Time Management: Learn the 5 Steps to Holistic Productivity Experience better time management with a holistic look at five areas of your life: diet, sleep, fitness, breathing and meditation.

By Adrian Shepherd

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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An entrepreneur's journey is one of constant discovery from learning how to manage teams to utilizing social media and from implementing new and innovative marketing strategies to learning how to scale. It's never an easy one.

Entrepreneurs must take calculated risks on a daily basis, especially in the Covid-19 world where everything has been turned upside-down. Companies and individuals alike have had to pivot to stay ahead of the game.

With the winds of change blowing stronger than ever, it's critical we have our entrepreneurial sails up and are able to navigate the treacherous waters ahead. That's why evergreen concepts such as leadership, sales, marketing and productivity are so valuable.

Related: 10 Incredible TED Talks About Time Management You Should Watch Right Now

Pick up nearly every book or course on productivity and you're bound to find a whole bunch of tips, strategies and tactics, and many of them incredibly powerful, but oftentimes they overlook health. According to a study done by Brigham Young University, employees with unhealthy diets were 66 percent more like to suffer a loss in productivity. Add to that the stress levels people are enduring in 2020, and it's easy to see the need for a more holistic approach to productivity.

Holistic productivity consists of five areas: diet, sleep, fitness, breathing, and meditation.


This one is near and dear to my heart (literally). Like many entrepreneurs do in their early days, I survived on ramen, tacos, grilled meat and regular trips to restaurants in the area. Building my business was my top priority so food was not even on my radar. I was, for lack of a better word, a typical guy. Then I met my wife, and everything changed, especially my diet. My wife made sure I ate a well-balanced meal. variety of vegetables for dinner and in a few short years my colds disappeared. For the first 35 years of my life, I was prone to catching colds, but for the past 11 years, I've been cold free. Food makes a difference.

Another aspect of our diet is water. Dehydration leads to irritability, heightened levels of stress, difficulty concentrating, impaired cognitive functions and more. Bad news for the coffee-lovers out there, caffeine is a no-no when it comes to peak performance. Instead, we need to boost our system with 3.7L of water a day for men, and 2.7L for women according to the National Academies of Sciences.

Takeaway: Eat healthier and hydrate more.


Arianna Huffington believes in the importance of sleep she wrote an entire book on the topic. Seems she's not alone with more and more fitness experts speaking out about the need for a good night's rest which consists of 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Sleep doesn't just recharge our batteries, but it releases important chemicals into the bloodstream needed for cell rejuvenation.

Takeaway: Sleep 7-8 hours a night.

Related: 8 Daily Time Management Habits of Effective Business Leaders


The F-word of productivity. Few people like going to the gym for an hour, jogging around the block, or just doing five chin-ups. Those people who hate working out will rely on the "I'm-too-tired" or the "I'm-too-busy" excuse as their get-out-of-jail-free card, but we all know the truth - they are too lazy to do it.

Fitness doesn't require an hour-long workout. It just requires some regular workout. High-performance coach Brendon Burchard talks about 20 minutes a day, done five days a week. The goal should be to make it excuse-proof. It's not how hard you do it, but that you do it. 10 minutes of yoga or stretching plus 10 push-ups followed by 2 minutes of planking will suffice. Nothing more. Find something that works for you and stick with it.

Takeaway: Establish a simple easy-to-do exercise routine.


Tony Robbins has talked about the power of physiology has over our emotional state for over 30 years and for good reason – it works. Breathing is one area that we are just starting to truly understand. It allows us to move from one state to another quickly. Through concentrated breathing we can induce a state of calm, boost our oxygen levels and give us a jolt of energy, or even reduce the amount of pain we experience simply through breathing.

Takeaway: Breathing allows us to control our state.

Related: 12 Productivity and Time-Management Books to Read this Summer


Single-minded focus allows us to tap into our potential. We are more distracted than ever thanks to our beloved smartphone and social media platforms. We have become addicted to the dopamine hits we get from them. Apple, Google, Nike, AOL Time Warner, Deutsche Bank and Proctor & Gamble are just a few of the companies that promote on-the-job meditation. Studies have shown that through the practice of meditation we can change the way our brain processes information and reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and even depression.

Takeaway: In a world of distraction, focus is a superpower.

Adrian Shepherd

CEO of iSucceed

Adrian Shepherd is a productivity consultant, author and speaker who works with individuals and organizations around the world. He has lived in Europe, America, Southeast Asia and Japan which has given him a truly global perspective.

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