I hesitantly posted this piece on Monday on Strengthcoach.com. I thought it might be viewed as self-serving. However the response has been entirely positive so I thought I’d post it here also.
A Day in the Life
I often get asked, “How do you get so much done with your business, coaching, writing, speaking etc”.
I usually try to give a humble answer and mumble something about hard work etc.
The truth is there is a method to the madness and I’d like to share some of the things that have increased my productivity:
1- Get up early. Successful people don’t hit the snooze button. I remember one great tip about waking up. “When the alarm goes off, get your feet on the ground” I have lived by this for at least twenty years and now rarely need an alarm. Years ago I also read somewhere that you should get out of bed when you wake up instead of rolling over. The concept is related to sleep quality and I have found it to be true. Fifteen minutes of “extra” sleep usually leaves you more tired. If I wake up within 30 minutes of when I am supposed to wake up I “get my feet on the ground”.
2- Many people remark that they get emails from me at 4:45. That is because I get up, go to my computer, and check my email. I read another hint once that said “if you can respond in under a minute, do it now”. I have adopted that policy as best I can and it has really helped. I can interact with 100 people a day and do most of it before my family gets out of bed. The nice thing is that getting up early also allows me to help my wife by throwing in a load of laundry and allows me to spend time with my children in the morning when they get up.
3- Write everything down. I have a notebook with me at all times for article ideas, program ideas, notes and To Do Lists. It’s much too easy to forget. Never trust your memory. I also have a Palm Treo phone for day-to-day stuff.
4- Don’t try to do paperwork at work. I know this sounds silly but I get no paperwork done at work. I try to coach at work. I work at home in the morning. Work before the rest of the world rises and you will get more done.
5- Don’t go out to eat lunch. What a waste of time. Lunch hour is for “normal” people who don’t like their job and need an hour away. Those that want to succeed will never waste even a half hour sitting and eating. Lunch takes all of 5 minutes. Dinner is a different story. Dinner is family time. I bank my “lunch time” so I can use it at dinner when I have my family. Another benefit of this is that it helps with weight control. I can’t seem to go into a sandwich shop and not walk out with a bag of chips. Often I have eaten them before I get my sandwich. Keep shakes on hand and eat every three hours while you work.
6- Use commuting time. I often spend two hours a day in the car. Often, I will make all my phone calls for the day in the car and, record my podcast interviews with Anthony Renna (www.strengthcoachpodcast.com) from my car. The police may not like this but it is a great way to save time. Just promise me that you won’t text from the car. I also use the time to listen to my Ryan Lee Insider Audio CD’s and The Strength Coach Podcast or Fitcast
7- Do brief workouts. Again, if you are busy you don’t have time to lift for two hours. I try to do 4-5 High Intensity Cardiovascular Workouts a week. These are either 12-14 minute threshold rides ( usually a five mile AirDyne for time) or a series of distances for time. My favorites are timed miles or half miles with a heartrate recovery. These workouts take a maximum of 20 minutes. In addition, I love Craig Ballantynes Bodyweight 100. It currently takes me less than 4 minutes to get a full body lift. I try to lift twice a week but, probably average one workout every five days.
As I always say, the secret is there is no secret. Read about how to save time and to be more productive. Read The One Minute Manager. It’s a great start. Pick up little tricks. Success is really is about getting up and being organized. I personal train 10-15 hours a week, work as a college strength and conditioning coach ( BU is currently number 2 in the country) , coach Pro athletes 8 hrs a week all the while keeping up with writing, emails, strengthcoach.com and strengthcoachblog.com. I love the idea of “ready-fire-aim” approach. I would rather have done one thing than thought about three. I read another great tip but, can’t remember where. The tip was to be a 90% person. If a success oriented person strives to do 100% they rarely complete anything. The advice was the last ten percent kills you and stalls you. I don’t worry any more if every article or DVD is perfect. I want to always deliver a quality product but, I don’t obsess over it any more. Don’t over –plan or over-think, just strive to get a lot done. Make a list and start checking stuff off.