What We’re Reading

Start — Or End — Your Day With Math

Try this unconventional productivity hack

Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog
Published in
3 min readNov 3, 2023

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Everyone’s read about the billionaire who starts his day at 4 a.m., has a perfect breakfast followed by a perfect workout, and then the perfect wardrobe change before being driven to work via a paid-for executive car service. (And if he has kids, someone else does the feeding, wardrobing, lunch-box making and school dropping off.)

But when’s the last time you started your day not with a cup of coffee but with algebra? Kicking things off with a math problem is a tip provided by data scientist and mathematician Keith McNulty. He even gives himself more than one day to solve particularly challenging problems, but the end result, he swears, is a feel-good state.

“Successfully solving a problem generates an endorphin hit and provides you with a confidence to start your day,” McNulty writes. “The impact of this on your daily performance should not be underestimated. Think about it as a sparring session before the real deal.”

(If you want to give the math-before-breakfast thing a try, you’ll have to read his piece to find examples of problems that you can solve based upon your academic prowess.)

Writer Eve Arnold, on the other hand, swears by starting the morning in the most basic way possible. Nothing remotely elaborate or time consuming.

“If you find yourself trying to squeeze into a morning routine that makes you tired, doesn’t yield the results you want or makes you miserable, bin it,” Arnold writes. “It’s that simple.”

Poet @slavi_sugar writes about The Perfect Morning, reminding us that each day is what we make it. And spiritualist Aline Ra M doubles down on this sentiment, stating this: “Give yourself the gift of listening to your needs instead of following other people’s schemes; do what works for you.”

How do you segment out your day? If you have a great morning habit, evening routine tip or un-tip to share, let me know.

See you around on Medium.

P.S. Do you celebrate Deepavali? Are you cleaning like crazy, counting your blessings, releasing grudges or shopping up a storm to prepare for guests? If so, I’d love to feature your essay in the coming week. Be sure to add the topic Diwali23 to your post so I can find it.

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Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning Writer. Editor. Mother. Featured on Beyoncé's year in review film.