5 productivity lessons my thyroid taught me

My Thyroid — actually the subsequent Thyroidectomy I had in October 2010 — has been perhaps the most prolific productivity teacher in my life thus far. The farther I get away from the surgery the more I’ve come to realize the productivity lessons from the whole thing.

I had to bring many things to a cold hard stop and then turn things back on in my life switch by switch like bringing up a server farm or a data center. Ultimately, I am realizing the benefits and seeing how it has been a catalyst for positive change.

Here are the five productivity lessons my Thyroid taught me:

  1. Centralize your information. I had a lot of information to capture and track on all things Thyroid. Evernote played a major role here. It became my central repository for notes and important information for all my major personal and professional projects. I also now keep a folder on each of my personal and freelance projects. Taking a multi-device approach to storing certain information has made me feel on top of things more than once in the past year. I am really enjoying the Clearly plugin for Chrome to capture my online research. In fact, it is becoming a rare occasion when I use the Evernote extension except if I need to capture a web page intact for some reason.
  2. Sometimes two reminders are better than one. I have to take Thyroid medication every morning and I am not a morning person by any means. After my alarm clock sounds, I get a reminder thanks to Google Calendar to take my medication. Just in case I’m locked in a Walking Dead Zombie State, a follow up reminder from NotifyMe chimes up just in case I forget. Although I am happy to report that I have a lot more energy in the mornings now, my two levels of reminders are in place for peace of mind.
  3. Decide on what’s important. Unlike years past, I am making time for personal writing projects and even volunteer work at Church. After using some of the downtime around my surgery and getting adjusted to my Thyroid medication, I took the time to really figure out what I want in My Second Act (What I am calling life after my Thyroid surgery). Now I am working on putting some plans into action
  4. Watch your scheduling and natural rhythms. The late Doug Demars, my college creative writing professor, taught me that there are morning writers and there are night writers. I most definitely fall into the night category. While writing at night isn’t feasible for many projects (and my social life), I factor in some night writing time into my weekly schedule. At a broad level, I live by my Google Calendar and its email and SMS reminders.
  5. Eat smaller meals through the day versus three larger meals. Thyroid issues made me rethink the way I eat during the day. Therefore, I consulted two colleagues and friends who are into long distance running, started going to a nutritionist, and have overhauled the way I eat. It’s helped immensely with my energy that in turn fuels my productivity.

Have you ever learned any productivity lessons from a health issue?

Image credit: by Dream Designs via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Originally published at willkelly.org on March 24, 2012.

Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. His writing experience also includes writing technology articles for CNET TechRepublic and other sites. Will’s technology interests include collaboration platforms, enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), project management applications, and big data. Follow him on Twitter: @willkelly.


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