Eating as a metaphor for productivity

I’ve been thinking about diet as a metaphor for the things I do every day. There are good and bad things I can eat, the same way that there are productive tasks that nourish my life as well as unproductive or even harmful things that diminish me.

Lean meats and vegetables are equivalent to work, study, organization, errands. Fruits might be enjoying the company of friends and loved ones, or working on a fun hobby. Watching TV might be a nice rack of BBQ ribs, and sitting on the couch playing video games like a zombie would be akin to stuffing doughnut after doughnut down your gullet.

Lately, I’ve noticed that keeping a steady, monotonous diet of one or two foods will kill my appetite. I eat less overall. This matches pretty closely with a study that shows a correlation between increased variety of foods and greater food consumption.

It seems to be the same with my daily tasks. If I spent all day watching TV (which I wouldn’t), I’d feel sick in the same way I’d feel after cleaning out a bucket of ice cream. If I worked and studied all day, I’d feel healthy and proud of myself the same way I would if I’d eaten lean meats and fibrous vegetables, but I’d also be dreaming about that bucket of ice cream.

The problem is that too much of one thing will kill my appetite for that thing. That’s not a problem with ice cream, since I don’t want to overeat empty calories or watch TV all day. However, if I want to be very productive at one thing (e.g. convert ColorMyWorld to iOS 7), eventually I get fatigued of the lack of variety, which isn’t too dissimilar from eating grilled chicken breast day-in, day-out.

I think the best productivity hack to keeping a healthy diet is to keep a wide variety of foods so that you don’t get tired or bored of any one meal. Different proteins, different preparations, different sauces, different vegetables. There’s room for fruit, of course; that’s important. There’s also room for occasional indulgences, if only to give yourself a mental break and not feel deprived. But if you want to eat healthy foods consistently, you can’t let yourself get bored, frustrated, or tired of healthy foods.

I’m feeling the same way about work and productivity. Doing one task for eight hours will fatigue anyone. I’ve found that switching between different productive tasks is a great way to keep productivity up while combating monotony. It’s important that I don’t get sick of ColorMyWorld, so I might switch to interview questions or learn about Auto Layout or watch Coursera lectures.

2 thoughts on “Eating as a metaphor for productivity

  1. Perhaps I can suggest that you consider a button to repost or share your blog posts to the usual social media channels. There may be an employer (or girlfriend) that feels strongly about your thoughts and would like to share them with with the universe. Doesn’t hurt to be have more visibility, and since you’ve posted your thoughts to this public forum already, no need to feel shy about being able to share with a bigger audience, right?

    Yours Truly,
    Miss Kitterson

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