How do you stay productive?

Sovuti Fan's picture
Rank: Baboon | 167

My fellow monkeys,

What do you do to keep yourself productive at work? I usually feel my productivity significantly diminishes after 3pm (even after my second cup of coffee around 1 ish at lunch). I try to drink tea in the afternoon to keep myself awake, or I just take 10mins to go for a stroll. However, the results aren't optimal and I wish I could have the energy I have in the morning so I could get more things done.

As a reference, I eat pretty healthy and clean. Also, I have a morning routine of waking up earlier to exercise for 7,8 mins and mediate for 10 mins. So, rather than dietary or exercising, please let me know if you do anything differently (what worked for you) to stay productive during the day with the long-hour work schedule. Much appreciated!!

Comments (83)

Feb 11, 2017

How much sleep are you getting?

Feb 12, 2017

Probably 6 hours of sleep on average

Feb 18, 2017

For me, the main factor is desk time. If I am behind a desk all day, my productivity starts flagging around hours 6-7, similar to your experience. When I am in the field, actively running around, I can easily put in 12-13 hours days. Meetings have the opposite effect; if I have a day of back-to-back meetings, I get burned out very quickly.

Exercising a few days a week, keeping hydrated, and sleeping 8 hrs a night make me vastly more productive on average. When I sleep less than 7 hrs my productivity takes a huge hit.

Feb 12, 2017

Amphetamines

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Feb 12, 2017

Drink a decent amount of water. I also liked to avoid staying at me desk all the time. If your office allows you, try working standing. Otherwise, a stroll and fresh air is nice.

Anything to change your mind a bit helps. During my previous internship another intern and I would take a 10 min break around 4-5pm and play a quick foosball/table soccer game. Made the long hours somewhat more manageable.

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Feb 12, 2017

Definitely agreeing with you on staying hydrated because sometime you just need to get up and use the bathroom haha

Feb 12, 2017

And let's face it, a bathroom break is still a break

Feb 17, 2017

How long have you been hobby mediating? Do you do civil disputes only or professional/business, too? Are you successful in keeping your clients out of court? Does exercising beforehand help with the mediation?

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Feb 17, 2017

not nice

Feb 17, 2017

It's none of your goddamn business, Ricky. If you must know, Randy and I were rehearsing for a play for the Blandford Recreation Centre next Thursday.

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Feb 17, 2017

Legit take conference calls while I run or ride my motorcycles.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Best Response
Feb 17, 2017

I listen to darude - sandstorm on repeat

Feb 17, 2017

I sneak out to Equinox around the corner and take a 15 minute snooze on the couch. Does wonders.

Feb 17, 2017

I try to start around 6.30am (energy trading) as I hate working gone 5.30pm; gives me a chance to compile analysis/thoughts for the other traders

Also try and take a 10 minute walk around lunch to get some fresh air

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Feb 17, 2017

The thought of not finishing my work and it piling up terrifies the shit out of me... so I force myself to stay productive.

Feb 17, 2017

StayFocusd offered by Transfusion Media. Block WSO for X hours.

Feb 17, 2017

Take as much sleep as you need to wake up without an alarm clock.

Feb 17, 2017

I take 5 minutes to contemplate how I don't want to live in a van down by the river. That usually seems to wake me up.

Feb 17, 2017

Mini breaks every 2 hours, to take a walk and organize your toughts. Good luck!

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Feb 12, 2017

Awesome, lots of great ideas here. I think taking small breaks and remind yourself of why you are there (assume you worked really hard to get there) are some of the key takeaways here.

Feb 17, 2017

Ya.... Reminding urself why you are there works in theory, not in practice.

Feb 18, 2017

Water's huge, and the bathroom break point is great. We have more sedentary lifestyles than relief pitchers in a bullpen, so getting on your feet is huge.

Also, depending on how social your office is, try to have a quick 2-minute chat with colleagues who are good at banter. Banter is not gossip, you're looking for some laughs and some sharp dialogue, not bogged down complaining which leaves you more tired than when you started. I know some analysts hate it when people swing by, but honestly I'll rarely to never tell someone I can't talk for a minute unless there's an absolute fire drill; quick wit does wonders for keeping the mind sharp.

Feb 18, 2017
  1. As a wise MD once said, "eat light, feel right." Don't eat 1,500 calories lunches and don't overdo it on carbs or you're going to crash in the afternoon.
  2. Buy a nice water bottle and refill it 2-3 times a day.
  3. Get off the desk as often as you can without raising any eyebrows. I try to make a lap around the floor once an hour. If you are drinking 36-48 oz of water a day, you'll have to pee this often anyway, especially if you're drinking coffee as well.
  4. I keep a bottle of Muscletech multivitamins at my desk and take one each day after each meal. Might be a placebo effect, but I think they do help my energy remain more consistent throughout the day.
Feb 18, 2017

I put a picture of the Cleveland skyline in my cubicle with a note above it saying, "if you don't pickup the pace they'll ship you off to the Cleveland office."

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Feb 12, 2017

Hahaha nice

Feb 20, 2017

LMAO

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Feb 18, 2017

A lot of people in my team took adderall to stay productive ... like 30% did for sure. I found out when it was too late. I tried some and hated it, but perhaps this is the secret that many are not sharing. I realized that perhaps I wasn't less productive - others just had an unfair advantage given their drug use.

Feb 20, 2017

Get good headphones with a microphone.

Feb 20, 2017

It's not possible, at least if you are doing quant analytics.

Post on WSO during the day and get your work done after the close after everyone has gone home.

Feb 20, 2017

Focus a lot of your energy during the early mornings / late evenings when things are not as rowdy and/or people have cleared out.

Or just get some decent headphones, preferably the noise-cancelling big ass kind.

Feb 20, 2017

Is it okay to wear headphones? I feel like the interacting with co workers are also vital to the job so if I wear headphones I won't be able to interact and not making any good relationships?

Feb 20, 2017

During trading hours you have to be available i.e., be able to hear when people shout for you across the room. After, go nuts on headphones. Also, I try to do all menial part of my job (e.g., modelling, organising things...) during trading / busy hours and intense reading of illegals etc. after.

Feb 20, 2017

What is your job exactly? Wtf is face-time, seriously....?
No 80% of the time it is not really ok to wear headphones unless you are doing quant analytics or so and can sit in a corner.

After 1 week you start to learn to phase out the noise and crap, unless you care about face-time wait in trading no gives a crap about face-time, never use that term again.

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Feb 20, 2017
marcellus_wallace:

After 1 week you start to learn to phase out the noise and crap, unless you care about face-time wait in trading no gives a crap about face-time, never use that term again.

Feb 20, 2017
marcellus_wallace:

What is your job exactly? Wtf is face-time, seriously....?
No 80% of the time it is not really ok to wear headphones unless you are doing quant analytics or so and can sit in a corner.

After 1 week you start to learn to phase out the noise and crap, unless you care about face-time wait in trading no gives a crap about face-time, never use that term again.

Watch out chaps, we have internet hardman here.

Feb 20, 2017
marcellus_wallace:

What is your job exactly? Wtf is face-time, seriously....?
No 80% of the time it is not really ok to wear headphones unless you are doing quant analytics or so and can sit in a corner.

After 1 week you start to learn to phase out the noise and crap, unless you care about face-time wait in trading no gives a crap about face-time, never use that term again.

Watch out chaps, we have an internet hardman here.

Feb 20, 2017

I'm against headphones--you need to be aware of what's going on the floor during market hours and it's pretty disrespectful. You can't be productive 100% of the time but when you have downtime, read internal research, keep up with what's going on in the market, play around with Bloomberg terminal or self-study whatever financial math/topics are germane to your desk. Shoot the shit with the senior traders but don't be that guy on youtube whenever everyone else is working.

Feb 20, 2017
blender:

I'm against headphones--you need to be aware of what's going on the floor during market hours and it's pretty disrespectful. You can't be productive 100% of the time but when you have downtime, read internal research, keep up with what's going on in the market, play around with Bloomberg terminal or self-study whatever financial math/topics are germane to your desk. Shoot the shit with the senior traders but don't be that guy on youtube whenever everyone else is working.

Beat me to the punch.

Feb 20, 2017

From time to time, if you have a really important deadline, headphones are fine. It should be the exception, not the rule.

Part of the value-add of being on trading floor for your career is keeping apprised of what's going on. The market buzz you can get from being there is quite valuable.

Feb 20, 2017

Do you have a history of bipolar disorder or depression in your family? This sounds Bipolar Type II.

"This is the business we've chosen"!

Feb 20, 2017
Hyman Roth:

Do you have a history of bipolar disorder or depression in your family? This sounds Bipolar Type II.

Nah. And even if I did, I wouldn't get diagnosed because fuck the government knowing my shit. I'm a really happy person and I fucking love life. I do have a long history of alcoholism in my family though and I have an addictive personality. Don't know whether that's a cause or an effect.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Feb 20, 2017

I'm at 500%. Beat that.

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Feb 20, 2017
MissMoneyPenny:

I'm at 500%. Beat that.

Shut up. This is a serious thread for serious people.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Feb 20, 2017

How do you measure yourself as a person?

Feb 20, 2017

Same as you OP. Made it through banking and I'm on the buyside now.

Feb 20, 2017

We're probably the same person.

I live a roller-coaster life that is hard for people to relate to. Extreme up where I am more productive than anyone I know but also extreme downs where I don't do anything but fuck around and anxiously await for the stress to get met motivated. The guilty feeling when I am not being productive is sometimes overwhelming but I have friends who tell me to chill the fuck out and enjoy the present; going out on weekends helps blow off excess energy.

My theory is that the stuff we're doing (academia, side-jobs) doesn't fully satisfy our attention spans. I know from personal experience that once I find something I'm into, I'm fully consumed by whatever it is which negates that feeling of guilt. But for now, we're in college which requires an awkward amount of focus/time/effort/brain-power so it's hard to be fully consumed by something, especially when you've figured out how to cram academics efficiently.

I've found that the times that I have been the happiest throughout college is when I overload myself with activities that I am obligated to complete. I stay in a constant state of productivity because I have to, I work hard enough to where I am able to mentally justify going out on the weekends / lounge around the house and I produce better work/grades because I don't have time to procrastinate and bitch about the work that needs to be done; it just gets done. An analogy would be highway driving is better for cars than city driving; fuck the stop and go, let's just keep going and only stop when we have to.

I think it's a maturity thing but I also think that it's a blessing within a curse because we have the motors to do more than other people.

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Feb 20, 2017

Haha I do this shit too.

Feb 20, 2017

I am the same way, and Dedline's post basically nailed it in terms of my personal experiences and perspectives.

Feb 20, 2017

@"Dedline" Right on, one in the same.

On top of that, every time I am in a period of low productivity and stress I question how much value I add in my position and wonder how I am even worth paying - flip side, during periods of insane productivity I come up with innovative ideas and finish work so efficiently that I wonder how I am not considered of higher value and being paid more.

The whole thing is fucking wild.

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Feb 20, 2017
MacGruber:

@Dedline Right on, one in the same.

On top of that, every time I am in a period of low productivity and stress I question how much value I add in my position and wonder how I am even worth paying - flip side, during periods of insane productivity I come up with innovative ideas and finish work so efficiently that I wonder how I am not considered of higher value and being paid more.

The whole thing is fucking wild.

Good to see I'm not alone with my crazy rollercoaster trips

Feb 20, 2017

I am very similar but do not hit either of the extreme ends of the scale that you described. In low periods of productivity I am still more productive than many of my friends/ the general uni populace but I only do what I am committed to do such as my uni work, my paid work and my extra curriculars. I then get smashed both nights of the weekend and do very little exercise and play lots of computer games.

On the other end of my scale I do that of which I am committed to do but I start exercising a lot more, stop drinking, uninstall computer games and start reading/looking for intellectual things to fill my time with.

I'd love to find a balance, the source of which I think is to phase activities out or in over time (not that I have tried yet);
that is to say I am currently in a productive phase that has just begun, so in about 4 weeks time I will likely phase alcohol back in for 1 night a week and then maybe a bit later phase in computer games on the weekend.

Feb 20, 2017

15 Minute naps are key

Feb 20, 2017

Did you use your extra 15 minutes to write this post

"There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can't do business from there." - Colonel Sanders

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Feb 20, 2017

Ha good one! But no, not in banking anymore....am living the good life in an exit-op. Hence, the lunch time post.

Feb 20, 2017

This may give you some inspiration: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/ped-gpas-sho...

Feb 20, 2017

Maybe also look into an app called "[email protected]"

Feb 20, 2017

I thought it was fairly well established at this point that the ppl with the inspirational quotes at the bottom of their email are all serial killers.

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Feb 20, 2017

Yeah, I sort of like my job but am not thrilled with actual 'finance' stuff and can't focus on studying for my exams. I literally have to set a clock and make sure that I do a certain amount of work / time. Some subjects...politics or global affairs...I can look at until my eyes are bloodshot. I've torn through dozens of CRS reports in an afternoon and can literally call out the debate points (and beat them) of public figures in real time when I watch C-Span, but can't finish one model without getting up to get coffee or ADD some way. This shite is boooooooring.

Methinks a career change is coming, sometime next year. Bye bye excel, so long bloomberg, adios mind numbing numbers. Hello large concepts and human interaction.

Feb 20, 2017
UFOinsider:

Yeah, I sort of like my job but am not thrilled with actual 'finance' stuff and can't focus on studying for my exams. I literally have to set a clock and make sure that I do a certain amount of work / time. Some subjects...politics or global affairs...I can look at until my eyes are bloodshot. I've torn through dozens of CRS reports in an afternoon and can literally call out the debate points (and beat them) of public figures in real time when I watch C-Span, but can't finish one model without getting up to get coffee or ADD some way. This shite is boooooooring.

Methinks a career change is coming, sometime next year. Bye bye excel, so long bloomberg, adios mind numbing numbers. Hello large concepts and human interaction.

I hear you on this. I've been kicking around studying for the FSO test. Might have to try it in a few years.

Feb 20, 2017

.

Feb 20, 2017

Stop slacking off and do some work

Feb 20, 2017

Advice? Yes:

JDimon:

Stop slacking off and do some work

Feb 20, 2017

I find having little distractions makes it impossible to focus. Also, take little breaks every so often. That means turning off music, flipping your phone face down, and exiting all internet tabs that aren't crucial to what you're doing. It also helps to be in a quieter place, so if your bullpen's a noisier one, maybe find an empty conference room for when you're trying to focus. I try to do about 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of dicking around, and then repeat the cycle. The hardest part is probably keeping your breaks to just 5 minutes, but in the end, it just comes down to forcing yourself to do it.

Feb 20, 2017

Stick your head down and work, or change careers and do something you like. There is heaps of other people willing to step in and take your job who will love it, or pretend to love it.

Otherwise go get an ADD diagnosis and an adderall script from a doctor.

Feb 20, 2017

I totally empathize. I consider myself really intelligent, smarter than most of my classmates, but most of them have "done" more things than me, simply because I just find it so hard to motivate myself to go out and do things that I'm not required to do. Yet I'm able to spend hours reading about current events, reading the Economist, etc.

Feb 20, 2017

This same thing has been hindering me for years. I've taken meds for 6+ months now, and my whole life has turned around; med school to IBanking (and this website), school is a breeze. It's like Me 2.0. At the very least, go to a legit doctor (or 2) and see what they say. So that's my bit.... and what do I know. Compared to all these guys on this site, I'm infantile. Take what I say with a grain of salt, and good luck. I can say that I for one know what you're going through... it's obnoxiously frustrating to look at the world around you and know that you have more mental capabilities than everyone; and yet you cannot harness them for everything (i.e. Marko's post above^). Don't give up, you'll figure it out. PM me if you'd like to talk about it..... I'd love to hear what you do as I might be able to learn from your experience.

Feb 20, 2017
kraziazi:

This same thing has been hindering me for years. I've taken meds for 6+ months now, and my whole life has turned around; med school to IBanking (and this website), school is a breeze. It's like Me 2.0. At the very least, go to a legit doctor (or 2) and see what they say. So that's my bit.... and what do I know. Compared to all these guys on this site, I'm infantile. Take what I say with a grain of salt, and good luck. I can say that I for one know what you're going through... it's obnoxiously frustrating to look at the world around you and know that you have more mental capabilities than everyone; and yet you cannot harness them for everything (i.e. Marko's post above^). Don't give up, you'll figure it out. PM me if you'd like to talk about it..... I'd love to hear what you do as I might be able to learn from your experience.

So you started taking adderall?

Feb 20, 2017

I can't concentrate in a noisy room, when some people are peeping me but pretending talking. I secretely want to stick a needle in their eye.

The Auto Show

Feb 20, 2017

This describes me for the past few years. Up until around high school I was able to focus on school without problems. Since then, it's just gotten worse and worse and has spread to just about everything I am not interested in.

Feb 20, 2017

highly consider adderall. Especially if you're already intelligent, it will make you immensely more productive/valuable.

Feb 20, 2017

I'm the same exact way. you most likely have some sort of attention deficit issue. Should you take adderall? I dunno, it's up to you and your doc to decide - but remember, you will be taking AMPHETAMINE to medicate.

"Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them." - Bud Fox