A CEO’s Daily Rule of Life
I prioritize my mental, spiritual, and physical health over everything else. The more dialed-in I am in those areas of my life, the more I can be a better husband, father, friend, and leader. To that end, I’ve created a daily “rule of life” over the years, a set of practices that mimic what monasteries and abbeys have done for over a thousand years. My practices incorporate the same broad set that the Benedictines developed: prayer, work, study, renewal, and hospitality. How that plays out in my daily schedule looks something like this:
0. My day actually starts the night before. I go to sleep when my body tells me to go to sleep. Sometimes that is 11pm, but mostly it hovers around 10pm -1030pm. My Whoop band has consistently told me that my sleep latency (the amount of time I sleep vs the total amount of time I’m in bed) is around 96%, i.e. I fall asleep really quickly, and once I’m awake, I don’t linger in bed.
1. Wake up. I wake up when I wake up — I don’t use an alarm. It’s usually in the 0530–0600 range. Sleep is the foundation for mental and physical performance, so I’m very aware of what my body demands for sleep, and what I give it in response.
2. Water. I drink a full glass right when I get up. The night before, I set a full glass by my bedside, so it’s ready to go in the AM. A glass of water first thing in the morning has been shown to increase mental acuity, increase energy levels, and keep my metabolism consistent.
3. Coffee. I make one cup of coffee, using my handy dandy Aeropress. Don’t know what that is? It’s a coffee snob’s secret weapon, that’s what!
4. Morning mobility + meditation. I “stack” these two habits, one around getting my body ready for the day, and the other about getting my mind focused on what’s really important — seeing the “invisible” of relationships and larger relational/societal/cultural movements around me. I stretch for around 20 minutes (I’ve got a set routine of active and passive stretches), while listening to a guided meditation on a passage of Scripture. For that I use the Pray As You Go app. It’s brilliant, and the bonus is that they have English or Scottish accents. Those make everything more beautiful to listen to.
5. Exercise. I have a small garage gym where I go work out. I built it over the pandemic, and have absolutely loved being able to 1) interact with the family in the AM while working out, and 2) lift barefoot. Exercise in the morning explicitly reminds me to prioritize my physical health over that of work priorities, and it hits my goal of “sweating every day”, as Matthew McConaughey once put it.
6. Wordle. I admit, it’s addictive to me, and it gets my brain going in the morning. Plus, I text with a couple of friends when I complete it — we have a little competition going on streaks and minimum number of guesses.
7. Carpool. If I don’t have morning meetings, I take my kids to school. Now it’s just my youngest who rides in the car, but I’ve always found it grounding, and a fun way to connect with the kids. Those small conversations are priceless in terms of our relationship.
8. Outputs. Only after ALL that is finished will I check my email. For me, work is about outputs and relationships. Outputs for me looks like meetings that lead to decision points, strategic emails or correspondence, and content/writing for marketing and sales. Cultivating relationships with my team, my investors, and trusted friends/advisors are also key, so I spend quite a bit of “soft” time, whether that be phone calls, texts, coffees, or drinks with them.
9. Lunch. I have been intermittent fasting for about 3 years now. For me and my body type, it’s been so very beneficial in terms of caloric restriction and consistent metabolism. I start eating at noon, and stop by 8pm. For lunch, I almost ALWAYS eat a can of tuna and a protein shake. It’s 70+ grams of protein intake, in under 10 minutes. My team @ Eden Green is merciless about making fun of my lunch, and justifiably so.
10. Home by 6pm. I try really hard to get home by 6pm, if not sooner. My time with the kids, between homework, sports and everything else, is really constrained on either end by my arrival at home and by their bedtimes at 9pm, so the sooner I get home, the more time I can spend with my fam. That means I don’t check emails from 1900 at night, to 0800 the next day. And none on the weekends, if I can help it.
11. Inputs. At night, I devote my time to reading (more on that later) and listening (I walk around with my iPhone listening to the radio call of my beloved Astros’ games). I have a good 2 hours at night of reading time — my kids are not in small form factors now, and are pretty self-sufficient, so I definitely sympathize with those of you for whom “bedtime” is a four letter curse word. I read a lot, and all different kinds of stuff.
Finally, I have a list of supplements I take — more on the health stuff later. The net/net of the inputs is that I try to be renewed and rejuvenated daily through mental, spiritual, and physical practices.
12. Stretching and mobility. I end my day by stretching. It helps me sleep better. I’m old — I’ve embraced it.
And that’s it. That’s my daily rule of life. What would you add/subtract, and what would you want more explanation/drill-down of?