The 26 things Successful People must do to help Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity

January 18, 2017 ☞ Knowledge work

We see a lot of lists about what it takes to be a Successful Person here at the Side-Eye, so we decided to make our own. The findings here are based on a myriad of research and learnings, many of which have been shown to help lower stress and increase productivity.

We may not be Successful People ourselves, but who else would know about the habits of Successful People more than the people who’ve read all the lists about the habits of Successful People? Exactly.

1. Wake up before sunrise every single day

It’s been shown that successful people wake up every morning before dawn. (Is it a coincidence that the rooster is considered the King Of The Barnyard? Ha ha!) When you get up before sunlight, it can help release certain chemicals in your brain that lower stress and make you more productive.

2. Don’t use words like never and always

It’s been shown that words like “never” and “always” are always exaggerations and never help communication. Successful people don’t exaggerate, or when they do, they use different words to do so. Try to use more realistic terms like “rarely” or “often” and see what happens!

3. Never ever sit

It’s been shown that sitting is worse for you than heart disease, lung cancer, and oxycontin abuse  combined. There is also compelling evidence that over 99% of people who have ever sat in a chair have died. When you look at old photographs of successful people (Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Michelangelo’s David) they are almost always standing.

4. Take a cold shower, on the hour, every hour

It’s been shown that a 5 minute shower in cold water can strengthen your immune system, help reduce stress, and make you more productive. That’s why we suggest you take a 15-minute cold shower every single hour you’re awake. That’s three times the immunity, energy, and weight-loss — up to 16 times per day. To help us remember, we set an hourly timer and walk around in a bathrobe all day.

5. Eliminate carbon from your diet

It’s been shown that many chief executives and other successful people subsist on a diet of rarefied praseodymium-based “protein” that is created in a particle accelerator. At $1,000,000 per gram it ain’t cheap, but your digestive system will thank you. It can also help you reduce stress.

6. Seek vengeance

It’s been shown that complimenting a stranger can help promote feelings of empathy. It’s also been shown that this kind of behavior can make you soft. That’s why you should seek vengeance every single day. Start with your enemies. If you don’t have any, they are pretty easy to make. You’ll feel better, reduce stress, and be way more productive.

7. Take the 1,000,000,000 pushup challenge

It’s been shown that setting audacious goals can help motivate you day-to-day. A billion pushups sounds like a big number, but if you start with 100 pushups a day you’ll easily knock out that total in 27,397 years. Feeling successful? Do 1,000 per day and you’ll be done before the year 4800. It’s a great way to start your morning.

8. Own fewer than four things

It’s been shown that physical clutter can distract you from your goals. Stuff leads to stress–and that’s science. That’s why many successful people own no more than four items (not counting clothes, you’re allowed 10 of those). I actually only own three things: the laptop I’m writing this on, a shaker for my Soylent, and a black and white photograph of Elon Musk.

9. Go to bed at the same time every night

It’s been shown that going to bed at the same time every night will normalize your Circadian rhythms, reduce your levels of stress, and increase your productivity. Studies have shown that that time is 5pm. Go to bed at 5pm every night and you will be a successful person, that is a promise.

10. Meditate in the Integraton every single day

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It’s been shown that meditation can help clear the mind, lower stress, and increase productivity. That’s why you should start each day with a forty-five minute sound bath in the Integratron near Joshua Tree, California. If you don’t live nearby, they have an airport in Palm Springs. You can probably pool with Jeff Bezos.

11. Read a novel every single day

It’s been shown that reading, particularly fiction, can open up pathways in the brain that produce new levels of understanding, lower stress, and increase productivity. That’s why successful people read an entire novel every single day. If you start at 7am and don’t take a break before lunch, you’ll be most of the way there.

12. Have sex with a stranger

It’s been shown that making physical human contact with someone you don’t know can help you gain empathy, feel connected, and reduce stress. One way of achieving this is by having sex. It sounds old fashioned, but try to find someone to have the sex with. They just might be up for it. It will make you more productive too.

13. Keep a daily log

It’s been shown that logging all your life’s activities can give you sense of perspective. (It can also help reduce stress and increase productivity.) If you don’t already, carry a small notebook around and write down everything you do. It might seem tedious, but over time that list of things you do will have become a list of things that you have done. It will make you more productive.

14. Replace coffee with jumping jacks

It’s been shown that 60 seconds worth of jumping jacks can have a similar effect on the body as drinking a cup of coffee. Next time you’re considering a refill, stand up and blast out some jacks instead. You’ll wake yourself up, reduce your levels of stress, and feel more productive. (You’ll get a small workout in too!)

15. Drink a gallon of water every day

It’s been shown that water is the nectar of life, so drink it down dummy! No seriously, you should piss clear every night. If you’re not glugging water like it’s hour-72 of Burning Man, then you’re doing it wrong. Drinking water keeps you hydrated, reduces stress, and makes you more productive.

16. Destroy (or disable) your smartphone

It’s been shown that smartphones are more distracting than ever. The average user spends over 8 hours a day holding, touching, looking at, being near, bracing against, or using their smartphone. Next time you are feeling distracted: take a bucket, fill it with chlorine bleach, and dunk your smartphone in there. You might be surprised by the result.

17. The Two List Method to living life

It’s been shown that successful people use lists, so here is a useful exercise to help reduce stress and increase productivity. First, write out one list of all the things that you want to do in your lifetime. Be bold! The sky is the limit. Next, make a list of those things in your life you don’t want to do, but feel like you have to. Things motivated by guilt, expectation, or just plain inertia.

Now, rip away the bottom two-thirds of your first list and the top third of your second list. Do what’s left. Productive!

18. Spend one day per week in the fetal position

It’s been shown that the fetal position can evoke memories of your time in the womb; a time when you were cared and comforted for. When you physically get into this position it can bring those feelings rushing back, and with them, a flood of chemicals useful for increasing productivity and lowering stress. Pick a day–we like Sunday–to curl up and just lie there.

It’s been shown that putting your thoughts down on paper can help clarify your thoughts and spur new ideas. That’s why we suggest starting a blog with a medium-sized readership. Your readers will give you positive feedback on your thoughts and feelings. Best of all: it can lower your overall sense of stress and help you increase your levels of productivity.

20. Eat exclusively French cheese

This is a weird one but hear us out: it’s been shown that French cheese is… delicious! It also contains important chemicals for regulating stress. It might cost a little extra at the grocery store, but try swapping out your Velveeta for some Camembert. Your brain will thank you. Oh, and you might just feel a little more productive too.

21. Try coke

It’s been shown that many successful people rely on the drug cocaine to get results. Cocaine is a stimulating substance that gives you energy, drive, stamina, and the ability to withstand a direct punch to the face. If you want to tackle resistance and be more productive: cocaine. (This may not lower stress.)

22. Don’t microwave your food

It’s been shown that the rays inside your microwave are still not that well understood. We suggest avoiding the microwave to heat up your food. Frozen pizza? Throw it in the oven. Burritos can be heated on a fry pan. For everything else there is sous vide.

23. Make sustained eye contact with a child every single day

It’s been shown that eyes are the window to the soul, and it’s a fact that children have the purest souls of all. So find a kid, and just take 20–30 minutes a day to look at him for as long as his mother will allow. Believe it or not, it will lower your stress levels and help you feel more productive.

24. Listen to podcasts while watching a TED talk

This is more of a life hack, but you can save hours of time each day by combining your two favorite activities. Watch TED Talks with the closed captioning on and listen to your favorite productivity podcast as the same time. Pro-tip: Neuroscience TED Talks pair well with Tim Ferriss. Global poverty talks are great with Gary Vaynerchuk.

25. Pray

It’s been shown that successful people in the world pray every single day. You don’t have to be that spiritual or religious but it can lower your stress levels and increase your productivity. Set aside one or two hours per week to visit a temple, church or synagogue and get your demons out.

26. Have only one 25-minute meeting per week

It’s been shown that meetings are useless. We suggest blocking off your calendar except for one half-hour portion on Friday morning. Schedule all your meetings to fit in a 25-minute block of time. Use the remaining five minutes to take an ice cold shower.

You’ll lower your stress.

You’ll feel more productive.