12 May

200th Post | Reflections

It has been just over one-year since I launched the first iteration of Keith Petri’s Space. After a few redesigns, opting to self-host and becoming albeit obsessed with blogging, I have realized why I enjoy publicly posting my thoughts online. I enjoy blogging because it allows me to flush out an idea, fully understand the product, service, technology, news or other topic I may be writing about, and refocus my attention on my work. Blogging is relaxing. I blog for myself.

Over the past few weeks I have had little to no time for myself, my family or my friends – let alone to blog! My two recent startups have required the majority of my attention. However, this needs to change. As I force myself to write this post, and ignore the to-do list scribbled down on a post-it note, I realize the importance of personal time.

Regardless of your job, what industry you work in or where you live in the world; personal time keeps you sane. Personal time keeps you healthy. And personal time keeps you productive.

Over the past few months I have not worked out, I have not relaxed with friends, I have rarely seen my family and I have, surprisingly enough, not blogged. So, let’s change this.

What suggestions do you have for me to manage my work and social lives better? What have you done recently to escape the perils of work and refocus your head? How have you stayed healthy and productive?

  • Well,
    Considering it’s been over 6 months since you last posted – I’m guessing that this may still be an issue.

    Here’s what works for me.

    I have a very strict routine.

    Every day I wake up at the same time (6am) – I pack my gym bag the exact same way, I get on the same train (6:35am F train), I do the same workout at the gym from 7am – 8:05am – Spin on Mondays, Weight lifting Tuesday-Thursday (yes, the same exact weight lifting schedule each day).

    I get to the office around 8:40 and go through the same routine each morning – eat 2 hard boiled eggs and a bagel.  I read and respond to emails from 8:40-9am, I check our global ad metrics from 9am – 9:15… – you get the idea.

    The reason I’m so adamant about my routine is because having this routine allows me to maximize my intellectual capital.

    Let me explain… remember the last time you tried to do something new?  The example I always think of here is learning a new pen trick (e.g. flipping your pen over your thumb).  At first it’s very hard to do, but then as you build up the muscle memory it becomes easier and easier.  Eventually, it will be hard to imagine that you were ever unable to flip your pen.

    Before you build up muscle memory (make new connections in your brain that allow you to more easily complete a task) – it takes a large portion of your overall brain to do things. However, as you do a specific task over and over – you use an ever decreasing portion of your brain to do the task.  Eventually you may find that you complete a specific task without even remembering if you’ve done it (think – locking your car, or brushing your teeth).  Doing your required daily tasks over and over again (and sicking to a routine) allows you to minimize the amount of your brain that is used for those tasks and frees up your brain to do other things.

    By sticking to my disciplined routine each day, I minimize the amount of my my brain i have to use to do core tasks, like commute, exercise, pack my bag, etc..

    My goal is to spend all non-work hours walking around with 95% of my intellectual capital available to think about non-core thoughts.

    We all have a hard stop each day at 24 hours.  Cut out 8 hours of sleep and 11 hours of work – that leaves us with only 5 hours, or 300 minutes of non-work, non-sleep time.  If you cut the floating load on your brain down from 50% to 5% during your “free” time – you will end up with 135 extra “thinking” minutes per day.  That should be more than enough to think of something to blog about 🙂

  • Well, I cannot imagine what motivated you to comment on this post so long after it went live. However, it is much appreciated none-the-less! 

    I personally applaud you for your ability to adhere to such a strict routine, but understand how similar to muscle memory it eventually becomes second nature.

    As I write this post I am on an abnormal, almost unscheduled, trip to Florida for client related work. I feel that unstructured work responsibilities, typical of an entrepreneur, result in higher barriers to establishing a routine. However, that does not act as an excuse for not working out and not blogging on a consistent, or somewhat regular, schedule.

    It does however result in me working at 9:30PM on a Saturday night from my AT&T MiFi on the beach! 

    I know quite a few people who would appreciate having 26-hour days! 😉

  • Very good point. I could probably do to work on my spontaneity.

    Enjoy the trip!

  • Hi Andrew, it has been a while since these comments and even longer since the original post was published, but I thought of your routines while reading this recent post: http://joel.is/post/36591651818/want-to-create-a-new-habit-get-ready-to-break-it

    I think you will thoroughly enjoy it – especially Joel’s process of adjusting to new habits. Let me know your thoughts.

  • Haha! Loved it. Although 5:05am wake up is just a bit too early for me. Also – I think if i attempted 6 minutes of meditation after waking up at 5am I’d instantly fall back asleep. I do like the idea of doing work in the morning though. Thanks for sharing!

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