Bigger Smaller Bigger

by with John Berardi & Martin Rooney

My New Job (That Doesn’t Pay Me)


This experiment is becoming a full-time job.

So much so that it’s starting to negatively affect my real job of running Scrawny To Brawny.

Between cooking, eating, working out, and documenting everything in a journal, I’m spending close to 7 hours per day working on this stuff.

In contrast, I’m maybe doing two to three hours of actual work on S2B. And even then, it’s scattered work. I’ll write a little in the morning, a little in the afternoon, and a little at night. In between that I’ll check Facebook, respond to email, and choke down my food.

It’s not productive at all and I’m pissed at myself for not prioritizing stuff better.

So that’s gotta change.

In fact, starting tomorrow I’m going to wake up earlier and block off my mornings. If I can get four high-quality hours of writing in between my breakfast and workout, I’ll feel good about things.

My Current Schedule:

7:30 AM – Wake up
8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – 12 PM – Work
12:30 PM – Work out
2:00 PM – Lunch
4:00 PM – Screw around / work
5:00 PM – Richelle comes home
7:00 PM – Dinner

My Schedule Starting Tomorrow:

6:30 AM – Wake up
7:00 AM – Breakfast
8 AM – 12:00 PM – Focused work with no distractions
12:30 PM – Workout
2:00 PM – Lunch
4:00 PM – Email and plan next work day
5:00 PM – Richelle comes home
7:00 PM – Dinner

And that brings up another thing: I really doubt I’d be able to do this experiment if I worked a “regular” job.

Yeah, I’m sure it’d be possible, but it’d be a gigantic pain in the ass. I’m having a hard enough time scheduling everything right now and I have the easiest schedule in the world. I have no idea how most of my friends — or for that matter, most guys with real jobs — would do on something like this.

This must be how professional athletes feel.

At a Nike camp a couple years ago, I talked with NFL superstars Greg Jennings and Steven Jackson about their daily routines.

They told me that when they’re in season everything is geared toward working hard and recovery. Their days revolve around eating, sleeping, running drills at practice, working out, playing games, and more eating and sleeping.

They make time for family and friends, but if they want to be at their best they don’t have time to waste. Everything they do has to be calculated and scheduled. They have to bring their A-game every day.

I can relate to that right now. Which may be the first and only time I’ll ever relate to a professional athlete.

Perhaps while I’m at it I can get someone to pay me 20 million dollars.

Other highlights from Day 8

  • Freaking out when I weighed in this morning and saw I dropped four pounds from yesterday. Must be the 24-hour fast.
  • Starting Week 2 of my training program and kicking ass on my upper body workout.
  • Talking with JB about the experiment and how things are going. According to him, we’re right on track. So that’s good.

Knowledge Bomb!

How To Get Shit Done

I’ve worked from home and set my own hours for the past 5 years. Most of the time it’s awesome. I can work while wearing the same hoodie and pair of Nike shorts three days in a row. I can break for lunch whenever I feel like it. I can take a random Tuesday off if I want. Truly, I’m very fortunate to have the “job” that I have.

But I’ve also noticed one other, not so cool thing:

I will do anything to delay actually working. Including:

  • getting my seventh glass of water in two hours
  • walking aimlessly around my house
  • watching YouTube videos or browsing Facebook
  • checking my email

And unlike a job where you get paid by how many hours you spend in the office, all of my work revolves around actually getting shit done. As much as I’d like it, no one’s gonna pay me a dime to watch the Hot Cheetos and Takis rap for the twentieth time.

So over the years I’ve read a half-dozen books on lifestyle design and personal organization and tried a bunch of different “time management” methods. Most of them don’t work well for me. But a few strategies have helped me immensely. (When I actually follow them, that is).

Here they are.

Don’t check email or Facebook first thing in the morning.

Checking email and social media are both reactive behaviors — literally reacting or responding to something outside of your control. Instead, to get shit done, you have to be proactive by focusing on what you actually have control over. Like your work and if it gets done. So save the social media and email for mid-afternoon.

Do your Most Important Task (MIT) first thing in the morning.

Kudos to Tim Ferriss for sharing this in his book, The Four Hour Work Week. Every morning when I sit down at my computer I have one “big” thing I absolutely must get done that day. If I do it, I can count the day as a success, even if I squander the remaining hours on bullshit. If I don’t do my MIT first thing in the morning, it usually won’t get done until the next day. Which makes me feel bad like I wasted an entire day. Which I kind of did.

Work in uninterrupted blocks of time.

Instead of working for 5 hours straight, I’ll usually block off 50 minutes of “work” with 10 minutes of “rest”. Like a work “sprint”. When it’s a work block, I put on my headphones, leave my phone in a different room, close all my browser windows, set a stopwatch, and focus on my MIT. When it’s my “rest” period I’ll get up to grab some more coffee or a snack. Then it’s back to work.

Only work 4-5 hours per day.

Yeah, this seems too good to be true. And perhaps impossible for some guys, depending on their job, schedule, and if any deadlines are looming. But the next time you’re at work, try something: Notice how many hours you actually work. Don’t count the hour where you got a little something done in 15 minutes and then spent 45 minutes bouncing back and forth from your email account to a news site to Facebook. I’m talking real, focused, intentional work.

Personally, when I’m that focused and doing my Most Important Tasks, I find it difficult to do more than 5 hours of work in a day. I just can’t focus after a certain point. And believe me, if you schedule it properly and actually follow through, you’ll get more done in those 5 hours than most people get done in a week.

(Note: This is probably only applicable for those who do what Peter Drucker calls “knowledge work”, guys like me who sit in front of a computer and think of shit to work on. Not so ideal for a chef, concrete worker, or anyone with a manual labor or service industry job.)

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