- Routine is fundamental in maximizing productivity
- Establishing a sleep routine is the best first step to optimizing health
- Prioritize what’s important to you
- Develop a to do list for the day
Routine and Discipline
The single most important thing you can do to maximize productivity is develop a daily routine. These can be morning, evening, or weekly routines. You need to schedule time for yourself and make yourself a priority in order to maximize quality of life. Investing in yourself through personal growth is one of the greatest things you can do for your health and mind. If you want to give maximally to others, develop yourself first.
The most important routine you need to establish is your sleep-wake cycle. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Anecdotally, some health practitioners have stated that every hour you go to bed before midnight is worth more to your overall health than sleeping the later hours in the night/morning. It is reasonable to establish a bedtime between 9 and 10PM. At the latest I would recommend getting into bed around 10PM, read something that is not stimulating or journal and plan on being asleep by 10:30PM. This should be done as often as possible. This rule should follow the 90%/10% principle, meaning that at least 9/10 nights you should be getting into bed and waking up at the same time.
If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep there are somethings that are helpful. Turn off all electronics at a minimum 1 hour before you try to go to bed, ideally off 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. Avoid exercise 3 hours before trying to sleep. Limit caffeine intake after 2PM. Have a dark and cool bedroom. Try to find any lights that remain on, including night lights and chargers, and turn them off. Turn your bedroom into a cave. It’s recommend that your bedroom temperature should be kept at roughly 67͒ -70͒ F. Have white noise in the background when you are trying to fall asleep and throughout the night, a fan is an acceptable examples of white noise. If you struggle with racing thoughts, practice meditation or journal. Sometimes it is best to just get the thoughts in your head put down on paper. If struggling with a long To Do list, it can help to put them in list form in your journal. Focus on accomplishing these tasks first thing in the morning. If you belong to a spiritual practice you can practice prayer and giving up things you cannot control to a greater power.
If you are going to bed around 9-9:30PM you should be getting up around 5AM every day. This habit alone will put you ahead of most people. It will give you a couple hours every morning when you should be distraction free. You can choose to do whatever you want with this time to maximize your success. It is best to develop a morning routine and generally I would recommend staying away from electronics in the morning. It’s very easy with social media to get on twitter, snapchat or facebook in the morning and 1 hour later the entire benefit of waking up early is wasted on mindless activities.
Examples of routines are waking up, getting 25g of protein in your system within the first 30 minutes of waking up, doing some form of physical activity or meditation, and reading. Martin Rooney has previously stated that if you read 20 pages a day, 5 days a week, iin seven years you can be an expert in essentially any field. This concept is the key to successful longevity. As Dan John puts it, “a little, often, over a long time.” Developing the habit of reading and becoming a well rounded individual is the best investment you can make in yourself.
Routines can help free a little bit of time that you can do daily over the course of your life. By starting your day with a routine it can significantly increase your overall productivity over time. It will also shield you from distractions which are common. It also allows for time to take care of the little things for your body. You can use the morning routine to do rehab exercises, stretch or breathing techniques. This will arm you with the tools to attack the day.