Regaining focus

Focus – Writing Daily

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I had completely abandoned my personal blog, and have not been writing daily. While still working on the Zyppos blog, on other projects and my full-time career, I managed to completely neglect this. Now that the second half of the year has started, I took a little bit of stock on my resolutions and goals for the year by revisiting them and noticed that some were coming along really well, while I had dropped the ball on some – like writing this blog.

I’m going to try and take my own advice and get started again. I’m using the “Seinfield Method” – with the little help from the Rewire App as it nudges me in the mornings. The goal is to write a little every day just to get on the habit of writing, to create a routine, and help me find topics that interest me. Some posts will make it up, some won’t – I predict most won’t, but that’s OK! I don’t want to litter the internet further. I hope the sporadic posts that make it up are interesting to a few people at least.
Here’s to the second half of the year, and to constantly striving to improve.
Dawn Landscape

Experimenting with Early Mornings

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Lately I have been experimenting with early mornings. I normally wake up at what’s considered a normal, or even early time, however, I wanted to see what I could accomplish by waking up earlier and adding extra time to my days. I constantly see around the web so many articles about how successful people wake up early. Would my productivity go up? Would I just be grumpy and sleepy? I had to find out.

There are very few things I hate more than rushing places, feeling I might be late. Starting my days earlier has been great, I feel like I have reclaimed my days and they belong to me again, not my clock. I also think that an early starts sets the tone for the day – I am more productive and accomplish more – and better!

I consider myself a fairly natural early riser, being able to wake up without an alarm by about 7am most days. So for this experiment I decided to push things a little, and change things up by trying to wake up by about 5:30am during the week and about 730~8am during the weekends. Essentially, I wanted to add about 2 hours to the early part of my days.

[heading2 class=”” style=”” title=”Finding The Extra Hours”]I’ve learned that waking up early starts the previous night. If I want to wake up earlier, I have to sleep earlier to get the same amount of sleep and really to make the most of those extra hours. There would be no point with the experiment if I were to wake up at 5:30, if I would be getting coinsiderably less sleep. That would lead to me being grumpy, not performing as well and just ruining it all. After tracking my sleep patterns with a Jawbone UP for a couple of years, I know roughly how much sleep I need.

Also, I recently read a guideline that breaks down the amount of time people need:

  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

So, for me, the bare minimum is about 6 hours, with 7 being my ‘minimum sweet spot’

  • Under 5 hours. Horrible. Hate it. That’s that.
  • Under 6 hours. I can go for a couple of days, but my mood and mental performance takes a hit very quickly.
  • About 7 hours. Minimum to be on the ‘sweet spot’, where I can last most of the day at a good level, where I dont think my mood is affected, and I feel fresh in the morning.
  • About 8 hours. Great, but hard to maintain, especially with demanding days
  • Over 9 hours. Not great, I tend to wake up dazed and confused, and it takes me a while to clear the ‘fog’
The experiment started by organising my evenings to try and get those 7 hours. Lots of early nights, and changing my evening routines – especially during the week!
Then the waking up at about 5:30am started, and I began playing around how to use that extra time. The idea was not to have more time to procrastinate or to just extend my day. The whole point was to claim a bit of time as my own, to work uninterrupted and to try and achieve as much as possible.
[heading2 class=”” style=”” title=”Using This Newly Found Time”]My idea with starting early was to add some personal time, some introspection, some health focus and some uninterrupted work. This is how each day (roughly) looks like:
  • Monday: Meditate for 15 mins. Set weekly goals and big tasks for each day. Write.
  • Tuesday: Gym. Write.
  • Wednesday: Run. Meditate for 15 minutes. Take calls with the team abroad.
  • Thursday: Gym. Take calls with the team abroad.
  • Friday: Short workout (varies between gym or shorter run). Meditate for 15 minutes. Recap the week, seeing what was good, what could have been better. This also helps me have the rest of Friday to catch up and make up for what could have been improved, finishing the week in a good note.
  • Weekends: This has been the hardest to maintain due to HK’s active nightlife. Starting about 7:30 to 8:am, I try to mediate then go for a hike. Mornings then continue with a book, a magazine (normally Time), or the newspaper, until about lunchtime, where I try to be a little more sociable.
I have realised that keeping a certain level of flexibility is really important. the idea is not to become a slave to a new routine. I try to leave wiggle room and extra time to deal with things as I go along. Also, this is an ongoing experiment, so I expect my morning routine to change quite a bit. More about morning routines soon!
[heading2 class=”” style=”” title=”Final Lessons”]Waking up this early has not been easy. At first, I was quite tired for a while, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Obviously, my early morning routine failed a couple of times – but I had anticipated that. Waking up extra early did mean going a little antisocial for a bit, but in the end, I think it has been worth it. Morning time just became my new best friend; and it can be yours too. Using the morning hours may be a good path to a more successful and healthy lifestyle, so I think I will stick with this it for a little longer. I will continue to tweak my evenings, and my early mornings in the hope of really finding my groove.
So – its time to Rise and shine!