Tips from a Productive Creative Master

Guys, I have a very special guest for you for today's "What's Up Wednesday" post! You all know we’re focusing on upping our fitness this month by logging our Minutes in Motion for our Productive Creativity. (And if you haven’t already downloaded your PC Journal to track yours, you can get it by subscribing to the blog.:D) My guest today is one of Time’s Top 25 Bloggers and he’s no stranger to health, fitness, and Productive Creativity. He’s the author of focus, The Effortless Life, and many more helpful titles written to help us live more minimalistic and happy lifestyles.

Without further ado, please welcome Leo Babauta to the blog today!

Thanks for being here, Leo. You’re a busy man and your time is much appreciated. :) Got your green tea? Let’s get started:)...

1. You’re a vegan, right? And this is the ultimate eating clean plan. You’re a runner and strength trainer. Again, ultimates in the field of fitness. How much of your success do you contribute to your eating and fitness routines?

Leo: My health and fitness are central to everything I do -- it has made me happier, better able to focus on my writing, better equipped to play wildly with my kids, able to walk everywhere and enjoy life to the fullest. I’ve learned that what I used to think was pleasurable -- eating junk food, shopping, mindless entertainment -- is not nearly as satisfying as a good workout or a simple healthy delicious meal. Just a note about veganism: while I believe it’s the most compassionate diet, it’s not necessarily healthy, depending on how you do it. Like any diet, you should focus less on junk foods and more on whole foods like lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains.

Tania: This is very true, Leo.  These are the principles that we have been working on improving in order to improve our PCness (Productive Creativeness;D) here.

2. According to a recent survey, many people responded that they don’t have time to eat right and exercise because of work and school schedules. What are your tips for the rushed and rambunctious?

Leo: Simplify. Most people commit to too much, cramming their schedules full because they think they can do more than they really have time for. Start eliminating commitments, leaving only what’s most important to you. For me, that’s family, writing, reading and fitness. My day consists almost only of those four things. Also, cut back on surfing the Internet and watching TV. Once you start making space, you’ll have time for healthier foods.

Tania:  Great point, Leo!  Cutting back on activities can help us make room for things we love!

3. As a dad of 6 babes that are homeschooled, do your children eat the same foods that you eat? What approach do you take if they don’t like the food what’s served? (I’m afraid that if I serve tofu, something might come flying at the back of my head while I cook!)

Leo: My kids are omnivores, except my 5-year-old daughter Noelle, who recently decided she wanted to stop eating animals. I loved that -- I didn’t force it on her. I believe in leading by example instead of forcing. So I share my delicious vegan food with them, but when they go out to a restaurant they often order meat (mostly chicken). My wife Eva cooks vegetarian meals for them now, but for awhile she was cooking chicken and fish. They don’t seem to mind too much that we stopped making meat dishes, because we make them veggie versions of stuff they love -- spaghetti, tacos, pizza, chili, soup. They don’t mind tofu too much because they’re getting used to it, though we rarely make it for them.

Tania: Aw, that's sweet.  Children are so empathetic and tapping into this at this age is great.  Way to go, Noelle!

4. Since this is Minutes in Motion Month, can you give any tips for making a difference physically to those that are just starting out?

Leo: The two most important things are to start, and then to be able stick with it. Most people don’t start because they dread it, so I recommend starting with just 5-10 minutes a day, and make it easy -- just walk, or play a sport you love. Focus on enjoying the activity rather than getting some kind of health benefit. If you can start with a small amount, you’ll get fitter gradually, and if you can stick with it because it’s easy and you enjoy it, you’ll make huge gains over the course of a few months.

Tania: Beautifully put...love it and stick with it.

5. How did you manage change when things got tough? Or did they ever get tough through the changes? (I get the impression that, as a laid back guy, you probably have few struggles, is that right?) :D

Leo: I struggle all the time, just like anyone. When things get tough, I find new ways of doing things so they’re not so tough. I take the easiest course, like water, though I also alter the landscape a bit so the easiest course is also a healthy one. :) So I’ll find a workout partner or go on runs with my wife, so that working out is fun and I’m more likely to do it because I’m accountable to someone. When I start doubting myself or feel like quitting, I’ll find another thing to do that’s fun and that excites me.

6. What’s the single most important tip you can give our readers that are struggling with taking up the healthy and fit lifestyle in order to make the quality of their work clearer and more focused?

Leo: Use exercise as meditation. I love meditation, and have found that running, or any kind of exercise, can be done the same way -- by focusing on the present moment, by cultivating mindfulness, by paying attention to your breath. This becomes not only a way of relieving stress and finding calm and clarity, but mindfulness practice that you take into the rest of your life. When you work, you’ll be better at being present and focusing at the task at hand.

Tania: Mindfulness is a big part of a PC lifestyle.  Love your advice here!

7. Speaking of focus, please tell us about your latest diamond projects and what we can look forward to in the future from a great Productive Creative like yourself.

Leo: I only work on one project at a time, and don’t plan the next projects after that. Right now I’m doing a course with Courtney Carver called Clutterfree, where I help people get free of their clutter. After that, we’ll see what I’m excited about!

Tania: We can't wait to see what that'll be!  There you have it guys...straight from a PC Master! Eat clean, exercise, be mindful and maximize your PCness, just like the Master.

It’s my sincerest hope that if you've been under a rock :) and aren't already a subscriber to Leo’s blog or haven’t gotten your hands on some of his reads that you do so...soon. And I also hope that you've learned something valuable that you can apply to your own Productive Creative life today.

Thank you so much, Leo, for stopping by. We've really enjoyed having you here and look forward to more great content coming from you and Zen Habits.

Follow Leo on Twitter @zen_habits and check out the Zen Habits store. And follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay motivated in your PC journey with challenges and inspiration!

Leo Babauta Bio

Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog (according to TIME magazine) with 200,000 subscribers, mnmlist.com, and the best-selling books focus, The Power of Less, and Zen To Done.

Babauta is a former journalist of 18 years, a husband, father of six children, and in 2010 moved from Guam to San Francisco, where he leads a simple life.

He started Zen Habits to chronicle and share what he's learned while changing a number of habits:

  • Quit smoking (on Nov. 18, 2005).
  • Became a runner.
  • Ran several marathons and triathlons.
  • Began waking early.
  • Became organized and productive.
  • Began eating healthier
  • Became a vegetarian.
  • Tripled his income.
  • Wrote a novel and a non-fiction book.
  • Eliminated his debt.
  • Simplified his life.
  • Lost weight (more than 50 pounds).
  • Wrote several best-selling ebooks.
  • Started a successful Top 25 blog.
  • Started a second blog for writers and bloggers.
  • Created a leading blog on minimalism.
  • Gave up his car, and is now car-free.

What struggles do you have with living a PC lifestyle?  Let us know in the comments so we can help!