Sometimes if my sleep schedule gets too late / out of whack, I'll stay up all night, and then sleep early and a lot to normalize it. That was my Day Four plan --
Day Three Plan:
Day starts at 8AM with no sleep and modafinil.
Let the morning go abstract, a mix of distraction / drifting around while brainstorming on writing… I'm not sure which of 3 outlined good pieces I've got that I'd want to write, so going to do a mix of clicking around on my outlines and fleshing them out, screwing around and playing Chess online, reading other stuff, surfing the web, whatever.
I'd like to complete a piece by noon (or be in an amazing flow and writing something quite long), which means I've got to gear down at 10AM to ensure. Setting a reminder alarm at 10AM. Blog around this time too (a little earlier or later ok).
After noon, size up how I feel. Right now, 8AM, I want to go to the gym again but I don't want to get overtrained… maybe I could just do cardio? (I hate cardio though, hrm.) A short swim? Remember to leave wallet and iPhone at office if I plan on swimming. Energy might be lower around then too, or in a good creative flow that it makes sense to run out, so maybe no gym.
Noon to 5PM: A mix of planning, sales process, writing, creative, high level.
5PM on: Clear up some BS. Answer emails, pay bills, stuff like that. Relax before sleeping for a while unless I'm on fire creatively for writing or planning.
The results --
Day Considered Started: 8AM (0 Hours Sleep, stayed up)
8:10AM: Excellent short planning session. (10 planning)
11:25: Well, I installed Spotify (forgot how good it was) and my ELO shot up in Chess since I was kicking a ton of ass. But umm, overshot my writing mark. (100 distraction, 35 semi-productive -- though, that's what I was planning on doing)
2:05PM: (15 general-life, 25 semi-productive, 30 productive, 90 distraction)
5:30PM: (25 transit, 60 social/relaxing, 120 distraction)
Day Four didn't work out since I overestimated how much energy/alertness I'd have -- the first task I had laid out for the day was creative writing, but around 11AM I fell off the cliff in terms of energy. I figured the modafinil would wipe out the tiredness, but it didn't. I probably should have geared down on it right at 8AM, waiting was a mistake.
Around 4PM, I decided to just call it quits on the day and get some sleep, and crashed out at 5:30PM.
There's a cyclical nature to these sorts of things -- success begets success, and getting off-track can beget more of that.
When trying to go on a huge productivity push, there's two elements to it -- containing the bad days, so you'll get, say, 40% of max production (instead of, like, -20% / ie, setbacks / self-destructiveness, whatever)... and then on the best days, you'll get into those massive inventive/action pushes where you'll get the occasional 500%, 1000%, or 2000% of normal solid baseline days.
So far it's been containment -- definitely not how I wanted to start this cycle, especially while writing / blogging about it. Frankly, it's a little embarrassing. And yet, even with the errors, a strong day or two could lead to all metrics being made, which is what's nice about goals and planning.
Fantastic stuff Sebastian.
Btw (just in case you missed tweet) I collected all your articles on the "Start Here" page into a format that more easily readable on ereader/Kindle using the Readlists service, you can share/download it here: http://readlists.com/b6254e5f
PS: Coincidently I realized some of it overlaps with Ikigai (of which I'm half way through), but not all your readers need to know that.
Most of the important aspects of my work work requires focus and creativity. One thing I'm realizing, then, is just how destructive it is When focus is thrown off first thing to start the day.
Here was the plan for Day 24 --
Sleeping at 8:50AM.
Setting alarm for 2PM -- 5 hours.
Have to be at Loft at 7PM.
You know when I was the most productive? The day before I started writing about how productive I was. You know when I was the least productive? About a week after that. You know where I am now? Still trying to get back to the pinnacle.
What went wrong? I started to believe not that I was producing, but that I was a productive person. I'm a man, and it takes no maintenance to stay that way. I'm American, and it takes no effort to remain american. Those are things I am. But producing is something I do. I'm productive when I'm producing, and I'm no longer productive when I stop. There's upkeep involved.
When I write a blog post about how productive I am, and it is received well, I see myself in a different light. I shouldn't, but before my conscious could grab ahold of it, my subconscious granted me the title of Productive Person.
So I started slacking. Not a lot, but enough to notice. Rather than pushing myself to not browse Reddit all day, I'd take a break here and there. Instead of pushing through from 11pm to midnight, I'd cut out early and waste time for the last hour of my day. I downloaded a chess game for my phone and would play a few games per day, rationalizing that it's an intelligent game, so learning how to play was a good idea. But that's not why I played-- I played to escape the pressure of hard work. Twelve hours of honest work shrunk down to six or eight hours of work stretched to a twelve to fourteen hour window.