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A Life of Productivity’s Chris Bailey. Photo: Chris Roussakis

Productivity expert Chris Bailey’s research methodology is unconventional. The Ottawa-based writer’s past experiments include watching 70 hours of TED Talks over seven days, living like a complete slob for a week and meditating for five hours a day.

Bailey is happy to use himself as a test subject to try any “lifehack” promoted on the blogosphere by purported management gurus. He shares the results on his blog, A Life of Productivity.

His most meaningful discovery of 2015 came from a relatively tame stunt: Bailey became a vegetarian for 60 days. He also cut out processed foods and made a conscious effort to eat his food slowly. He set micro-goals like eating vegetables and hummus instead of chips and beer during hockey games. In the process, he ended up losing 10% of his body fat. The overarching lesson, he says, is that learning to manage your energy is the cornerstone to becoming more productive. What you eat determines how much energy you have over the course of the day, says Bailey, and that will determine how you use those precious hours.

Bailey doesn’t believe lifehacking should be about finding ways to power through more and more tasks during a 90-hour workweek. His view on what constitutes true productivity is a bit softer. “A really productive day is achieving what you intend to. Do you feel like being lazy on the beach? That’s productive!”

We need to stop thinking like workers on an assembly line, producing the most widgets in the smallest number of hours, he says. “Today it’s about doing the right things and doing those tasks deliberately, with intention.”

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