Chris Hardwick is considered one of the busiest TV professionals today, hosting and contributing to a wide range of shows across several networks. The man somehow does too much with too little time, and here’s how he does it without burning out.
by Fausto Mendez / photo by Fast Co.
When Chris Hardwick isn’t hosting the new Comedy Central talk show @Midnight, he’s hosting AMC’s The Talking Dead, voicing Nickelodeon cartoons, getting nerdy on BBC’s The Nerdist, releasing podcasts, cracking up audiences as a stand-up comedian, pitching his next project, or…. well, the list goes on. I think you get the picture. He’s obviously Superman’s buddy the Flash in a suit & tie, or maybe he knows something we don’t.
His achievements in the past few years would make anyone jealous. Thankfully, he’s willing to share his secret to success: utterly amazing time management. He shares 7 eye-opening tips in an interview with Fast Co, and the one about overcoming a creative block (similar to a “writer’s block”) is perhaps the most inspiring.
"Even if what you’re coming up with is gibberish at first, you’re unsqueaking the wheel, and you might not notice the benefits right away, but after 15 minutes or so, you’ll find them. You just have to push through it. There’s no trick."
Though he finds value in pushing through a creative or even physical slump, he warns not to over exhaust yourself.
"Your body tells you when you’ve taken on more than capacity. That’s when you start getting really anxious, or getting insomnia … It’s important to take some time off to recharge, even if it’s just a day or two. Sometimes my girlfriend and I will go to Disneyland, just to take a day off.”
Keep in mind that you have limits. Sometimes, pushing through the block isn’t worth it, and your relentless drive starts to backfire. Learn how to read your body. Know what it needs in every moment, and give it that.
The Most Important Time-Management Skill: Know Yourself
Knowing your body and decoding its messages are invaluable productivity tools, and that’s something I quickly learned after college. It’s amazing what a difference my level of performance is now compared to the first year out of school.
For example, knowing the difference between a caffeine comedown and actual exhaustion is critical for a creative professional like myself, but I had no idea how to tell the difference during my student years. I’d caffeinate myself for way too long with way too much, and little did I know that less caffeine in the right moments goes much farther than tons of caffeine all the time.
In a similar lesson, I had to figure out that exercise has a very positive effect on my my mental state. My focus and energy were annoyingly inconsistent as a student. As a professional, I discovered the difference between over-exhaustion and exhaustion from not being fit enough. Little did I know that my brain’s energy is directly affected by the state of fitness of my body. The more fit I am, the more my brain can handle, and I could have only learned this lesson by first learning myself.
Knowing yourself is one the most important time-management skills that you’ll ever develop. Start there, and everything else will surprisingly fall into place.
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