Lesson 8

Lesson 8: BHFM and The Stoic Advisor

Weekly Habits for Success - Daily Task to The Habits for Success

Month 2

So now that we’ve got you “owning your day by owning your morning”, let’s dig into getting a better handle on how to make each day the most productive day it can be.

Now, keep in mind that a productive day doesn’t always involve hours upon hours of hard work. It might involve getting up, getting in a quick 15-minute workout, going out and playing a round of golf, having lunch with some buddies and taking your spouse out to dinner. I’d call that a productive day. Sometimes you just need to recharge.

Whether your productive day involves work, work and fun, or just fun, the key is to be organized and purposeful in everything that you do.

How do you have the most productive day possible? You start the day off RIGHT!

So, when does a productive day start?

It starts the night before.

At night, before you go to bed, you are going to start taking a few minutes and organize the day to come.

What time will you get out of bed tomorrow? What are you going to wear? What are you going to have for breakfast? What is on my to-do list? What are the top-line goals that I need to hit to be successful tomorrow, this week, next month and so on? What challenges are on the horizon that I will have to deal with?

Of course, now that you are waking up earlier, you have an extra 30 minutes to address each one of these issues.  But if you’re anything like me, I find that my mind is often racing in the evening… racing with ideas, general thoughts, and innovations. The problem is that those ideas and thoughts can be overwhelming as you lay in bed. Why not get them out on paper (or on your computer) before bed so you can put them to rest?

You are going to prepare for tomorrow, tonight!

No more waiting around till the last minute. No more laying in bed coming up with good ideas that will slip your memory overnight.

So, starting tonight, I want you to write down the things you will need to do in the morning before you go to work. But not just write down those things, also prepare for work. Lay out your clothes, pack a lunch, set up the coffee maker, get our gym clothes and gym bag fully packed tonight.

Yes, I know this all seems so trivial. But it’s not. It’s these little habits that rewire the brain to focus on the little details that make Mega-Producers so successful. Remember, the difference between the financial guy who has $500k of revenue and the Mega-Producer who has $5,000,000 of revenue is the Mega-Producer does everything that the financial guy does… and a little bit more. So pay attention to the little things… the little “habits of success”.

Preparing for tomorrow is not just about writing out the mundane and ordinary tasks. It’s about writing out the challenges you’ll face in the days and weeks to come. It’s about writing out problems that you are trying to solve and then turning those problems over to your subconscious.

Another thing I want you to do in your “nightly prep” is to think about the principles, values and ideals you are going to uphold tomorrow. In your journal, write about the person you want to be and how you are going to act, react and behave when you encounter the irritating and irrational people that will surely cross your path tomorrow. Remind yourself of the virtues you’ll practice when you meet these vexing people. And then smile and think about these people as the blessing that they really are in your life.

How are they a blessing, you ask? Because of their irrationality and irritating ways, they give you the chance to practice the virtues that you need to transform your tasks into habits.

Studies show that 90% of executives wake up before 6AM. But the same studies show that the most successful executives start their day the night before, often performing the following tasks:

  1. Check their schedule
  2. Choose their outfit
  3. Prepare lunch and breakfast
  4. Shower at night
  5. Prepare their coffee (goes with preparing their breakfast)
  6. Prepare their work bag
  7. Go to sleep on time
  8. Write down tomorrow’s to-do list
  9. Place morning pages/journal where they can easily be found (or have a computer on and ready to go)
  10. Declutter their office, computer and desk
  11. Read a chapter of a book (or read until you can’t keep your eyes open…. note: don’t read for entertainment at night, read for learning).

If you take the time to perform each of these tasks the night before, you’ll find they can be completed relatively quickly, opening up more time in the morning when you are fresh to ‘get on with your day’.

Plus, as an added bonus, it clarifies where your day is going and what you are going to do that day. Think about it, how often does the cancer of inertia start to creep into your mind before the day even starts? How often does “decision fatigue” cause inertia to creep into the recesses of your mind and before you know it, it owns your entire thought process?

Let’s nip the cancer of inertia in the bud. When your mind is racing the night before, you are going to write out your tasks for the day in as much detail as you can. This will allow you to have a to-do list in front of you in the morning when your mind is fresh. You can then use that fresh morning mind to organize that to-do list into a nice orderly day!

Now, a word on the cancer of inertia and it’s carcinogenic copilot… decision fatigue.

Roy F. Baumeister, social psychologist and author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, defined decision fatigue as the fog that comes over you when you’re faced with too many decisions to make. If you’re inundated with decisions, even small ones, the stress of deciding begins to add up. Before you know it, you’ve used all your mental energy trying to decide what socks to wear to work or which gas station to fill your car at before you get there, and you’ve left yourself with few reserves to help you with the decisions and choices that actually matter.

Decision fatigue is a term that was only recently coined. But it’s clear that it’s been clouding the mind of man for all time.

Think of someone like Marcus Aurelius and his life as the emperor. He had to lead troops into battle, hear appeals from citizens, preside over the senate, and deal with foreign governments. He had to make decisions all day, many of them literally a matter of life and death. This was his day, from the moment he woke up till the moment he went to sleep.

How did Marcus deal with all this? Let’s turn to his own words: “If you seek tranquility, do less.”

Henry David Thoreau said, “It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and prepared. Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify”.

Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

By taking the time to do your nightly prep and your morning journaling, by speaking with your accountability buddy several times per week, we can synthesize our daily activities and our lives down to the simplest tasks possible. We can focus all our attention on the most important things, preferably and whenever possible, in the order of most to least important, and ignore the rest.

Lauren Berger, who has helped more than six million people find success in their careers and authored Get It Together: Ditch the Chaos, Do the Work, Design Your Successhas ditched the morning chaos in her life as well. “I make my to-do list for the next day, have a good idea of when my first meeting is (and whether I need to make any special arrangements), and know what I’m wearing... I love being prepared and having everything I need in one place and ready.”

The science behind this is strong:

Don’t put your tired brain into the position of making decisions on impulse. Your brain, just like your muscles, tires out after a long day and needs rest. When you are weak, tired and fatigued you should rest, not make big decisions.

Write out tasks tonight that you will organize tomorrow morning when your mind is fresh.

“The proper work of the mind is the exercise of choice, refusal, yearning, repulsion, preparation, purpose, and assent,” Epictetus said. “What then can pollute and clog the mind’s proper functioning? Nothing but its own corrupt decisions.”

Corrupt decisions are far too often made by weak minds. So, make your mind strong. Give your mind the gift of organization, order and prioritization.

This begins by starting “the habits of success”. The habits of success will push out the bad habits and break the negative patterns in your life.

So this month, we are going to nail down a stringent evening routine that will move you further down the path to building the exact business you want.

NEW HABIT: Start your nightly planning today.

NEW TASK: Call Ben Quinney or Andy Dodge to help you begin the nightly planning process. It probably makes sense for you and your accountability buddy to do this call together if that works. If not, do it individually.