Work Like an Executive ‘Challenge’

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What if I were to tell you that you could have an extra two months of time and productivity in a year? Two months! Sixty days! You might call me crazy. While its true that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, the valuable degrees in which we utilize the same 24 hours in a day vary widely.

They say that “The early bird, gets the worm.” They have that saying everywhere in the world you travel. They all have a saying like that because it’s true no matter where you go. Whether you’re a stay at home parent of three or the C.E.O. of Apple or any other major company, you will find they all have patterns. A pattern that directly contributes to their success; They wake up early.

I did tell you that I would reveal to you how to get an extra sixty days in a year (two months.) Well, look no further, let’s do some simple math. The average person wakes up at 8 o’clock in the morning. If you adjust your wake up time, to 4 o’clock in the morning, you would acquire 4 hours in the day, you would have otherwise spent sleeping. Compound that each day for the entire year, 4 hours times 365 days a year equals 1,460 hours. Divide it by 24 hours in a day and you have 60.83 days, or two months to simplify it.

Let’s look at a few examples

  1. Apple CEO Tim Cook- Wakes up at 4:30AM according to Ryan Tate at gawker.com
  2. Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt- Wakes up at 5:30AM every day and notes he works 100 hour work weeks and has done so for the last 28 years.
  3. The Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson- Gets 5 hours of sleep each night and then gets back at it again, every day according to CNBC . Lights out by 11:00PM.

These are just a few. You can look across nearly all successful companies and find the same. They are all early risers. You can look and also see not just C.E.O.’s but C.O.O.’s as well. How do you think they achieved the level they are at? They had an advantage, and it wasn’t any unspoken privilege. It was how they chose to utilize their 24 hours a day.

Whether you are an aspiring C.E.O., C.O.O. or future leader in your chosen industry, you will need to employ successful habits. I have researched and come up with a list of successful individuals daily rituals. So I send you this challenge.

  1. Wake up at 4:00AM every day. Not just Monday through Friday, but all 7 days. This can be the most difficult one for people. Use an alarm clock and place it far away from your bed so you have to rise to turn it off but close enough that it will wake you. I use a bookshelf in my room that on the furthest wall away from my bed.

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  2. Exercise. Everyday complete an exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be running or even going to a gym. Its often times a huge task to get ready, pack a bag, drive to the gym, then exercise, drive back home, shower and prepare for your day. So, I recommend you try to have some kettlebells at home. Utilize just 20 minutes of kettlebell exercises to get the blood flowing. Do yoga, just exercise.
  3. God to bed by 9:00- 9:30PM. You cant wake up on time if you’re staying up until 11:00PM each night. Stop telling yourself you can’t go to bed that early or wake up at 4:00AM. You can. You must get to sleep.
  4. No Cell Phones in the bedroom! (I just felt people gasp!) We often end up scrolling through news feeds from Facebook and Twitter while we are in the bed, look at the time and an hour has passed us by. We then turn it off and attempt to sleep but the electronic itself hinder our sleep. Use a regular old-fashioned alarm clock to get up instead of the cell phone alarm clock. Once I broke this habit, I slept so much better.
  5. Winddown before bed. Its often times hard to get in the bed by 9:00PM and actually fall asleep. We are becoming such night owls. Pick a winddown routine. Start this routine at around 8:00PM. Clean up the house a bit, prep your coffee machine or pre-grind your coffee beans so it easier in the morning. Take a hot shower or relaxing bath (yes men too.) Use sleeping clothes dedicated to just sleep. Dedicated pajamas. Heres a link to some old-timey pj’s. Men’s PJ’s Womens PJ’s .
  6. Read the news. Notice I said ‘read’. Read a newspaper or read the news from an online source such as yahoo finance or the new york times online. I prefer the old ways of reading the news and utilizing a newspaper. My grandfather, who was a successful businessman reads the newspaper every morning. I was lucky enough to see this in action, in real life. But for everyone else, take the example of  Warren Buffett one of the most successful men in our nation. He spends 80% of his day reading. Now he’s wealthy beyond belief and can afford to spend that much time reading. I am just saying to read each morning. It increases your vocabulary, keeps you in the know about what is going on, you learn about many areas such as investing, home prices, tips and tricks for everyday things. It’s important that you read your news.

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  7. Keep a proper calendar. Set up your calendar, whether you utilize an outlook calendar or a paper one. Keep items on it and complete them all, in the proper time allotted. If it’s on the calendar, it more likely to get accomplished. We all get a small amount of dopamine from crossing off that item as completed and dopamine in our brains makes us feel good. So why not get your dopamine supply from something that will bring you successs.
  8. Each morning, write down three (3) goals that you want to accomplish for that day. Just three. If you have trouble finding one, just keep it simple at first, more high profile items will start showing up on that little list of goals. Just keep it simple stupid. No matter what occurs in your day, complete that list of items.

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The fact is, we all want to be successful. So let’s learn what it takes to be successful and give it a fair chance. Tell yourself that you can do it. You can wake up early, you can be more purposeful and constructive with your day. In the end, you are the reason you will either succeed or fail at anything, not anyone else. It’s up to you.

Workplace Socialization

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Social connections are important to happiness, health, and overall feelings of connectivity to society. Lack of these connections can lead to isolation, decreased self-esteem, and a shorter lifespan. The negative effects of loneliness can start to set in within just over one day of not socializing. 

But what if you have a remote job where you spend 50% of your time remote and the other 50% on site? The impact on your socialization health can be greatly impacted by the sway in person versus telecommute.

If your an introverted person among large groups such as myself, but very much an extrovert when around those you are comfortable or are leading…What is that called? Possibly just a slightly less version of multiple personality disorder. Now, I’m not saying it like a version of the movie Split, but it could certainly cause you to wonder about the connections we are making with those in our inner circle and this includes those we converse with at work.

Working in a very unfriendly and non-supportive environment takes its toll, mentally, physically and emotionally. This unfriendly behavior can come from anywhere in the spectrum of your company, from top to bottom. Regardless of the “culture” within your company or the perceived culture. And yet, the culture, it where it begins. You can’t complain about the culture, if you’re not doing anything to correct it, remember “if your not part of the solution,you’re part of the problem.”

Now, back to my original subject. (I constantly hop on and off topic.) Socialization in the workplace should take place regularly, not to obstruct productivity, but rather to enhance it. There are even companies out there, that designs and creates products geared towards helping “employees” connect and socialize for onsite as well as remote workers. With remote working becoming ever so popular, it is more important than ever to feel connected. One poll taken through the Huffington Post states that socializing improves productivity by nearly 44%. 

So, connect. Not just on a professional level, but personally as well. Ask people about their families and hobbies. Get to know the PEOPLE that you work with. Ever want to get to know your CEO or COO a little better? Remember, they are just people too and often the ones most affected by the lack of socialization. If you’re on the bottom, just reach up and out, after all, don’t we all just want to connect? 

Work-Life​ Balance

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Trying to balance work and a personal life can be difficult. I have been learning this fact more and more. If you are like me; a busy young professional trying to balance a personal life with a pregnant wife, a preteen child and graduate school, I have a few tricks to share.

The main thing I can say, that has helped me, is time management. Not the cliche’ type of time management you may hear from some motivational video. Real-time management. I have personalized my calendar in time blocks.

There are a few time block studies out there, all you really have to do is google time blocking, but the theme here is to give every hour a job. It’s important to take into account your energy levels throughout the day before you go blocking in items every 30 minutes. You may end up overbooking yourself.

I suggest you first start with your hours available in the day. My hours total are from 4:15AM through 10:00PM. I know that my mind is still foggy the first 30 minutes or so when I wake up, so I block off this first hour(ish) time slot from 4:15AM-5:00AM for a shower, to make a fresh pot of french pressed coffee, to water and walk the dogs and download my emails for the day. This takes care of the things so I can really start my day. Don’t want the dogs to mess in the house, I need my coffee to operate and I need to be fresh of course. From 5:00AM-6:00AM, I am prepping the kid for school, pulling up reports for work to guide my work day. I pull up my banking information/investments and so on and then I pick up a book and read to get my mind moving.

Those are my first two time blocks for the day, and I do them without fail. The rest of my day is blocked according to my work needs, travel needs, and family needs. When I am not traveling for work, I block off time for my family from 6:00PM through 10:00PM, and then I do it all over again. During the weekends, I complete my school work and again, further family time.

You may not think that I have enough family time blocked off, or that my working block being 12 hours a day, to be too much. But it is enough for me. I think it’s better to let my family know I am working hard and to show my children that working hard is important. To really work, to be productive. This is a valuable lesson in life I don’t want to just tell them, I want them to see it in action.

This balance of work and personal time is what fits me. And that’s the main thing here. What balance fits you? What are you comfortable with? Do you want more family time? Could you reduce your working hours and still meet your families needs so you can have more time away from work? If not, then how can you arrive at that goal? Instead of just saying you can’t do it, or complaining that your work is killing you, get up and figure out how to change your situation.

Next, I will tell you, os that I have gradually reduced the hours I need to sleep. This has added a few hours to my day. My up and operating time is longer because I don’t require as much sleep. Six hours is about all an adult really needs. We hear all the time that “I need my eight” but in reality, we really don’t. It’s just we are lazy. To be honest. I didn’t adjust my time all at once, I did it over the course of a few weeks. In doing this, I have added a great deal of time to my waking hours. About 1,095 hours each year. That’s 45 days- FULL 24 hour days to my awake time. (I may not be as handsome with a few fewer hours of sleep, but its worth it.)

What would you do, with an extra month of time? Could you learn a new language? Could you take a few education courses? Could you get into shape? What about maybe just meditating? Volunteer in a project? With 1,095 hours, what would you do?