June 11th, 2014/Productivity/By /

Productivity: Get More Done by Lunch, Then Others Do in 1 Day

Li-Ka-shing-Quotes (1)I’m a huge fan of Chinese businessman Li Ka-Shing.

He’s known in Asia as Superman because of how fierce he is in business. Over the past few decades he has amassed a personal fortune of $29 billion dollars which makes him the richest man in the East. Even at 80+ years old he was tech savvy enough to invest in Facebook’s early days.

He is similar to Warren Buffet in that they’re smart as fuck, billionaires, they preach frugality, and are huge philanthropists.

Two years ago I read an article by him that gave me a big “ah-ha” moment.

Read it Here

“Even at 83, Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, gets more done by lunch than people half his age pull off in a full day. ”

This article didn’t reveal his morning routine but it made me start brainstorming. How could I get more done by lunch than other people could in their entire day? Most people plan their entire 24 hours, but how much is it actually goes according to plan? What if instead I only focused on that period from waking up until lunch time.

The more I thought about it, the more this started to make sense

  • If you get a bunch of work accomplished by lunch, the day’s not wasted.
  • No one interrupts me in the morning.
  • Momentum. If I’m super productive in the morning, then that momentum’s going to carry through the rest of the day
  • It’s hard to plan 24 hours. Being super productive for just 5 hours is more achievable.
  • Your energy levels and willpower are strongest in the morning. Why would you save your best work for night-time when you’re tired.

This all makes sense but what does the average person do in the morning?

Some guys don’t even wake up until 10am. Right after that their morning routine consists of cereal and Reddit.

The past two years I’ve experimented with different morning routines and I feel I’ve optimized it enough to share with you all. Every step has a motive and a reason.

The Beginner Routine

Here’s the routine I’ve put together that applies to 95% of people reading this blog. If you don’t have a morning routine or your don’t like yours much, follow this.

  1. Wakeup: I set an alarm for 7am each morning. According to Sleepyti.me, I should be asleep by 11:30pm or 1am so I can wake up according to sleep cycles.
  2. Water: I’ll immediately go downstairs and down 16oz of water. You haven’t drank anything for the past 8 hours and you’re dehydrated and your brain’s not at 100%.
  3. Restroom: Brush your teeth and do your thing. I usually do a quick 5 minute shower in the morning to wake me up. Get in and out. Don’t spend 20 minutes in the shower lost in your thoughts.
  4. Walk: I have a dog so I kinda have to go for a walk by default unless I want a surprise in the corner of my living room. But even if you don’t have a dog you should go for a 10–15 minute walk around your neighborhood.
  5. Breakfast: Whatever you eat, make sure it’s delicious. I find that my mood is awesome if I start it off with a good breakfast. Some options: breakfast burritos, chobani greek yogurt, oatmeal, hardboiled eggs, protein pancakes, fruit, etc.
  6. Meditation: I’ll do a 10 minute meditation session in the morning. If you don’t meditate, I suggest starting with just 5 minutes. This focuses my mind.
  7. Tasks – I’ll go after my to do list and what I’m suppose to be working on. Note that I prepared my to do list the night before. I’m just reviewing it
  8. Social Media – I set a 7 minute timer and do a round of Facebook / Twitter. I don’t check the news anymore. If something’s important enough then it’ll go on my social media.

The Ngo Routine

early-morning-run

My routine’s slightly different and more customized towards my needs. There’s a reason behind each move I do.

  1. Wakeup: Wake up 7am.
  2. Water: Drink 16oz water.
  3. Roadwork I got this idea from legendary copywriter Gary Halbert. He says you should run every morning. Me and my dog run around the neighborhood for 30 minutes each morning.
  4. Restroom: 5 minutes COLD shower. There are so many benefits to taking a cold shower in the morning rather than warm. I do it because it wakes me up more and it strengthens my willpower.
  5. Breakfast: I skip breakfast completely and have my first meal at 12pm because I’m on the leangains diet. I find that I have more energy without breakfast, and I’m not spending time preparing / eating it.
  6. Meditation: I’ll do a 10 minute meditation session in the morning.
  7. Tasks – I’ll go after my to do list and what I’m suppose to be working on. Note that I prepared my to do list the night before. I’m just reviewing it
  8. Social Media – I set a 7 minute timer and do a round of Facebook / Twitter. I don’t check the news anymore. If something’s important enough then it’ll go on my social media.

Work Time

Lets get ready to work. A few things are important for the next few hours.

Clear to Neutral – Absolutely nothing is on your desk except for the essentials. Throw those cans of mountain dew away and make sure there’s no visible paper within range. A clear desk represents a clear mind.
No Distractions – Skype is off. Every distracting website is blocked. No Facebook, No Twitter, Nothing.
Hide Your Phone – I put my phone on silent in another room. Nothing can ruin your distraction more than seeing that text message.

I work using the Pomodoro technique.

cycle

  • Work 25 minutes
  • Break 5 minutes. Do some stretches. Get some water.

Each 25 minute work / 5 minute work cycle is called a pomodoros. Do 4 of them and you earn a 30 minute break. Guys don’t overcomplicate things by trying to find the perfect timer. It’s just a timer.

If you wake up by 8am then you should complete your morning routine by roughly 9am. That gives us 3 hours to work.

My suggestion starting off is to go easy on yourself. Get 2 solid pomodoros done. A few days later work up to 3. Slowly increase but work at a sustainable level.

These days I wake up 7am and my morning routine’s done by 8:30am. I usually get around 5 pomodoros done by lunch.

My morning routine + 2.5 hours of focused, distraction free work gets more done than most people.

Implementing

I’ve given you an action plan but this all boils down to how you execute. Here’s the key guys: focus on progress, not perfection.

Don’t try to do all 8 steps at once. First thing I would do is use an excel sheet and document what you do each day. The first step to improving is awareness. Now what can you add or takeaway from your routine?

You can’t go from an unproductive person to superman overnight. Daily consistent improvements.

You’re not going to follow everything right the first few times and that’s ok. Failure doesn’t matter as long as you keep working on it.

Your discipline muscle and habit muscles are weak and they’re gonna take time to develop.

Anyways I hope this helps. Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.