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Increasing your energy can help you defeat procrastination

Lack of exercise is a well-known cause of chronic fatigue. Research studies have found that of all people who visit doctors to complain about problems of fatigue, only about 20% require medical treatment. What about the other 80%? They suffer from the effects of a sedentary lifestyle-in the overwhelming majority of cases the cause of chronic fatigue is a lack of exercise. And people who complain of chronic fatigue also tend to be victims of procrastination.

When is your energy highest? Why do you think that is? Do you stay depressed for long periods? What foods give you energy? What foods slow you down? What foods and beverages help you sleep better? What foods and beverages rob you of sleep?

- Boost your energy. You're more likely to tackle the jobs you've been putting off when you feel energized. The best way to increase your energy level is by exercising regularly. More energy in your life will make the tedious jobs less tedious because you become better at getting them done. The more energy you have, the faster you get them done and the better you feel about yourself.

- Monitor your habits and lifestyle. I am working on this article at a stand-up desk. Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe are just a few of the writers who discovered that they worked faster and better while standing. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a stand-up desk that he designed for himself. A stand-up desk keeps my posture right-and it keeps me focused on my work without squirming around as I tend to do when I'm seated for extended periods of time. A high stool lets me alternate between sitting and standing. I'm amazed at how my productivity and concentration have increased since I started to use a stand-up desk.

- Be grateful you have the opportunity to do the hard jobs. I think about the woman who finished a regulation 26.2-mile marathon at the age of 92. It's easier to do things you normally dread when you're conscious of your blessings; be grateful you have the opportunity to do the hard jobs. When you see things in their proper perspective, your time is too precious to be squandered in a life of procrastination.

- Research shows that certain foods contribute to deep sleep. I have always been a sound sleeper. Here are some of my favorite late-night foods: bananas, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, and potatoes. I also know what foods and beverages keep me tossing and turning at night; when I indulge in them after dark I pay the price the next day-my energy is low. Pay attention to what works for you.

Following a regular exercise program, eating the right foods, alternating between sitting and standing, and doing some simple stretching during the day-all of these techniques keep my energy high. And when I feel energized, I'm less likely to fall into the procrastination game. As the American humorist Will Rogers said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."


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