The Perfect Day Formula

Part of the Book a Day Project

Today’s book is The Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne. Craig is the editor of the popular personal development publication Early To Rise. The subtitle to the book is one of the most powerful calls to action I’ve every seen on a book:

How to own the day and take control of your life.

We could all use a little more of this.

Insight: The most important ritual in your life is what time you choose to get out of bed.

The best decision you can make is to start getting up fifteen minutes earlier. Tackle your biggest priority first thing in the morning, even if you don’t feel like it. It may be difficult at first, but this is how you make BIG progress in your life.

My Take

I’ve never been a morning person. My usual morning routine is to wake up at the last possible moment. Why would I leave the nice warm cocoon I built for myself in my bed unless I absolutely, positively needed to?

Because of that, my mornings always turned into a tornado of chaos. I’d rush out the door to drive our two daughters to school and my wife would invariably be annoyed with me (rightfully so) because I forgot something in my mad dash to get ready.

I just thought that this was life. After all, that’s the way most people do it, isn’t it?

Then I read the book Extreme Ownership. One of the authors — Jocko Willink — started posting a picture of his watch when he woke up. He would usually wake up around 4:30 am.

I decided that I’d at least give it a shot too. It lasted a couple of days, and then I just couldn’t make myself do it again. I’d hit the snooze button a few times and then eventually just turn the alarm off altogether. Cue the morning tornado, except now my wife is annoyed with me (this time doubly rightly so) even before she wakes up because of course, she’s hearing the alarm too.

Then I read the book The Perfect Day Formula. I had been meaning to pick it up because we had done a couple of promotions with Craig and his team for When I read the subtitle for the book, it literally screamed out to me. How to own the day and take control of my life.


Usually by the time the end of my day rolled around, I had accomplished next to nothing, besides trying to tame my inbox and get my todo list under control. I’d tell myself that I would get some real work done after the kids went to bed at night, but of course that didn’t work either — I’d end up mindlessly surfing the web (live concert videos usually make an appearance).


After reading Craig’s book, I realized that one thing was missing for me, and that was planning out what I was going to do when I woke up so early in the morning. If I don’t have something VERY important and VERY specific in my calendar for 4:30 am, I’m not getting out of bed.

Here’s what’s working for me, and how you might be able to use it too.

I have a recurring event in my calendar from 4:30am to 6am that says “One Thing.” This is my most important task of the day. Before I go to bed the night before, I change that event to be more specific.

For instance, this week my One Thing is to get our content marketing program off the ground. So I’m sitting here at 5:30am writing this blog post because this is a new habit I’m trying to build and it’s taking all of my focus and energy to get it off the ground.

Then, from 6am — 7:30am I work on all of the other marketing tasks I need to get done in our business. I schedule the emails I send to our Lifetime members for the following day, and create any social media posts I’m going to post the following day.

Once these things become a habit, I’ll move them to another time slot during the day and move another thing (or things) into my morning slots.

Now, by the time 8am rolls around I’ve already accomplished my most important tasks for the day, and I feel a sense of victory — like I now own my day. It doesn’t matter what happens for the rest of the day, because I’ve already accomplished so much.

A nice by-product of this is that I go to bed earlier at night now too. By the time 9pm rolls around, I’m exhausted. So rather than watching an episode of whatever is the flavour of the week on Netflix (so-many-good-shows), I do a bit of reading and drift off to sleep.

It’s not a stretch to say that this has transformed the way I’m living my life. I hope, at the very least, you’ll give it a shot too.

What Else Is In The Book?

Here are just some of the other things you’ll learn in this book:

  • the 7 steps to building habits of steel;
  • why having a “not-to-do list” will help you as much as your to-do list;
  • the 5 pillars to conquering your afternoons.

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