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Pro Productivity Tip: Don’t Do What I Just Did…

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.

So, I’m rehabbing this tennis injury at the moment (trigger finger in both hands)… and it’s proving a pain in my butt.

It’s been almost 4 weeks, I haven’t been back on court and it’s taking forever to recover.

And do you know why I’m in this frustrating situation?

Because I didn’t follow my own simple advice… 🙈

I didn’t avoid getting injured.

I pushed myself too hard, got injured, didn’t heal, ramped up too quickly, tried to catch up, re-injured myself and now my downtime will be three times longer than it should be.

It’s a cycle that anyone who plays sport will be familiar with.

And it’s something the rest of us should think about too.

Because do you know what the top performers in every field of human endeavour have in common? The best students? The best athletes? The best entrepreneurs? The best artists? The best scientists? The best CEOs?

The top performers in every field aren’t always the most talented folks in that area. And they aren’t always the most focussed. Or those who want it the most.

The top performers in every field are the ones that wake up every day to keep putting one foot in front of the other. They’re the ones that unlock the full power of compounding…

They’re the performers that avoid burning out.

And do you know how they manage this magical feat of consistency?

It’s because the ONE thing all top performers have in common is they know how to STOP or take LESS action when it matters; they know how to ease OFF the gas when it counts.

Now, at this point you might be thinking something like “Oh, but Arthur, this doesn’t apply to me.” And I want you to know that that’s hogwash.

If you’re not a highly productive and motivated individual already then at some point (especially if you keep reading these updates) you will be.

And when that happens, you’ll discover that being a productivity powerhouse is addictive. You’ll keep cranking and optimising your system. You’ll raise your standards. You’ll push your limits. And at some point you’re going to burn out.

And that’s OK.

Because, let’s be honest, if you don’t overshoot what you’re capable of at least every once in a while then the odds are you aren’t trying hard enough.

But if you keep doing that again and again and again; if you have a tendency to work too hard, get sick, burn out and repeat and repeat and repeat…

THAT’s a problem.

And in the long term, it’s going to hold you back.

So what’s the best way to avoid getting injured?

Great question, I’m glad that you asked.

Because no matter which areas of life you struggle to work at consistently, there are many ways to make sure you don’t follow my lead.

You can do things like:

  • Check in on how you’re feeling every day via meditation or journalling;
  • Make time for proper breaks in-between working or training sessions;
  • Set back up and tiered goals to fall back on (see ch. 8 of TAoL’s Primer)
  • Track ABC days in your calendar (see ch. 7 of TAoL’s Primer); or
  • Monitor metrics like HRV, mood or energy in TAoL’s TRACKTION Planner.

But the best way to avoid getting injured is just to realise how important it is to just show up – and to show up consistently.

It’s to recognise that every time you drop everything to fight fires, every time you push yourself too hard for too long, every time you fly too close to the sun…

You’re setting yourself up for failure.

You’re setting yourself up to burn out.

And if you don’t want to follow my example, if you don’t want to suffocate your potential, if you care about great health or relationships or wealth or self-mastery then you NEED to prioritise NOT getting injured.

That’s one habit you have to stamp out.


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