Pineapple Productivity Principles - How To Do 4x As Much
What does the evidence say about productivity?
Do you want to have a social life, 8 hours of sleep, and good academic scores? Here’s a quick review of research-backed tips on efficient learning that can help you get there.
Working smarter is already a viral topic, but I’d like to look at the underlying evidence to separate the myths out from the good stuff. If we can find the small changes that work, it really pays off: the top 4% of performers are 4x more productive than average workers in anything from journal publications to NBA career points, rising to 6x in the top 0.2%.
About to Learn will focus on evidence-based methods to become a top performer.
To get started, let’s have a quick recap of what we know works, presented as the characteristics of a pineapple. This isn’t a full list of what to do by any means, but gives a great starting point for anyone looking to improve.
1. Pineapples Are Difficult to Crack
If learning isn’t hard, it’s slow.
Active Recall and Spaced Repetition are the best learning techniques (do multiple tests at least a week apart). By making your brain work harder they automatically prepare you for better learning. Turns out, we’re also pretty bad at judging how well we will perform: students who hated their introductory Calculus classes ended up performing better in advanced courses than their peers who got good grades initially.
Don’t worry if you struggle at first, because the struggle can boost future ability up to 2x.
2. Pineapples Are Healthy
Physical fitness is strongly tied to good academic performance.
Running is great for your brain, increasing brain volume and memory. There is also good reason to believe physical activity helps preserve your brain function in the long term, especially when combined with eating right (caloric restriction, antioxidants, maybe omega-3s). Running
Why not look great, but also boost your focus and brainpower? Even confidence itself can help you get more done, and being more attractive can’t hurt.
3. Pineapples Sleep A Lot
Sleeping solves (almost) all your problems.
Why We Sleep is a great introduction to this (but maybe take some findings with a grain of salt). Partial sleep deprivation lowers focus over time and has been linked to giving up more easily. If you think you’re a powerhouse on caffeine, just remember how you felt on a good night of sleep + caffeine - could you work fast enough to catch an extra hour of sleep every night?
If you want to see for yourself, try out a regular sleep schedule without an alarm for a week.
4. Pineapples Take Time To Grow
If you have a routine, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
There’s a reason books like Atomic Habits and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People have taken off. Incorporating any of the above techniques is most effective when you make them a habit: as normal human beings, we get demotivated a lot and so the best way to get stuff done is to skip the part where you ask “do I want to do this?”.
Using James Clear’s famous example, just a 1% improvement in performance each day for a year multiplies results 37x.
Make the small changes, let the big results take care of themselves.
If you like this, we’re going more in-depth into the evidence behind each of these points: subscribe to stay notified!