Why Productivity Crashes And A 1-Minute Habit to Prevent it

Productivity Naturally Decreases If Unchecked. But A Simple 1-Minute Habit Can Keep It High

“One day a co-worker gave me a ride home from work. On our way home, his car suddenly choked and died. A look at his gas gauge told me he had plenty of gas. As we were shoving his stupid SUV off the road, I asked him what he thought the problem was. He said it was out of gas. When I told him his gas gauge was on full, he smiled and said “It’s always on full. It’s been broken for a year and stuck in that position.”

On our walk to the gas station, he said: “all things considered, it wasn’t really bad.”

“What do you mean?” I said

“Well, the car lasted for most of the day. It got me to work and almost home. That’s not bad. Shoot, it’s run out of gas while I was driving to lunch. That’s happened before.”

He continued “I’ve even had it run out of gas while driving on the freeway and it caused me to crash. Nobody died but there were lots of injuries.”

My co-worker was CRAZY. Right? No. Not so fast.

You see, here’s the surprising truth. You’re a lot more like my friend than you think. In fact, we all are.

Here’s why.

When it comes to willpower, our gauge is broke. And, based on how much we think we’ll accomplish tomorrow, our willpower gauge must be stuck in the full position too. Or at least we plan that way.

Dr. McGonigal, author of the Will Power Instinct, calls it the ‘Tomorrow Trap’. We imagine ourselves making heroic choices and taking herculean action tomorrow. But the truth is heroic choices and actions happen when willpower is high. Unfortunately, willpower steadily deteriorates over the course of the day. And all too often it unexpectedly crashes causing all our plans, productivity and goals crash too.


When plans ignore willpower's natural fluctuations it sets you up to fail

You might say my co-worker was crazy but think of how badly we manage willpower. On most days, we burn through willpower without refueling even during breaks and lunch periods. In fact, many folks eat things during breaks and lunches that burn their willpower faster.

Some folks even brag about the fact that they regularly run out of willpower. You've heard people say "I went home and crashed." Right?

Does that mean that they went home enthusiastically exercised, had a healthy meal then spent quality time with family? Not quite. Right?

It means they got home, collapsed into a recliner and binged while watching ESPN... political news or Orange Is The New Black. And simultaneously they binge on potato chips, pizza, and ice cream. Now that's a crash! Agreed?

Dr. McGonigal said "Once exhausted, you are left defenseless against temptation--or at least disadvantaged."

You see, ALL your goals, desires and dreams are guarded by willpower. And when willpower breaks down then your diet, exercise programs and productivity break down too.

The problem is worse because negative behavior doesn't just happen when you run out of willpower. It happens when you run low on willpower. Dr. Roy Baumeister: when your willpower is low... You become what researchers call a 'cognitive miser," hoarding your energy by avoiding compromises."

Cognitive Miser mode locks you into your comfort zone. It makes you mentally lazy. That's when you choose short-term pleasure over long-term gain. It’s when your work’s quality and productivity nosedive.

So how do you prevent willpower crashes and all the problems that come with it?

Well, let’s return to my friend’s stupid SUV with the broken gas gauge.

You can avoid all the problems simply by keeping fuel in your vehicle right?

That’s right but you should know…

Fuel burns faster than you think (and in little known ways).

With the SUV, it’s not just how long you drive (time) but also how fast you drive that determines how much fuel you burn.

It’s the same with your willpower.

The faster you go and the more you push yourself to get more done the more willpower you burn. Are you lounging through the day or are you working rapidly so you get more done?

Of course, heavier loads take more effort and consequently, they burn more fuel too. Are you tackling tough mental tasks?

When it comes to burning willpower we’ve only scratched the surface.

There are many, many more ways willpower is burned and very often it’s burned without your control, consent or knowledge.

How many of these willpower burning activities do you do daily?

  • Try to fit into a corp culture
  • Take stressful commute
  • Sit through boring meeting
  • Fight an impulse
  • Filter out distractions
  • Weigh competing goals
  • Make yourself do something difficult

Not only does your willpower burn with each of these activities but your willpower can also be hijacked and often it’s done by family, friends, and co-workers. Even YOU unknowingly hijack your own willpower (But that’s a story for another day).

Right now, it’s vital to know that willpower burns continuously, often secretly and the burn rate changes. Sometimes it burns slowly but at other times it burns at a lightning fast pace. So what’s the solution?

Thanks to a discovery by Willpower researcher Suzanne Segerstrom there’s a sensational solution.

What did she discover?

As the day progresses pressures to get more done, solve problems and resist distracts goes up but willpower goes down leading to WillPower Failure

As the day progresses, pressures to get more done, solve problems and resist distracts goes up but willpower goes down leading to WillPower Failure

Before Your Willpower Crashes You Get These Warning Signs

She discovered that willpower crashes have a biological signature. The biological signature of a Willpower crash is a series of brain and body changes that rapidly gather speed as they snowball into a CRASH.

It’s an amazing discovery because just as decoding DNA allows us to create DNA specific cures, we can use that biological signature to arrive at a cure to willpower crashes.

When you know the steps that snowball into a willpower crash, you can intercept them early and stop the crash saving your productivity, dreams, and desires.

The crash is the result of 2 opposing forces. As the day goes on, willpower goes DOWN. Yet pressure goes UP. You face the pressure to get more done, to handle problems, and resist temptations.

So as the day wears on, you have this building pressure until you reach this point…

Here’s the likely biological signature of a willpower crash:

Your body’s muscles become tense, heart rate races, and breathing becomes shallow and fast. You are stressed. You're most likely in fight-or-flight mode. Your brain and body are screaming for relief (from stress). Part of you is like a junkie needing a fix for a quick relief. At that point, guilty-pleasures are 10 times more appealing. Your instincts are pushing you towards a bad long-term decision. You have so much PRESSURE and have already burned through so much willpower that just a straw can break the camel's back.

What happens next? Your Will Power crashes.

So can we stop it? YES!


Now that we have the biological signature, we can intercept, prevent, and even reverse this repugnant process.

And I’m happy to tell you that I’ve found an easy 1-minute process that not only stops the willpower crash but REVERSES its negative reactions.

It lowers stress as it resets psychological factors and improves a slew of physiological factors. Instead of speeding up, your heart-rate slows down. Instead of tensing your muscles, you relax them. Instead of hyperventilating like a madman, you take deep relaxing breaths.

And that last line foreshadows a quick and easy 1-minute solution to this problem.

What is this process?

Introducing a 1-Minute Habit That Protects Productivity and Prevents WillPower Failure

It’s called the 2x Relaxing Breathing Process. It’s really simple.

You take deep breaths. First, you inhale for 4 seconds. Then you exhale for 8 seconds. So you exhale for twice as long as you inhale that’s why it’s called the 2x relaxed breathing process.

Dr. McGonigal essentially says these cycles of breathing in for 4 seconds then breathing out for 8 seconds for just a minute or two will improve your heart rate variability and set off a chain reaction of healthy responses… enough to reverse a downward spiral.

See! I told you it was simple. I’ve been using this method for a while and I get stronger every day. I love it. This quick process releases pressure, lowers stress and maintains forward momentum.

The good news is that I’ve found ways to make that 1-minute break not only extra effective but also consistently rewarding and even fun. How?

Well, I’ve turned it into a visually appealing 1-minute video that walks and talks you through the willpower boosting process. Would you like to see that video for free?

Click here to watch the 1-Minute video


Click to prevent willpower failure and protect your productivity

CLICK to prevent willpower failure and protect your productivity


One last tip. How often do you use it?

To get that answer let's return to my friend’s stupid SUV with the broken gas gauge. Since his SUV has a broken gas gauge and he doesn’t want to risk having to shove the SUV off the road how often should he refuel?

Frequently. Right?

Well, I recommend you use the 2x Relaxing Breathing Process frequently too. How frequently? I’d say do the process every 90 to 120 minutes. That frequency is based on advice from Former UCLA Professor Maurer, author of The Spirit of Kaizen.

Professor Maurer said “Research suggests that physical health and productivity are enhanced by honoring the body’s ultradian cycles, which occur in periods of about 90 to 120 minutes. The body can sustain its focus and energy for one of those cycles, but then it runs out of zip.”

Remember, each time you do the 2x Relaxing Breathing Process you’re unwinding the pressures that can snowball into a willpower crash. So use it frequently!