When you start a new project, you have to give it everything you got. You need to be fully-equipped, both mentally and physically.
A successful routine is not only about working efficiently. It's about addressing all of your human needs.
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These two things are dependent on each other. Taking care of my physical and mental health is one of the most important aspects of my life.
Over the years, I found that these are the tools I need to feel good:
Many people are surprised when they realize I only work 7 hours every day and manage to get so much done. The "secret" is working every minute of these 7 hours. Almost always in the zone.
I try to eliminate all distractions. I don't browse Reddit during work, and I don't watch Youtube videos. I work, and I do it as efficiently as I can.
We're social creatures. Even if you're working on a promising project, find the time to meet with your friends once every few days.
By the way, I never drink alcohol — not even one beer. Alcohol has terrible pros/cons ratio.
I try to do the same things every day, and I only do things I enjoy. Find exercises that you love, don't do them just because it's healthy. Building habits takes time. Don't get discouraged if your first week on a new schedule is stressful.
The reason why I'm working out every day is not that it's the most optimal way to grow muscles. It isn't. I work out every day because it's much easier to stick to a habit this way. Right now, working out is as essential to me as brushing my teeth. And I care much more about building a strong habit than having 5% more muscle mass. I'm not doing this to become a bodybuilder.
A good schedule has to be flexible. Sometimes I'm out on meetings all day, but, because my workout is right after I get up, I will never miss it. My meditation time can always be moved later.
Sometimes there will happen things that are outside of your control. You will have to adjust accordingly.
To build a well-oiled system, you will need a set of rules. I used to spend way too much time on Youtube and Reddit. I realized it's a waste of time, so I added a rule - no browsing social media during work unless it's business-related.
Rule out all the things that take too much time and are working against you. "Rule in" things that improve your life.
My daily routine is more than the sum of its parts. It's a result of years of trying and failing, learning, and improving. Make sure you don't copy it 1:1. Treat it just as an example and adjust things according to your specific needs.
When designing your routine, try to analyze deeply which bad habits are preventing you from achieving your goals and how to work around them.
Your routine will look completely different if you're working a 9-5, if you have kids, or if you're a night owl.
I like to print out my schedule and put it up on the wall, where I work, so I adhere to it 100%.
Here is the schedule that I currently use. I will come back to this post and update it whenever something changes.
I wake up using an alarm clock and try to get out of bed as quickly as possible.
Then I do my morning ritual: brush my teeth, floss, drink some water, do my bathroom business.
7 AM - 8 AM
I start my daily workout, which lasts for around 45-50 minutes. In between sets, I brew my tea, choose clothes, clean the desks, prepare my food and supplements.
I only drink tea that doesn't contain caffeine. My favorite is Stash Tea.
After the workout, I take a quick shower.
Twice a week, I will quickly run and do some grocery shopping before work. Things that I don't order online like eggs, meat, and fresh veggies.
8 AM - 1 PM
This is my first, and most important, work block. When working, I alternate between a regular desk and a standing desk. I always try to do a 5-minute break every hour. I stretch or go out on my patio.
Most work gets done during this block. I focus on creative and challenging stuff like writing, programming, designing, doing things that are challenging to me.
I will eat my breakfast when I get hungry, which is usually around 10 AM. I'm generally still super excited about my tasks, and I don't care much for breakfasts, so I eat while I'm working.
This is the best computer chair I've ever used. Yeah, it's expensive, but my spine is worth more to me.
1 PM - 2 PM
I have lunch with my wife at home. Sometimes we watch an episode of The Office while eating or something like that.
2 PM - 4 PM
This is my second, and last, work block.
In this block, I focus on things like answering emails, talking to my employees, client calls, performing website updates, and other point-and-click stuff.
4 PM - 4:30 PM
Meditation time. The length depends on how I feel at the time. I try to meditate for at least 15 minutes every day. If I feel unusually anxious or tired, I will sit for up to 45 minutes. Doesn't happen a lot, so let's say 30 minutes on average.
My meditation sessions work as a great cool down after a hard day's work. It's the perfect bridge between the virtual world and real life.
I use a super-nice zafu. Unnecessary, but I enjoy having nice things around me.
4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Dinner with my wife.
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Time for going out, meeting with friends, doing things that give me purpose, and enjoying the real world.
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Spending time with my wife, working on my hobbies, reading, listening to audiobooks, playing guitar and piano, playing video games, or watching movies.
I finish this block with writing out tasks for the next day.
10:00 PM - 10:30 PM
Evening routine and sleep. Quick shower or bath. Brush my teeth and floss. Usually, around 10 PM, I take 500mcg of melatonin, sublingually.
I try to get 8 hours of sleep every night.
Take a day off once or twice a week. You're not a robot. Some people are weaker. Some people are stronger. Do whatever works for you. If your body is telling you that you shouldn't workout today, don't.
When I'm taking a day off, I will usually still do my workouts, unless I'm feeling fragile after a tough week.
I enjoy spending my days off in nature. I typically drive out of town once every week or two to relax.