Here is the problem with self-help gurus: They take things that worked for themselves and tell you to apply it to your life. They are often full of great ideas, but they are also an ‘n’ of 1. Rarely do you hear about tests or pilots they have done to see if their ideas work on a large scale. Instead after they tell you what has worked for them, they throw in some homespun logic on why. It can be very compelling. But that doesn’t mean its right, and you should be ready to question the ideas in your own life (and don’t assume you are ‘bad’ if you don’t follow the latest guru’s plan).
Nowhere has this been driven home to me more than in the idea around what you should do in the first hour of your day.
Tim Ferris says you should eat within 30 minutes of waking up (30g of protein).
This seems like a great idea (and something I try to do). It suppresses your desire for carbohydrates later in the day and gives you lots of energy to keep going. Sounds like a good plan.
But Tim also says “Before starting your day, get a piece of paper and write down three to five things that are causing you the most stress. Often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on.”
Again: It sounds very reasonable, and you should be able to get it done and still have time to cook your protein breakfast before you hit 30 minutes.
But what about exercise?
You should absolutely exercise first thing in the morning says Cedric X. Bryant, “”Morning exercisers tend to stick with their exercise habit. By doing the bulk of exercise first thing in the morning, you get your exercise in before other distractions can intrude. We can all relate to that — because once the day gets going, it’s hard to get off the treadmill called life. It is possible that by exercising in the morning — instead of evening – the exercise affects the body’s circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) so you get better-quality sleep. Good sleep helps control the hormonal balance that helps control appetite.”
Alright, so we get up, write down important things, prioritize one, cook breakfast, eat, then exercise for an hour. Unless…
Brian Tracey says actually spend an hour doing the high priority thing Tim had you prioritize.
Craig Newmark says you should NOT do your big thing. Instead spend it getting grounded (he does customer service).
But if you really want to get ahead you should spend an hour or two writing every morning. That’s how you will get your novel done this year. Or just experience The Artists Way.
30 minutes of prioritizing and cooking and eating. Followed by an hour of mindfulness, an hour of top priority, an hour of exercise, an hour of customer service, an hour of writing. Assuming I need to leave for work at 8am I now need to wake up at 2:30am.
Which is fine because you are following Tim Rath’s recommendations and know that the most important thing is to get 8 hours of sleep.
So as long as you can get home and in bed by 6pm you should be fine.
Or maybe you should decide what’s important to you and just spend your time doing that – whether it happens in the morning or not.