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.
After Day Two was off the rails entirely, I wanted to rest and recuperate a little, so I set my benchmarks low. Okay, I'd rather gear down and be Conan the Barbarian with a big ol' sword, but it didn't work out like that.
Here was my plan, emphasis added --
Wake 5:30PM (7 hours sleep… hmm). GGW call scheduled for 6PM.
GGW call concludes… 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.