How to Develop a Healthy and Productive Routine
I work hard because I like to.
Not because I have to, but because I have an always-present need to do something. Don’t get me wrong, I have and like my downtime – sometimes. Most of the time, I get kinda antsy if I’m not doing something productive.
And at times, it’s hard to keep up with it. I need to keep my sanity, which is why I stick pretty consistently to a routine. A solid routine will help every man to keep sane, stay productive, stay and shape – and overall live a happier life.
Here, in a nutshell, is what my usual schedule breaks down to. Keep in mind that I’m not tied to an office job, so it’s obviously very open-ended.
7-7:30am: Wake up. Depending on when I went to sleep the night before. I have strict rules for waking up: no snoozing, if I wake up naturally without an alarm I can’t go back to sleep, and I’m also not one of those people who wears an eye mask. Sunshine is wakey wakey time.
7:30-9:30am: Hard work. This is when I try to take care of the stuff I don’t really want to do. And I try to truly focus on it. Recently, this meant handling all of the hard work on The Harem Handbook.
Sometimes if I have a morning inspiration to write I will focus on that, but for the most part I try to get the tough stuff out of the way first.
9:30-10am: Get ready and walk to gym.
10-11:30am: Workout, eat, return home and shower.
Noon: Usually from 11:30-noon I just chill out for a bit and let myself recharge. Sometimes I just browse the internet aimlessly or lay on my bed for a few minutes. At noon I start working again.
Noon-4pm: “Fun” work – for me this is usually writing general blog posts (I write most of the in-depth, “how-to” stuff in the mornings, and save the journal/diary stuff for afternoon). Alternatively, I’ll do a podcast or record a video for YouTube. Engage with people on Twitter (I try to keep it to a productive manner).
4pm: If I’m tired, I’ll lay down for a nap. Maximum of 30 minutes to get the ultimate bang for my buck. Any more than that and I feel groggy.
5-6:30pm (give or take): Prep dinner, or these days I go out more often than not – because it’s so cheap to eat out here in Kyiv.
7pm – onwards: I either go and do some more work, or go out and do something fun. Dates, drinks, or late dinners out – this is fun time at least a couple nights of the week. But sometimes, even the fun and work intermixed. For example, I’ll often have a glass of wine or beer with dinner, and alcohol tends to bring out some creativity in me. So maybe I drink another beer and sit down to write some more.
The point is: the work never really seems to stop for me. At most times of the day, I’m thinking or doing something relate to This Is Trouble.
So, how do YOU develop a healthy routine?
Here is the best advice I can give.
GIVE YOURSELF AN HONEST EVALUATION OF SLEEP PATTERNS
I’ve written about how early birds are often more productive than night owls, so be honest with yourself. If you stay up late, are you really being productive, or are you dicking around on YouTube and reading blogs?
Can you function on a low number of hours of sleep? I do just fine with 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep. Your mileage may vary significantly.
YOUR GYM HABITS
Some people love morning workouts, because it gets them going for their day – and it’s done.
I’m one of those people.
When I had the office job, I wanted the gym done first thing in the morning. These days, I’ve shifted it to later morning because I like getting business work out of the way first thing in the morning. And I know I’m never going to be “too tired from work” to go to the gym.
Plus, it works well with intermittent fasting to work out mid morning. I have my first meal of the day right after, as an early lunch. Then I eat again around 6-7pm.
Think about how you function – do you prefer late or early workouts? Will you actually go late, or will you hamster to yourself that you are too tired from work?
As I said, I fast every day for 16 hours.
If you can’t do this (wuss), then you may want to structure things differently in conjunction to the gym, etc.
I can workout on an empty stomach, but some can’t.
FIGURE OUT YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE HOURS
These are the most important.
Twenty minutes of solid focus outdoes two hours of distracted work. Don’t believe me? Try it sometime. Shut everything off for twenty minutes and really focus on the task at hand.
The next day, try it again. But this time, leave YouTube/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/cell phone/etc. all on. Let it distract you.
See how much you truly get done in that two hour timespan.
I bet the twenty minutes will have been better spent.
Therefore, structure some time when you’re at your best every day to truly, truly focus on the task at hand. The most important thing. If you want to leave the corporate world, it should be the side hustle time. If you want to advance your career, this should be when you handle the most difficult aspect of that.
If your career is bodybuilding and you have to be ripped to shreds, then you know what to do.
I’m sure you get the point I’m making.
Habits and routines are essential to a man.
There are some programs out there that are extreme: wake up at 4am, stuck to an absurdly rigorous schedule, and lots more.
However, sometimes they’re just not sustainable. Much how extreme diets never stick – people end up putting the weight back on because it’s simply not reasonable.
It’s for this reason that I think it’s best to tailor a routine and habits that are sustainable to you individually. They should be based around your sleeping, eating, exercise, and productivity habits.
Everyone is different.
So figure out YOU.