How two Nobel Prizes about the circadian rhythm made me change my daily habits

Topic: Weekly and daily routines for optimal health and productivity in order to maximize your amount of life time fun

Nobel relevance: A series of Nobel Prizes has shed light on the adverse effects on metabolism (diabetes), heart disease, and cancer, that living out of synch with your circadian rhythm can have.

Summary: I have the luxury to schedule my days exactly how I like. Homeostatic and hedonistic tendencies could thus easily derail my long term capacity for joy and meaning (actually the same thing, as I explained here). It’s a good thing then that I let myself be inspired by science when I organize my days and weeks to get the most out of my time without limiting myself unnecessarily.

Conclusion: This is my way, but how do you organize your time in order to leave room for spontaneity while minimizing procrastination and time waste?

Book tip: Healthy routines are great, but breaking habits is a special kind of good. Explore that concept in Ludvig Sunström’s book Breaking Out Of Homeostasis (foreword by me here, and our podcast episode in Swedish about BOOH here).

On my way back home after a workout session (slightly hungover) — it’s dark but I have already had my two sessions of light therapy for the day

Tip #2: Sigma Nutrition Radio #209 on sleep

Tip #3: my recent short article on sleep


A steady daily drum beat of habits

…ensures a great quality of life, as well as top health and productivity

My weekly routine consists of lifting weights 4 days a week between 2-4 p.m., rounded off by a short sprint on the tread mill. The other three days I walk (5-10km/day with my dog — every day of course) and run (a couple of 5km runs a week).

Weekly schedule
Monday work, workout
Tuesday Think tank, long reading
Wednesday work, workout
Thursday work, workout
Friday Buffer
Saturday Free, experiences
Sunday work, workout

 

My daily routine is built around being in bed for 8 hours, between around 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., then walking an hour outside with my dog, then coffee around 9* while doing intellectual work (reading and writing) for about 4 hours, before having my first meal of the day and walking the dog again. Those 4 hours of “work” are scheduled on my Biological Prime Time for brain work. Fasting means I’ve got both more time and energy to do creative work. One possible explanation is that pre-historic man needed to become more active in order to find food after a period of fasting.

My 4-hour work day is more than enough to move my ten-twenty main projects forward.

* long story by me on coffee and adenosine here, and one on how to time your coffee intake and why here

Daily schedule
23-07:00 Bed
07:30-08:30 Dog walk = sun therapy
08:30-12:30 4 hours of writing, creative work, no meetings; my Bio Prime Time
12:30-13 Food (first meal), pre workout
13-13:45 Dog walk = sun therapy, still light in Sweden even in winter time
14-16:30 Lifting weights 4 days a week (running or whatever the other days)
17-18 Shower, food
18:00-19:30 1-2 hours of writing, creative work, scheduling
19:30-20:30 Dog walk
20:30-23 Last meal, downshifting, conversation, books, movies. Phone off at 21.

My workouts are not scheduled for optimal recovery (since I would need to go to the gym early in the morning for that, and I just can’t fit that comfortably into my sleep, dog walks and brain work schedule — something had to give).

Instead, pumping iron takes place in the afternoon, when my body temperature peaks, and I’m the most ready for peak physical performance (e.g., benchpressing 315 lbs, as I did in October 2017)

My early evenings are spent cooking and eating dinner with my girlfriend, then doing one extra hour of computer time around 6-8 p.m. I use that time for  finishing up, tying loose ends together and preparing for the next session and then I take the dog out one final time.

The last few hours (9-11 p.m.) before going to bed, we typically just relax and downshift together, sometimes just talking, sometimes watching a movie, TV-series or YouTube videos (book reviews, cosmology shows, philosophy lectures and so on — emphatically not cute cat videos and similar wastes of time — you can find examples of what I like here under YouTube Channels)


Take-aways from my daily schedule:

  • I sleep around 8 hours every night — this is the ultimate foundation for everything human
  • I don’t have coffee first thing in the morning; I wait at least an hour, usually two, between waking up and having my first cup. I’ve written an article before about why (less addiction, better effect) — also in line with taking care of my sleep first and foremost.
  • I fast (almost) every day between around 9 p.m. the day before and 1 p.m., i.e. 16 hours. (yes, I’m back to that schedule, thanks to re-shuffling my daily schedule, not least my workouts). TIP: consult Martin Berkhan at Leangains about the benefits of fasting (also supported by the latest Nobel Prize winner — Swedes should listen to these 19 minutes by Vetandets Värld about the circadian rhythm)
  • I am outside for 2×1 hours around 8 a.m. and 1.p.m. – not counting when going for runs or spending my “free” days outside – which gives me a healthy exposure to sunlight every day (good for Vitamin-D, for synching the circadian rhythm, for general well-being and more)
  • I do something physically exertive every day
  • I keep my phone in flight mode between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Take-aways from my weekly schedule

Two of my non-lifting days are scheduled for respectively “LONG READING” (Tuesdays) and “EXPLORING” (Saturdays). The third one, Friday, is marked as a “BUFFER” day for catching up, for partying, for doing more or less whatever I feel like (as if I didn’t do that on all the other days).

On my three non-workout days I want exposure to new people, new ideas and new experiences. On my workout days I want to exhaust my body as well as move all my ongoing projects forward.


Final words

I’m not saying you should copy my schedule.

I’m not even saying you should make a schedule at all.

What I am saying, however, is that you could benefit from at least checking what your current de facto schedule actually looks like — and if you’re getting the things done you aim to get done in the allotted slots – if not, perhaps you should do some reshuffling.

When doing, do. When not doing, do not.


P.S. Order Ludvig’s book Breaking Out Of Homeostasis on Amazon before Christmas 2017 and get it for 9.99 USD

P.P.S. Don’t forget to write a review, no matter how short. Why? Why not? Share!


Relevant Nobel Prizes:

Nobel Prize 2017: Circadian rhythm

Nobel Prize 2016: Autophagy

Nobel Prize 2015: DNA repair

 

World Champion, and the people’s choice

If you don’t understand Swedish, just please click this link and vote for my friend, Patricia Axling – Swedish, European and World Muay Thai Champion in 2016 – as the People’s Choice in this year’s Swedish Martial Arts Awards.

If that’s not personal development, I don’t know what is.


Om du kan svenska får du gärna läsa lite mer innan du röstar.

Kos

Jag träffade Patricia första gången 2003 på en resa till Kos med typiska inslag för ungdomliga medelhavsresor.

Visby

2005 träffades vi igen på en reunion i Visby under liknande former. Den resan slutade med att vi blev ett par, vilket vi fortsatte vara i 10 år.

Under den tiden hann hon sluta med Karate (där hon tog 6 SM-medaljer, men aldrig något guld), börja med motionsboxning men som efter några år motvilligt övergick i en elitsatsning som gav två, eller kanske tre SM-medaljer till innan en kombination av hinder fick henne att sluta boxas 2013.

Muay Thai 2014

För (bara) snart tre år sedan, våren 2014, öppnade en ny thaiboxningsklubb i Stockholm och Patricia gick dit för att prova på. Hon ville helt enkelt hitta en ny motionsform efter en dekadent resa tillsammans till Jamaica som avslutning på ett år av skador, huvudvärk, tränarbyte, sjukskrivning mm.

Matchgrupp

Ganska snabbt gick hon från motionär till matchgrupp. Under det första året slipades karate- och boxningslater bort och kompletterades med thaiboxningstekniker. Den som har bytt kampsport förstår vilken envishet och disciplin det krävs för att byta stil på riktigt.

Ett bra 2015 ledde till SM 2016

2015 var ett bra år, men ännu var inte thaiboxningen helt naturlig. Boxningsteknikerna var hårdast i Sverige, men clinch, blockar, knän höll inte riktigt samma klass. Konditionen och uthålligheten hade dock gått från medioker till toppnivå.

I slutet av 2015 såg hon till att säkra en plats i SM genom några viktiga vinster.

2016: SM-, EM-, VM-guld och nominerad som första kampsportare någonsin till svenska idrottsgalan

Så kom 2016 då Patricia först vann SM och därmed tog en för många överraskande plats i svenska landslaget och fick representera Sverige i VM.

I fyra macher, bland annat mot “OS”-vinnaren från Thailand och en ryska i finalen övertygade Patricia och slutade turneringen med ett VM-guld i 57kg-klassen. Kort därefter tog hon hem EM trots en förkylning.

Nomineringen som årets nykompling till Svenska Idrottsgalan var totalt överraskande. Ingen kampsportare har blivit nominerad tidigare. Tyvärr förlorade Patricia (till en bowlare som lyckats med det omöjliga på touren i USA).

Folkets Pris?

Kan Patricia Axling istället få vinna Folkets Pris på Kampsportsgalan 2017?

Hjälp mitt ex Patricia Axling, numera en av mina bästa vänner och matte till vår fortfarande gemensamma adopterade hundstallshund Ronja, att vinna Folkets Pris genom att rösta via den här länken. OBS att listordningen slumpas fram så det kan se annorlunda ut för dig.

 

 

A GOLDEN age: 2017

Summary: How to make 2017 your best year ever, based on a review of my 2016 and outlook for 2017

Topics: Investing, exercising, blogging, podcasting and writing

Philosophical base: Wu wei (consistently baby-stepping toward a state of sprezzatura; no big NY resolutions.)

Tip: Take stock of where you were a year ago; what your targets for 2016 were; what you accomplished, and make plans for what (and how) you want to achieve going forward the next few months

Get your priorities straight: What books will you read, what podcasts will you listen to, what investments will you focus on (country, industry, asset class), what exercise programs will you follow? What career path will you follow (plan for the next step)?


Financials: Short stocks, long gold looked good for a few weeks

About a year ago I wrote about “going short stocks and long life“, in my review of 2015 and my plans for 2016.

Well, that looked really good for a handful of weeks, but since mid February or so, I’ve kept losing money on my shorts… The “long life” part however panned out really well.

This article is a story of both my personal and financial investments during 2016, and my outlook for 2017. As per usual I don’t have any New Year resolutions – and neither should you. To emphasize the latter, here is my May 2016 review of the year so far.


Baby-steps

Instead of making big overwhelming promises, make small changes every day. Start with taking stock of the year just passed, and think about any little improvements you’d like to make. Then make just one of those small changes. Today or tomorrow. Aim for just once.

For example:

  • Try having water instead of beer or soda with dinner just today
    • Hopefully you might do it tomorrow too, but you can worry about that then
  • Start a commonplace book and make just one single entry in it
    • investments
    • projects
    • decisions
    • a relationship or a pet
    • book summaries
  • Order a useful book (see my recommendations) and read a few pages in it today (perhaps instead of checking your social media accounts).
    • Hopefully you’ll read another few pages tomorrow… but don’t burden yourself with such big plans today.
  • Do not check Twitter/FB/Snap etc. the next hour (unless it’s your job ofc.)
    • Who knows, in a few weeks or months you may last for a whole day or week without checking
  • Video summary. If real books just are too much for you, watch just one 10-minute video of Fight Mediocrity’s book summaries.
    • I think this one (less than 5 minutes long) suits perfectly this time of year (and every other time as well). Or start by trying my 20-second summary below:

The Slight Edge: Reading 10 pages of a good book every night or morning would get you to 14 610 pages over the time span of a 4-year college education. That could be around 50 books on psychology, investing, physics, history and other useful topics.

The “investment” is just the 10 pages a day, but the payoff is huge. Having read 60 good books by the time you finish college would put you leagues ahead of most of your peers.

Now, is that something you might be interested in?


My year in review… the website is still ugly

In my last year-end review I wrote “In 2016 I want to fix that [ugly website look], maybe get help with the design.

Ooops, I haven’t done that.

The blog still looks awful. However, it actually is improving, just very slowly.

And, I did get help with the design and formatting of my e-book The Retarded Hedge Fund Manager. Now it is ready for Print On Demand (although I haven’t put it up at any POD service). I’m also just about done with a poster that summarizes the Sprezza Art Of Investing (I’m not involved in the design),


I’m still stubbornly short the Swedish stock market just as last year. In my previous post you can read how I still managed to survive, owing a lot to good timing and diversification.

One example of pure dumb luck was this stupid trade:

In 2015 I shorted Fingerprint with “magical timing”. In December 2016 I was long the stock (about 400k USD) as a joke… for 4 hours or so, before selling the position an hour before close. The next morning it plunged by 15%. Phew! Dodged that one. (In my commonplace book for trading I wrote: “really stupid trade“)


Full review of 2016 targets

This is what I had to say last year about my plans for 2016:

I’ll stay short the stock market in general in 2016 – stocks are hideously expensive, economies are sandcastles built on zero interest rates, malinvestment and speculation on unicorns.

Well, at least I did exactly as planned (sic), no matter how stupid.

Fortunately I had the good sense to reduce my shorts on downturns. Too bad I added to them again during surges. However, I’m nevertheless down to 2/3 of my position at the start of the year, thanks to prioritizing lending out money and buying private companies.

In 2016, I’ll buy small amounts of interesting companies on sharp drops.

I’ll announce my purchases after I’m done with them, unless I feel there is more downside left. Some people perceive my information as recommendations. To prevent unduly criticism, I’ll keep my investments to myself until after I think we have seen the trough.

In 2016, I’ve bought and sold shares in various amounts and order in 18 different public instruments (my Buy / Sell price ranges during 2016, bold means I still own some right now):

  • H&M 244.50 / 255.20
  • Olja S 16.51 / 19.18
  • ShaMaran 0.29 / 0.81
  • Catella 17.80 / 18.10
  • Stockwik 0.041 / 0.056
  • iShares Silver 14.05 / 19.35
  • Opus 3.98 / 6.35 (+0.10 dividend)
  • Peptonic 4.76 / 8.35
  • Fingerprint 74.70 / 75.10
  • BrainCool 12 /13.90
  • GLD sold at 131
  • Gaming Innovation Group 2.98 / 4.22
  • PHYS (gold) 10.44 / 11.26
  • Simris Alg 14.90 / 18.90
  • Studsvik 56.50 / 70
  • MQ 32.10 / 33.10
  • iShares GSI commodities sold at 15.10
  • XACT BEAR 78 / 118,41

…and here I go around saying I don’t like stocks or trading…

Well, despite incredible timing in many instances, my losses on index shorts (XACT BEAR) have more or less neutralized the profits in other instruments. Perhaps I should do more trading and less long term speculation in doom.

Anyway, last year I said I planned to slowly reduce my shorts:

I’ll cover my index shorts very slowly, 1% or less at a time, to finance small incremental purchases of select stocks, gold (GLD and GDX, and probably some physical as well) and oil (Brent ETF/certificate). I have no plans of initiating any shorts on single stocks.

All in all, I kind of followed my plan:

As my portfolio stands today, I don’t own any gold ETFs at all, and my private royalty streaming company (“physical” gold) hasn’t invested anything yet, meaning whatever GLD I sold at 131 has been parked as cash until further notice. Hence I’ve benefited from the surge in the dollar while avoiding the plunge for gold.

Further, I’ve reduced my shorts by about 1/3, which is more than planned, and I’ve kept buying shares in Studsvik as well as relatively small amounts in GIG and Peptonic (plus marginal amounts in SimrisAlg and Stockwik).

The main divergence is that I don’t own any oil or oil related stocks right now (although my gold exposure is also involuntarily paused). Reducing my shorts and accumulating select stocks is perfectly in line.


Moving on to my plans for pumping iron

During 2015, I increased my squat PB to 155kg and reclaimed 135kg in the bench. In 2016, I’m aiming for a 200% bodyweight deadlift (C. 180-185kg [up from 172.5kg]) and 142.5kg benchpress. Apart from that, it would be nice with a 100kg clean (and press?!)

I almost made it.

If it hadn’t been for my (ganglion) foot surgery, I probably would have made it. I did get 140kg in the bench (my old PB) and I managed a 182.5kg deadlift at a sub-90kg bodyweight, i.e., more than 200%. Regarding the Clean And Press, I cleaned 97.5kg, I think, before focusing on other lifts instead – not to mention foot surgery. I never pressed more than 90kg though.

Last year I wrote: A year ago, I had a job (well…), a girlfriend (since 10 years back), an expensive Swiss watch. Now I have a blog, a dog and a podcast, but no job, girl or watch.

The only thing that has changed since then is that I started dating in early 2016, and after a few false starts eventually found my match in August. Just a few weeks ago, she (and her little pomchi dog) moved in with me in December 2016.


Looking forward to 2017

The biggest change in 2016 was Anna (and my little sister Sanna) moving in.

Financially, my biggest changes were reducing my short position by 1/3, and investing in a private Canadian gold (and platinum) royalty streaming company, as well as a private watersports start-up, that I hope will begin making waves in 2017.

There are already interesting game-changing developments regarding the Canadian company too (a big platinum deal). It might actually be listed or sold within a year, potentially giving me twice my money.

E-book: During 2016 I had a few good runs regarding writing my next book, but I kept losing track and prioritizing other things: dating, Anna, my podcast, this blog, reading, working out, watching Game Of Thrones, partying…

In 2017 I will finish writing the book.

The outline is set; the chapters have been filled with ideas that just have to be made into sentences and illustrated with silly anecdotes; the intro has already been written, and so on.

I’ll make a plan for prioritizing making small incremental strides every week and have it done at the latest by the end of 2017. I’ll make it available as a POD at first, since I think the content will be more useful when presented in a hard copy format.

Gym: I will get that new bench PB during 2017; at least 142.8kg (315 lbs), as well as keep setting new PBs in the deadlift. Next up is 185kg. The squat, however, is just considered assistance training for me.

Podcasting: In 2017, I will try to change into a more natural and conversational style, away from my current newsreader monotone. Hopefully Ludvig will be ready to jab with me.

Periscope/YouTube: I’m thinking of starting a video channel; a “daily catch” of interesting or entertaining snippets of technology and financial insights I get from all the podcasts I listen to.


Wu Wei – a philosophy of sprezzaturian progress

I often talk about progress and self-development.

Just as often I talk about making the changes feel, look and be easy. I’ve expanded my thoughts on this in articles and mantras like “Just One”, “Just One More”, “Zero Threshold” and “Aim Low”.

I think it all comes together in the expression Wu Wei, or Do Nothing (but Accomplish Everything). That will be my mantra for 2017; making small, all but negligible, changes and nudges in the right direction in my main life priorities:

  • Writing (finishing my book and starting on a new one; I have many ideas lined up, both fiction and non-fiction)
  • Podcasting (making the conversation sound more natural)
  • Blogging (more succinct and to the point)
  • Periscope (summarizing my daily thoughts and lessons)
  • Investing (possibly reduce my shorts further, albeit mostly on downturns, and probably add on surges just like in 2016)
  • Weight lifting (small new PBs in the bench and deadlift)
  • Mobility (daily minutes, for hips, back and shoulders, to maintain my current level)
  • Meditation (daily minutes instead of just ad hoc micro meditation)

Summary: take stock, aim low, go

Okay, so you skipped to the summary? Good choice. Here are the take aways:

  1. Commonplacing – take notes of what you learn this year and enable tracking your progress in your main areas of interest
  2. Take stock of your progress, using your commonplace notes
  3. Set new targets for the coming months and quarters (avoid too long-term and overwhelming game changers)
  4. Awful makes perfect – break down your targets into ridiculously easy parts and just start hacking away at them.
    1. The sooner you start the better. You’ll be awful in the beginning but that’s exactly how you get better – and eventually perfect

Now what?

Just do this one thing right now and you’re off to a good start for the year:

  • Open your commonplace (download Evernote for free if you don’t have one).
    • Create a master note and write down your main interests (e.g., work, decisions, finances, trading, family, vacations, hobbies, investments, projects).
    • Make one new note for one of the areas and write one single entry, e.g., create a note for Finances and write down a “best practices” rule for yourself.
    • Right click that note, copy note link, paste it in the master document next to “Finances”

Wait, wait! Have you stretched your psoases today or at least this week? And how about 30 seconds of meditation? OK, but at least give me a Johnny Drama roar. Now.


P.S. Did you lose money in 2016? Read my previous article and please e-mail me your story anonymously. I’ll soon summarize whatever patterns I can discern from the tales of tail-spins in the divergent markets of 2016.

P.P.S. Fun fact: 2017 is my first real “future year”. It’s the first year I’ve always felt represents the future. I guess it started around 1985-1987 when I was in my first teenage years. Sure, 2015 was far away but still didn’t have that special aura of the true future that 2017 did.


New visitor?

Do you want more free and valuable analysis and inspiration?

Join tens of thousands on my site, and sign up for my free newsletter. There is a free investment lessons e-book waiting for you. 

Are you curious, philosophical, and looking for truth, understanding and happiness?Do you know more people like us? Please share my ideas about how to live a happy, healthy and wealthy life in modern society.

Limited. Sooner or later I might introduce some kind of a latecomer fee to finance the growing list. However, it will always be free for incumbent, active subscribers.

Share. I sincerely hope my myriad of mistakes and insights can be of use to you and others; share this article and my site with your social networks if you like.

Subscribe