To me productivity is a state that can be attained if the relevant variables are modified into their proper states. I find it ridiculous when some seemingly intelligent enough writers complain about writer’s block, or seemingly intelligent-enough programmers complain about having periods of unproductivity and saying things to the effect that this type of thing just happens and you have to deal with it.
To me the above is simply intellectual laziness. There is a reason why you are not productive; you can find it if you look hard enough, and find a solution for it.
One such challenge in my life used to be what I called “morning downtime”. It is the fact that in the past, I used to spend 2-3 hours every morning doing basically nothing, because I couldn’t find the motivation to do anything. I would spend my time helplessly browsing random sites since I couldn’t find anything better to do. After a few hours of this, I would slowly “wake up”, my mind would slowly realize that I am a person with goals in life and interesting stuff to do.
I tried various things to cure this downtime issue, from cold showers, to having tons of caffeine on an empty stomach, to trying various supplements, to working out early in the morning. None of these had any noticeable effects; except one thing: Vitamin D3.
I’ve found that 2000 to 4000 IU of vitamin D3 is enough to put me in state where my mind is fully “online” just 20 minutes after waking up, in which I’m completely ready to resume working on a project I was working on the night before. The 4000 IU works better than 2000, but I wouldn’t recommend going beyond that as too much vitamin D3 is not a good thing.
This is an amazing finding for me. It solved my “continuity” problem, the problem that I would wake up in the morning and barely recognize who I was the night before. During the night, I would have a thousand different ideas in mind and the motivation to work on all of them at the same time, but in the morning the world would be bland and colorless, sometimes until the late afternoon.
One thing else I do to further beat morning downtime is to have 500 ML of whole milk with another simple food (such as peanut butter). Milk has vitamin D3, which may be one of the reasons why it helps (I know this contradicts what I said earlier about not having too much D3); but I think having a delicious 1000 calorie meal early in the morning releases a lot of dopamine which further enhances creativity and the desire to do things.
This, then, is the story of how I beat morning downtime. You do not have to let life control you. If you are serious about having a productive life, try new things all the time and you may just find the thing that works for you. Almost every supplement and every creative productivity solution I try fails completely. But the keyword here is “almost”. Every year I find a few things that do work; and a few of these things is all I’ve needed to be consistently productive from the morning till late at night.