How I Conquered The Sun
I’m not a morning person. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
I was at one point, but my circadian rhythm shifted. Blame it on the late nights spent networking and building.
Building my dreams.
All in a day’s work right?
I used to greet the sun as a herald of new things. New opportunities to experience.
Now, I wrap myself in a cocoon of curtains and blankets. Attempting to ward off its advances for as long as possible.
For some reason, I seem to end up in an eastern facing room 80% of the time.
Forced to continue my eternal battle with a force that controls nature itself.
They say mans will is indomitable, but the sun is a close contender.
What does it do to your productivity?
To be honest? Nothing.
The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.
I know they say sleeping early and waking up early makes you more productive and successful. From experience, that’s not true.
Russel Foster, a circadian neuroscientist agrees with me.
The key is to plan your day beforehand. Know exactly what you’re going to do before sleeping.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
- Abraham Lincoln
Here’s what I (usually) do.
Ok, so we have 24hrs in a day right?
Of those 24hrs, 8 are spent sleeping, leaving us with 16 hours of lucidity.
Let’s estimate 1 hour spent eating and another hour spent switching between and deciding tasks.
That leaves us with about 14 hours.
Plenty of time to do everything we’ve planned for the day.
Of course, we don’t use that 14hrs efficiently. That would be inhuman.
We chat, email, check Facebook, etc.
Fucking two things up at the same time isn`t multitasking
- Dick Masterson
So let’s say we’ve finally got 10hrs of work in us everyday. I don’t work that long. If you’re doing it right, you won’t either.
Hell, in a normal office setting, employees spend 40% of their time shooting the breeze.
So, we’re aiming for 4 hours of work. I mean real work. Not that work/chat/Google/YouTube work.
Uninterrupted work. That’s how I’ve conquered the sun.
It doesn’t matter what time you wake up or go to sleep when you’re aiming for productivity rather than hours.
The 3–5–7 paradigm of productivity
I learned this a couple years ago. Adopted it from a book. Which one? Can’t remember. They all run together sometimes.
So the principle goes like this:
Choose the three most important things you want to accomplish in your day.
The three tasks that’ll move you closest to your BHAG (big hairy ass goal).
That could be making 10 cold calls, writing 1,000 words, or spending an hour on your side project. Whatever.
Just pick three things and FINISH THEM.
The second group. Choose 5 more tasks that are kind of important.
They’re not life changing, but still relatively valuable.
Put these in the second slot, but don’t touch them until you’re completely finished with your top three tasks.
Got it? Great.
You can probably guess what the 7 means by now so I won’t explain it.
Try this simple strategy for a week and see how you feel afterwards. See how much you really get done.
The final piece of the Puzzle. Pomodoro.
The pomodoro technique is amazing.
You’re probably familiar with it. Work for 25 minutes and break for as long as you want.
Things to consider with pomodoro
- The timer is a guide, if you’ve caught a piece of inspiration, ride it out.
- You can break for as long as you want, but try and keep them under 20 minutes
- Get a clock that doesn’t make noise as it’s counting down. You can thank me later.
- The main thing is to do ONE thing at a time, that’s the power of the pomodoro.
If you knock out 10 of these a day, you’ll probably do more in that week than a month.
Combine the pomodoro technique with the 3–5–7 paradigm and you’ll be in business.
You’ll conquer the sun, moon, and the stars.