Job, Leadership, Life Goals, Startups

Architecting The Most Effective Day: Field Notes

Stream of consciousness, but while I remember, I wanted to write down personal observations about my habits, small changes (recommended), and theories on how to be the most effective/efficient/happy in general in my day to day business activities here in Bangalore.

  • Problem: When the team from Hubli comes to stay with me (which is usually 3 days a week), I inevitably forget to eat breakfast.  Why it’s bad: I feel like crap most of the day, and then I eat a ridiculously terrible lunch, and then feel bad about that too.  Why it happens/The routine: Get up, check email on my phone/read Twitter feeds, meditate (sometimes if I’m lucky), they arrive, I make chai, we talk about work,  we eat fruit/snacks, I go work out/think about what we were talking about, come back, shower, don’t feel hungry so I forget to eat, head to meetings, and then immediately feel like crap/starving.  Solution: Potentially get up earlier so I finish breakfast before they come (they don’t eat breakfast usually), or make breakfast instead of making chai.


  • Problem: If I don’t meditate first thing in the morning, I don’t do it at all.  Why it’s bad: It usually calms me down and I am trying to build this habit because I think it’s a positive thing in general.  Why it happens/The Routine: I get up, and a lot of times either the team arrives before I have gotten around to it, or I get phone calls early in the morning (because the team knows I get up early) and that takes a long time so my schedule is off and I end up skipping my meditating sessions because I say I’ll do it before I go to bed, but at night I’m so tired that I always just say I’ll do it tomorrow morning.  Solution:  Get up earlier so it’s done before anyone gets up, and/or have a rule for myself that says I don’t answer phone calls until I meditate (and call them back in 20 minutes).  20 minutes won’t hurt anyone


  • Problem: I end up skipping my ab workouts or strength training sessions most days because….I like doing cardio instead.  Why it’s bad: I feel so good after I strength train (when it happens), and I know it’s really good for me in general (I can see the difference in my energy levels and overall physical fitness).  Why it happens/The routine (on days with no visitors): Get up, read Twitter feeds/check email, snack, go to the gym, cardio/dance, and then lose track of time and decide it’s too late to strength train, go back, shower, start the day.  Solution: Get up earlier so I have my strength training time and cardio time.  Also, do the strength training/ab workout first, and as a reward, then do the cardio/dance sessions (because I always do those)


  • Problem: My best ideas come right after my workouts but instead of writing them down, I go straight to work, and I forget what I was thinking.  Why it’s a bad thing: No really though, I can see the difference when I put pen to paper right after a workout, and when I don’t.  And it bugs the crap out of me trying to remember what I was thinking later- and it’s never as good.  When I write right after a workout, it’s always the best.  Why it happens/The routine (on days with no visitors): Get up, read Twitter feeds/check email, snack, go to the gym, cardio/dance, and then lose track of time and decide it’s late, go back, shower, start the day.  Solution: Get up earlier so that you have designated writing time/creative time right after a workout.

Common Solution Themes:

  • After writing this down, it just looks like the easiest thing to do is get up earlier.  My problem is that it’s hard for me to fall asleep so even if I go to bed earlier, I may not necessarily fall asleep so I get up and I’m sleep deprived (which really, doesn’t make sense because being sleep deprived and feeling terrible is worse than any of the aforementioned problems) so I just sleep instead.  I suppose I have to figure out how to train myself to fall asleep earlier.  I guess i could focus on that because it looks like if I figure that out, a lot of my issues will be solved

Things I like that I do currently:

  • I read my Twitter Feed first thing in the morning.  It sounds strange, but it puts me in a creative mindset.  I get inspired by big picture things and getting up to all these cool ideas, from really cool people, gets me energized for the day.
  • I read the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and (to a lesser extent) The Economist.  I’m still trying to figure out how to fit it into my day.  Since those are monthly publications (or weekly if it’s the Economist), I may try and just push that to my weekend routine (which is the next thing I want to think about).  I really love reading them, but I don’t like reading them when I’m rushed, so it looks like weekdays may just be out of the question.
  • I glance at the paper when I’m drinking my chai/eating breakfast.  Well, when I eat breakfast, I usually get to read the paper (so as per previous notes, that is limited).  But it’s a good thing which I want to continue
  • I dance in the morning.  Self explanatory, but it is a huge part of my daily routine and something that I sort of make sure happens- and it tends to quite frequently.

The Most Effective Day looks like:

  • 5:00am-5:30am: Get up, stay in bed and check email/read Twitter Feed
  • 5:30am-6:00am: Meditate, Get dressed, brush teeth, eat fruit, get to gym
  • 6:00am-6:45am: Strength Train
  • 6:45am-7:30am: Cardio/dance/plan the workday
  • 7:30am-8:30am: Creative time/writing time
  • 8:30am-9:15am: Make breakfast/eat breakfast/read paper
  • 9:15am-10:00am: Get ready for work
  • 10:00am-6pm Workday
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm: Cook dinner/eat dinner
  • 7:30pm-9:00pm: Free time
  • 9:00pm- in bed/journal & reading until I fall asleep

Lets see if that work/I can actually keep to that schedule/it’s effective.  This is version 1.0, so it will probably go through many iterations.  Agile development and all.

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