Tag Archives: Exercise

How History’s Most Famous People Scheduled Their Day Doesn’t Matter

Last month, there was a chart that was making its way around showing how some of the most famous creative people scheduled their day.

To be perfectly honest, how they scheduled their day should have little to no effect on how you schedule your day. I appreciated that some articles (like the one from Mic) acknowledged part of the issue:

Since the greats examined here were already generally well-off and moderately successful before the peak of their careers, it’s hard to tell whether the schedules helped them reach success or were a product of it.

The sentence that follows is the most important of the article:

But what is clear is that the vast majority spent large stretches of time doing intellectual and creative work on a regular basis.

Trying to plan how you should spend your day based on how da Vinci or Picasso spent their days is ludicrous. They lived in a completely different time than we do. More than that, the ways that they schedule their days might not be the most advantageous way for you to structure your day. That is, maybe you’re not an early riser — maybe you’re a night owl. Or maybe you’re a hybrid in that some days you stay up late and some days you wake up early.

As the article in Mic alludes to near the end, but doesn’t outright say, there are only two important things to consider here: sleep and exercise. Time and time again, research has shown positive correlations between sleep and creativity and exercise and creativity. If you want to be creative, there’s a better chance that you’ll be successful if you get enough sleep and you get some exercise. Everything else is optional.

No-Vacation Nation: What Kind of Balance Do You Want?

Way back in February, I wrote a post about a 25-hour workweek that used data from the OECD. This data showed the paid vacation and paid holidays for OECD nations. In particular, this data showed the requirements for paid vacations and paid holidays for some of the OECD countries. There’s been an update to the data, so I’ve included the graphic below:

You may notice a couple of things. First, it looks very similar to the first one that I embedded back in February. The second thing you may notice… the United States continues its perseverance in not mandating paid vacation. Every time I see data like this, I’m astonished that one of the wealthiest countries in the history of the world doesn’t see fit to require that its people are required to have vacation. Of course, the lack of vacation probably contributed to the US becoming one of the wealthiest countries in the history of the world, but what good is all that wealth if you can’t enjoy it? What good is money if you’re took sick to spend it?

The declining state of health probably had something to do with the separation of one’s mental health from one’s body’s health, but the lack of vacation has probably accelerated it. Of course, just because vacation isn’t mandated by the government doesn’t mean that companies don’t offer it. In order to stay competitive, companies have to offer their employees vacation or they’ll work elsewhere. That being said, there’s a pervasive culture of overworking yourself in the US. Not only on a national-level (lack of holidays), but also at the employee-level.

Take a peak inside a big firm and you’ll often hear about employees who participate in the game of one-upmanship in trying to see who’s worked more in a given week. “I worked 60 hours last week trying to get this report finished for a client.” “Yeah, well I worked 65 hours last week finishing a report…”

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At first, one may say that this is putting people and the culture way out of balance. Well, one would be wrong. Balance has a way of maintaining an equilibrium. That is, balance will always be balance. Confused? Think about it like this: stand up from your chair. Are you standing? Good. Right now, you’re balanced. You have some of your weight on your left foot and some of your weight on your right foot. Balanced. Now, shift your weight to right. You’ll notice that you didn’t fall over, right? You simply have more weight on your right side than on your left side. Balanced. Now, lift your left foot off the ground. All of your weight is currently on your right foot. You’re still balanced, right? Now, begin to bend at the waist to outstretch your right arm forwards… while stretching your left leg backwards. At some point, you may fall over in attempting to do this. That’s okay because I’m sure you get the picture by now.

At each stage of this exercise, you’re body was balanced. You were balanced when you were standing straight, you were balanced when your weight was on your right foot, you were balanced when you lifted your left foot, and you would have been balanced had you been able to outstretch your right arm and left foot. It’s simply a question of what kind of balance do you want. Do you prefer the balance where you’re standing comfortable with both feet on the ground? How about the balance where you’re lifting one foot off of the ground?

While the lack of mandated vacation in the US may seem like there’s no balance, there has to be. It just might be manifesting itself in different ways. You have a choice — what kind of balance do you want?

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Note: if you’re looking for a creative way to add more vacation days to the US, how about making every religious holiday a national holiday?

Are You Feeling Stuck on a Project?

The short answer: go get some exercise.

The longer (and slightly tangential) answer: Get out of the house. Leave the office. Get a change of scenery. Head down to the beach. Walk to the park. Some people like to say that our outside reality is a reflection of our inside reality. So, if your stuck on a project (can’t think of what to do next), then it’s possible that your workspace may also be ‘messy.’ By cleaning up your workspace, it may ‘clear up space’ in your head to allow you to think of what to do next in the project.

Back to the shorter answer: exercise. This is similar to the longer answer in that having your physical workspace (untidy) may be having an effect on your mental workspace. Let’s say someone is stuck on a project. They can’t quite connect the dots on something. They try and try and try by staring at the project materials to consider what the next avenue may be. Essentially, they’re stuck and can’t . By going and exercising, this person could shake-up their physical environment, which would have a cascading effect on their mental environment. There’s than I’m willing to get into this morning, but the next time you’re feeling stuck on a project, consider going for a walk, a run, a swim, or some other form of exercise.

Golf is a Sport

I’ve been in Toronto and Ottawa for the last couple of weeks and have had the opportunity to experience some of the “” hitting this region. During this time, I had the chance to ‘hit the links.’ While I wouldn’t consider myself ready for the , I like to think that I can hold my own and at least keep up with the pace of the average amateur golfer. The thing that struck me the most: golf – by nearly any definition of the word – is a sport.

In preparation for this post, I looked at a number of definitions of the word sport:

– A sport is an organized, competitive, entertaining, and skillful activity requiring commitment, strategy, and fair play, in which a winner and loser can be defined by objective means. Generally speaking, a sport is a game based in physical athleticism.

– An athletic activity requiring skill of physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

– Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.

– (1) Physical activity engaged in for pleasure (2): a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in

From my perspective, any one of these definitions would qualify golf as a sport. As a matter of fact, one of them even uses golf as an example!

It seems that I’m not the first person to consider whether or not this particular activity should be qualified as a sport. A few years back, someone wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled: “” While his title was a bit of a giveaway, I still read through to try to understand his opinion. There is also a scientific angle to this debate, which was taken by the author of the article entitled: “.” From the article:

Subjects walking and carrying their clubs burned 721 calories per round, while the lazy folks in the carts burned just 411. Surprisingly, there was no difference in carrying clubs versus using a push cart, so save your back and rent the cart.

These numbers are important because the article later cites the calories burned of other activities that are less than those burned while playing golf.

As I think back to carrying my clubs for 3000 yards (and that’s a small course), I couldn’t imagine having to do this for 4 straight days (typical weekend tournament for golf) and still having the energy and focus to play well on Sunday afternoon. Golf is a sport. Golf requires a practicable skill and physical exertion. I can’t imagine someone who is (really) out of shape trying to play in a weekend golf tournament where they are required to carry their clubs. Playing 72 holes is a whole-body experience. Everything from your head to your toes is used to ensure you are playing your best.

I suppose there may be some folks who think that the pro golfers (who have caddies) have it easy, then, right? Because they don’t have to carry their clubs, they really aren’t getting the full effect of “golf as a sport.” Well, that might be the case. They might burn a bunch more calories if they carried their bags, but even to walk 7000 yards [A typical professional golf course of 18 holes will have around 7000 yards and that’s just the yardage from the tee to the pin, which wouldn’t include all the other walking to the ball (if it’s not in a straight line to the hole), around the ball, etc.] and multiply that by 4 days… that’s nearly 30,000 yards. If we include the other extraneous walking and bump the number to 40,000 yards, that translates to more than 22 miles walked in a Thursday-Sunday tournament. All the while, these golfers are stopping to hit their ball and mentally plan their shots.

Golf is a sport.