5 Steps to Designing Your World for Productivity and Recovery

Adam Menner
5 min readMay 28, 2020

Every overachiever loves the word “productivity.” We love the hustle and bustle life.

We wake up early, we have our morning routines, and we thrive on discipline. Like a high performing sports car, our fuel tanks can only hold some much fuel.

Unlike a sports car, humans only utilize one type of fuel source, stress.

Stress encompasses everything. Physiological and physiological stress are processed the same by the brain. A hard workout, an emotional breakup, or too much to do at work is all equal.

The brain and the body cannot distinguish between the two forms.

This is not very conducive for designing our world for productivity and recovery.

As a sports performance coach who works with high performing NBA players to CEO’s, myself, I use to think about recovery in terms of what I can do in the weight room or simply just programming a day off.

If you want to increase your productive and recover better, taking a global approach will elicit the best long-term results.

Below are the 5 steps to making this happen!

Step 1: Design Your Lifestyle

You want to create a world where finding success is easy.

What stressors in your world prevent you from staying on track?

Bruce Lee said this, “It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential.” The closer to the source, the less wastage there is.

I encourage you to think about the following;

How can I set up my world for success?

What can I get rid of that’s holding me up?

When do I wake up?

How do I wind down?

How do I design my home for relaxation?

How can I avoid multitasking and procrastination?

Am I hanging around negative people?

Where do I go to escape?

These are all critical questions to consider if you want to get more out of the work you are trying to pursue. You can’t execute if you’re running on an empty tank.

Step 2: Design Your Bathroom like The Ritz Carlton

Excuse me?

If you know, you know.

One of the greatest life experiences is staying at a Ritz Carlton. The “Ritz” is the gold standard of luxury, comfortability, and complete tranquility.

Especially the bathrooms.

The bathrooms are nothing short of spectacular.

When I would come home to my own bathroom, it was nothing but disappointment in comparison.

My mission was to do my best to recreate the Ritz experience at home.

I picked up some matching burgundy towels, rugs and shower curtains.

I bought reed diffusers, high end soap and a rainfall shower head. I bought a succulent plant to sit in there. I even included a wall mount for my iPad since most of these hotels have some ability to watch TV in the bathroom.

A little much? Presumably. I’ll tell you one thing, it downregulates my system more than any other method.

Don’t knock it until you try it.

Step 3: Take Your Resting Heart Rate

I take my HRV score every day. It gives me a snapshot of how my body is functioning on that day and how ready I am to handle stress.

HRV simply stands for heart rate variability. If you’re experiencing an elevated heart rate on a particular day, chances are, you might not get a lot done due to the accumulated stress levels.

Here’s how it works:

To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

Generally speaking, for adults, a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute (BPM) is considered too fast.

If you are experiencing an elevated heart rate I suggest you hold off on the more rigors tasks for that day to ensure you don’t incur too much stress.

For productivity’s sake, the name of the game is sustained effort over time.

Step 4 Implement “The Amish Hour”

I read this concept in the book called “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. In the book, he states to make the most of the unproductive time with productive meditation. I understand not everyone is into meditation.

Sean Light, former Lakers strength coach, call this the Amish Hour.

What does the Amish Hour include? This means no technology whatsoever. No computer, no iPhone, no TV, no music. Go for a walk, read, or embrace good conversation with friends and family.

I find this to be wildly helpful when I have spent a day inundated with technology and screens.

This will further help downregulate your system and add more fuel to your tank.

Step 5: When You’re Done, You’re Done

The endless desire of trying to do more plagues us all.

The most important concept you can grasp here is simple in nature but hard to abide by. When it’s time to shut it down, do yourself a favor and shut it down.

This starts with ending your work day at the same time every day. No emails, no internet, no to-do lists, no computer after that.

There will always be exceptions to this rule. However, if you’re adhering to this principle as closely as possible you will be better off in the long run.

Your brain needs some space each night to wind down, and it won’t get that if you have an as-much-as-possible work ethic. Limit yourself by quitting work and not checking email, or, even better, shutting down your computer, at the same time each day. This way, you’ll have a fixed slot of free time every day to recuperate.

Your mind will keep working below the surface, but you won’t burn yourself out by working around the clock.