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).
|Tuesday||Think tank, long reading|
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
|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)|
|18:00-19:30||1-2 hours of writing, creative work, scheduling|
|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.
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