A while ago I read a post by James Altucher [http://j.mp/yDbkL3] where he described what he called appropriately called the “Daily Practice.” The Daily Practice is, as the name implies, a system addressing four life areas where, if practiced daily, will lead to a better life (in his opinion). Those 4 areas are: 1) Physical, 2) Emotional, 3) Mental, 4) Spiritual. One of James’ Twitter followers was kind enough to create a very handy visual of the Daily Practice which I now hang on my office wall. You can download the PDF here: http://j.mp/yxkKuh.
There’s a lot to take in from the Daily Practice and trying to diligently adhere to the system seems a bit overwhelming at first so I decided to ease into the system by addressing the first and probably easiest of the areas; the physical. One of the main tenets of the aspect of the Daily Practice is to get up early and get 8 hours of sleep so this means getting up at 5am and getting to bed at 9pm… no exceptions.
I have now done this for the past couple of months –getting up at 5am and getting to bed at 9pm (UPDATE: Getting to bed at 9am has proven to be very hard for me)– and guess what, it really works..for me. The first day/week was hell of course and I had to drag myself through the day but since then it’s been great. Here’s how it works. I get up @5am, shower (at least weekly), dress (not well), eat breakfast (Paleo) and then catch the 6:02am commuter train. I get in the city at 6:20am and at my desk at 6:45am consistently. One of the interesting things about being this early is that the mass transit system actually works much better when there aren’t a lot of people using it! Who woulda thunk?
So now I’m at my desk at 6:45am which is roughly TWO HOURS before anyone else gets in. It’s a software company so early mornings are not traditionally our “thing” which means that I have ~2 hours to answer email, work on important things that require my fully attention, plan my day, and the list goes on. One of the other great side effects of getting into the city early is that on nice days I have the time to walk from North Station to the Back Bay which is approximately 2.4 miles and takes me through Government Center, through the Boston Common, around the Duck Pond and past Copley Square. Not a bad way to start a day.
Getting into work early also means that I leave early, usually right at 4pm. Again, if I am walking to North Station this means that I catch the 5:10pm train home and if I take the subway it means that I can generally catch the 4:40pm. In either case it allows me to get home in time to see my wife and play with my Son,and eat dinner as a family. Yeah, I might continue working after dinner but by then the wee-one is asleep and the day is wrapping up.