People love talking about productivity hacks (a.k.a. productivity porn). The “hacks” usually range from the latest tools (todo-lists, email clients) to workflow improvements.

As someone who have paid attention to this for the last decade, and spent far too much time experimenting with these “hacks.” Today, I can say one thing with confidence: Unless you get the basics right, these hacks won’t matter. They might marginally improve your productivity, but they won’t get you the productivity boost you’re looking for.

So what’s the secret to high productivity? drumroll

  • Get your sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthy
  • Bonus: Cut out alcohol

If you get these things right, the rest will follow. The mental clarity from a good night’s sleep with multiple hours of deep sleep will run circles around all the other productivity hacks you’re experimenting with.

I know that it’s not what you were looking for. Everyone wants a magic pill or tip that allows them to have the cake and eat it too.