The 8+8+8 rule: Work, Sleep, Recreation
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”- Doly Parton
What is the 888 rule?
In short, It means to live a balanced life with 8 hours of work, 8 hours of recreation, and 8 hours of sleep.
I got introduced to this rule when I went to Sydney Australia, on a summer exchange program during my master's degree.
Our first assignment in Australia was to do a comparison between the work-life balance in Australia and the USA.
In general everyone at Manly Beach, Sydney seemed to be living a much better life. You would notice everyone at the beach, everyone had a dog, there were plenty of healthy people doing several activities.
After interacting with the locals we understood the theory behind the 888 rule. It basically means divide your time into three segments.
8 hours of Sleep:
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best.
I have noticed personally If I sleep 8 hours I am less cranky, more energetic, and happier in general.
I have dealt with acute insomnia as a teenager. The cure that worked for me was weight lifting and waking up early.
If you’re someone who still has trouble sleeping after working out, I would suggest taking melatonin and CBD.
Another suggestion is if you’re like a caffeine snob like me please take caffeine before noon. Drinking caffeine late in the day, when your cortisol levels should be dropping and adenosine should be building up, can throw off your body’s natural rhythm.
Recently, Instead of a second cup of coffee. I prefer to have Matcha or Green Tea as it is less jittery and is a great form of antioxidant.
As far as your phone is considered, here are a few suggestions from my personal experience:
Delete social media apps. I use these apps on my laptop and check them once a day. With the limited time in the day, I don’t waste my precious time scrolling mindlessly on Social Media.
Change your alarm tone, I use the sounds of birds chirping or some super chill track instead of the default tone. I heard on some famous podcasts that it really affects how you start your day.
8 hours of work:
In today’s world, we resolve our lives around work. We are so much obsessed with it, that all we do is work, sleep, and repeat. The 40 working hours per week have become below normal, and it started expanding to 60,80 or even 100. Weekends also turned out to be like any regular working day.
I truly believe 8 hours of uninterrupted work can make a huge difference. I was always busy but not productive. I remember doing 2 jobs and a second master's degree on the weekends. I was always burnt out and tired. It was a horrible way to live a life. I was completely overworking myself mentally and emotionally. I had no balance.
If you think that working 12–14 hours a day won’t have a negative impact on your health, then you are lying to yourself. Before we start, I would like to mention some of the health risks that can occur from overworking:
60% higher risk of heart-related problems, Chronic sleep debt, Boosting stress, Obesity, Increased risky alcohol use, and Type 2 diabetes.
Here are my suggestions to optimize your work:
- Find the activities that drive the greatest results and focus on them: Another rule Known as the Pareto Principle, this rule tells us that 80% of the results come from 20% of activities.
- Measure Effectiveness: Test new techniques and search for tools that can save you time during work. Do anything you can think of that can improve that hour.
- Remove time-wasters: The phone is the biggest distraction. Try to put it on airplane mode or keep it in a different room when you are trying to be in a flow state.
- Delegate: If you can find a suitable person to do your more menial task. I have personally outsourced work to my virtual assistant in India who checks all my emails and updates me every day on my daily schedule.
- Learn to say no: There is a very powerful quote by warren buffet on this:
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”- Warren Buffet
6. Prioritize: I use TeuxDeux.com recommended by Matt Di Avila. Write down 3 important tasks for the day that requires thinking and decision making. I don't write tasks like getting groceries or getting a car wash on this list. This includes tasks like planning another YouTube video, a brand strategy meeting, and research on upcoming earnings reports by brands.
There is a quote by Naval Ravikant:
No one is going to value you more than you value yourself. Set a high personal hourly rate, and stick to it.
You can spend your life however you want. But if you want to get rich, it has to be your top priority. It has to come before anything else, which means you can’t penny-pinch. This is what people don’t understand.
If you can outsource something for less than your hourly rate, do it
If you can hire someone to do it for less than your hourly rate, hire them. That includes things like cooking. You may want to make your own healthy, home-cooked meals. But if you can outsource it, do that instead.
There are companies like hello fresh who are built for the sole reason to help you save time on cooking and increasing access to healthy meals.
I personally meal prep and make meals that require very little time.
8 hours of Recreation:
Recreation can be blogging, reading a book, playing guitar, watching a movie, listening to a podcast or audiobook while commuting, spending quality time with friends and family, going to the gym. We all have some kind of hobby we do to decompress. I would hit the driving range, read my favorite book or watch a movie from IMDB's Top 250 Movies. I make sure I call one of my best friends to check upon them.
I would also recommend going and explore new things. Stuff you always wanted to do, but never have done it before.
Not planning your leisure time is the biggest mistake
Here are a few ways you can unwind and decompress:
- Listen to an audiobook on Audible
- Try guided mindfulness meditation
- Get a massage or a facial
- Plan a date night
- Hit the beach
- Learn to cook a new dish
- Movie Night
When I started following this rule, the main thing noticed was I became more present. I stopped answering email throughout the day and set times to respond, I stuck to the work schedule I made for myself, and for the first time in two years, I felt like there was an end to my day
Most people are not good at time management because they don't sit and write where their time is going. I noticed that I really only worked 4 hours of a day at my peak. The rest of the time was gone commuting, daydreaming, cooking, cleaning, running errands, and more stuff that is not gonna add real value to your career.