help me feel safe.

In my opinion, it seems to many people that they do not need anyone when they are at the top, but when they inevitably descend from heaven to earth, they find that they are alone.

I generally believe that people are usually inclined to embellish reality, distort the real state of affairs, in everything.


3. Sunlight lifts the mood, normalizes sleep, gives energy and motivation

When you spend little time in the sun, the quality of your sleep is greatly affected (because sunlight regulates sleep and wakefulness), you manage stress less and control attention less, and you have noticeably less energy.


2. It can be useful to look from the side at what you are doing.

We spend most of our time being very mundane, immersed in what we do. But until we internally step back from this, we will not be able to see a wider perspective. Living in seclusion, I mainly focused on work and found it rather difficult to look at my activities from the side. At the same time, I was able to look from a different angle on how my relationships, finances and health are consistent with who I am, mainly because I was able to distance myself from these elements of my life. When you temporarily distance yourself from the components of your life, this gives them more meaning, gives you goals and allows you to see how what you do is compiled into a big picture of who you are.

1. People matter (and more than you think)

Summing up for 10 days, I realized that I was less productive in solitude than usual. Everyone has their own definition of productivity, but most of the criteria by which I evaluate my productivity are related to people , including how much I make others happy. If you remove people from this balance, you either a) cannot do much or b) what you do will not make much sense.

For me people are my tapestry; they are so woven into who I am and what I do that I take them for granted. But over the past 10 days, I missed all the people in my life when they were not around.

Throughout the experiment, I was less motivated, energetic, enthusiastic, and happier than usual. Of course, to some extent this was due to a lack of sunlight, but still it seems to me that the lack of communication played a major role.

People matter, perhaps far more than you think. This is not an experiment that I will ever repeat, but I definitely learned a lot from it.

PS Some time ago we published one of the most interesting articles from Chris Bailey - Experiment: 10 things that I learned by using only water for a month

Translated by Davidenko Vyacheslav, founder of MBA Consult

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