Fellow Seniors, Let’s Get Going!
A Facebook friend recently posted results of an extensive 2018 U.S.A study showing that the most productive age in human life is between 60 to 70 years of age. She joked that she had better get going.
The study intrigued me and I investigated further. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the second most productive stage for people is from 70 to 80 years of age. The third is from 50 to 60.
November seems the ideal month to talk about productivity. Winter is closing in, and it’s the easiest time to knuckle down and avoid distractions. With Thanksgiving dinner on the horizon and all the tasks involved with Christmas, though, there’s a lot to accomplish.
Last November I wrote a column about my top tips for getting things done. I still agree with all of them but want to embellish on a few. I’d also like to mention the “fun factor” which means that if you can make something enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it. For instance, if you love playing pickleball or hiking, exercise will be fun. And exercise not only helps our bodies but improves our memory and keeps our mind sharp, which leads to more productivity.
Here are five of my favorite productivity tips, some of which are based on advice from the charming doctor and You-tuber, Ali Abdaal.
1. Before going to bed, refine your “to do” list for the next day, highlighting the most important. Ali Abdaal prefers to do this in the morning, and humorously calls it his “morning dump,” but I find if I do it the night before, I think about it during those half-awake moments and sometimes get a jump-start on the hardest, creative challenges. If overloading your brain affects your sleep, however, the morning option might be a better choice for you.
I like to organize my day by difficult tasks first, leaving mundane chores for the end of the day when my creative juices have wrung dry. The act of making a list implies you’re serious about accomplishing tasks and eliminates the excuse of “I don’t have the time.” We have the time. We just need to prioritize. It also helps with motivation since we want to complete as much as possible on our lists.
2. Write down ideas or chores as soon as they pop into your head so you don’t forget them.
3. Limit your TV time. Ali Abdaal and I agree that TV is a huge time waster. I can get the weather and news updates on my phone or in the morning papers.
4. Stay focused. Don’t multitask, but concentrate on the task at hand. If this involves paper work, writing, or studying, follow the efficient Pomodoro Technique. Work 25-45 minutes and then take a break. If you’re the type of person who is motivated to stay on task if you have a buddy, search YouTube for “pomodoro study with me.” Play a recording of your buddy studying or doing paper work and stay motivated to do the same. Several of my writer friends enjoy having virtual study buddies like this.
5. Take care of your health. Eat healthy food, get enough sleep, and move. Taking care of your body also takes care of your brain, which will give you more energy, help you be more productive, and lift your mood.
The 2018 study revealed that the average age of Nobel Prize winners is 62 years old; the average age of the presidents of prominent companies in the world is 63 years; the average age of the pastors of the 100 largest churches in the U.S.A. is 71, and the average age of the Popes is 76 years.
For those of us in the second half of our life, this is a remarkable time. We have years of wisdom to share. So come on, fellow seniors. Let’s get going!