There goes Cubert again, promising some snake oil to his merry band of readers. Well… we’ll see if that’s the case after a couple of weeks or so. See, I’m in the middle of a little productivity-boost experiment that started just this past Wednesday. Since this blog had recently turned into “Abandoned Blog-icle” with no new posts or content since March, I figured I had to do something to get back into the groove.
I looked no further than my lovely wife for inspiration. The “simple trick” is this:
Start your day one hour earlier.
Revolutionary, isn’t it? Yet, here I am, in front of the keys typing about this amazing discovery for your benefit! Let’s take a look at how this very basic little shift in a daily routine might yield some unexpected benefits…
Admittedly, I’m not (and never have been) a morning person. Nevertheless, certain compelling forces demand you to be a morning person. School demands it. Jobs demand it. And then, just when you think you still have precious weekends, your KIDS demand it. For a little context, the twins are four now, and one of us parents finally gets the luxury of “sleeping in” until 7 on weekends. I can vaguely recall days when I might’ve slept in until practically 10AM on weekends, when I was single, maybe in college. Did I miss class again???
Even more surprising to me is how, over the last several years, Mrs. Cubert has morphed into an early morning riser. When we met, she was far from being a morning person. I have pillow-inflicted scars to prove it. And yet, she plunged into an early morning routine in order to get in a daily work out before a busy schedule of patients, and later kids, demanded her attention. Getting up at 5AM is now a standard practice for her, and until this week, I had been more than happy to keep on snoozing until 6:30.
Go to bed an hour earlier too.
In case you’re thinking I’m advocating for a shorter sleep schedule, I’m not. You’ve got to get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re one of those rare individuals without any health issues whom can function on less than seven, God bless you. Take advantage of that super power. For me and the Mrs. though, our night comes to a conclusion at 9:30 now.
As a side note, sleep just isn’t something to mess with. After having twins, you find that out pretty quickly. When you consistently miss sleep, all sorts of bad things start to happen to your brain and your body. Recovery is crucial and that’s what sleep allows. Ditch the electronics from your bedroom, except for the alarm clock. Make your bedroom as dark as possible with black-out shades. Imagine how good cave man sleep must’ve been, once Grok found a cave far away from the lion pride.
With our sleep schedules now aligned, my wife and I can avoid disrupting each other’s sleep. Before this experiment, I’d be coming to bed an hour after she’d already fallen asleep, and despite being as quiet as I could be, I knew I was disturbing her Z’s. On the flip side, she would be waking an hour earlier than me, to get to the gym, which would almost always wake me up an hour before I was ready to get up. Another win for marital bliss!
The Magic 100% Productivity Boost
At the end of the day our brains are fried. Mine sure is. I have a hard enough time engaging with my family after 9 to 10 hours of shoveling emails and conference calls. The same is true with Mrs. Cubert after a long day of gym, patients, and kids. We both want to veg out, connect on our days, and watch Colbert segments on YouTube or whatever series is up in the queue on Netflix.
What I’ve found after just a few days of this experiment is pretty (a-hem) eye-opening. By simply shifting my schedule to start the day an hour earlier, I’ve opened up a new window of time when my mind is much more fresh and ready to type exciting financial anecdotes into a computer. In short, I’m now able to produce a blog post. Before the experiment, this simple, singular hour was used in the evening… to watch Netflix. I can honestly claim a 100% productivity increase, having gone from zero new posts, to now posting at least three times a week.
You’ve got to adjust, but there are other benefits.
Our challenge is to try to wear out the kids so they’re down by 8:30. With the new “early rise” schedule, assuming the kids are pooped out and ready to let Mr. Sandman take them away, we get a whopping one hour of “veg time” before hitting the hay. That doesn’t seem like enough, but as with most things in life, there are going to be trade-offs.
As I’m typing this post it just dawned on me. Not only am I able to produce more from a content perspective, I’m also sparing myself from unnecessary tee-vee time. Let’s see… One hour less per night means 365 hours less per year, which over 30 years is well over 10,000 hours. It really comes down to this: I could either let my brain go on auto-pilot each night watching Bourdain bop around the world, or, I could invest 10,000 hours over the next 30 years becoming a better writer and producing. I think I’ve just re-inspired myself.
Have a great weekend, good readers, and please share your thoughts on this magical bean.
For more inspiration, check out J. Money’s experiment that takes a page right out of the Benjamin Franklin playbook: