My Routine

I think routines are important. Routines help me conserve my mental bandwidth so that I can use it for more things that move the needle. Thinking about when to go to the gym isn't a good use of that bandwidth. Keeping a routine also allows me to optimize based on observation of my own performance. I work out in the mornings, for example, because I'm an energetic early riser and so my best workouts are the ones that start my day.

Here are some aspects of my routine. I'm not suggesting that anyone else follow this, but you might get some benefit from modifying it to your own needs.  Plus, it was just interesting for me to think about.

1) What I eat: I've been following the Four Hour Body since June 1, 2011. I love it. It's the way I eat all the time now. I won't detail it here, but the notable aspects of it routine-wise for me are that cheat days can be any day Friday through Sunday, I do eat some small amounts of cheese, I take AGG/PAGG three out of four weeks and bagels and ice cream are my staple cheats. Cottage cheese and almond butter mixed together is my staple snack.

2) Working out: All my workouts are on the calendar. I feel like if I don't book the time for it, it won't happen. I follow the Four Hour Body two day a week lifting program, with the 5/5 cadence, one set to failure routine. I switch back and forth every few months between weights and body resistance (pushups, pull ups, dips). Body resistance workouts are great for the 5/5 thing. Try doing pushups and getting to 5 mississippi on the down and then back on the up. Monday morning I do biceps, chest, shoulder overheads, and squats, one exercise each. Thursday I do tris, back flys, and leg lifts. Each workout comes with core exercises, which include the ball, bicycle sit-ups, back raises, and side planks and sometimes a kettle bell, but I'm nursing a hip flexor tear so I've stopped that for a bit. On Wednesdays I swim. On Fridays, I do yoga. I also had my virtual assistant build a calendar for me of all the yoga classes within certain times and criteria, so I often whip that out to try to get a second class in. It also has the best swim times for my pool if I need to move a swim or get an extra in. It works best for yoga. Half my yoga workouts now are opportunistic based off that calendar. I also bike to work and just about everywhere else, and run races 1-2 times a month, but no running in between. At any given time I'm on one or two softball teams and a dodgeball team, but those are easy to fit in because they're just an hour or so once a week.

3) Sleeping: I generally get six hours sleep. That's what I actually need. If I get more, I feel tired. If I get less, I can wake up fine, but I'll hit a wall at the end of the day. Usually that means 1am to 7am except on Tuesdays when I teach up at Fordham and have to move the whole thing up a half hour for my 8:30am class.

4) Work: I work from home most Mondays, which forces me not to take any meetings. I get a lot done on Mondays. Either Tuesday or Wednesday I work out of General Assembly and the rest of the week I'm in my Dumbo office. I have a preset availability schedule for pitch meetings on Tungle that doesn't include meals.  Meetings are set to 45 min each, with 30 min buffers in between.  I never really take a pitch over a meal. Meals are for friends and professional friends, except Friday lunches. Every Friday I have a standing lunch set aside for a rotating group of 6-10 people. This is how I connect with new people who aren't pitching and how I keep up with a lot of professional friends. I could never take 1:1s with all of these seemingly awesome folks so this saves me about 6 or more hours a week. I try to make at least one meetup a week, speak somewhere every two, and attend most hackathons, startup weekends, etc even if it's just to drop in.  I work weekends, too--usually in the mornings, getting in a few hours of e-mail each time.  I use both Tungle and a virtual assistant to get all my scheduling done.

5) E-mail: This is the worst and least evolved part of my routine.  I have some canned responses that send people to Tungle for scheduling, use Otherinbox to get junk mail out of my inbox, and I use two windows at a time.  One tab has my most recent e-mails, for triaging important ones that come through that need to get answered right away.  The other has all the unreads on a first in first out basis.. ie old things I haven't responded to.  I make all the ones I don't have to respond to as read and archive them, and then go through the important stuff. 

6) Family: I don't have kids, otherwise a lot of this wouldn't work, but I generally stop in and see my parents once a week for a meal or just to check in... and I talk to my mom on the phone generally one other time during the week.  I call my grandmother at least once a week, and make sure I see her at least once every two weeks.  I need to get better about setting regular times to get my brother in Tampa on the phone.

7) Reading: I read most of my books in the Kindle app off my iPhone.  I mostly read non-fiction, and so I wind up reading a lot of book halves... until I feel like I got the gist.  At any given time I have about 10 partially read books open at any given time--and I'll just read them in the spare moments I have between meetings or during other things.  I also use Pocket for reading articles I've saved during the day.

8) Desktop:  I have two screens: one for real work one for distraction.  The real work screen has two Firefox tabs of e-mail open and whatever other things I'm doing.  I find that Gmail runs best in Firefox.  The other screen has Tweetdeck, Instant Messenger, and a Rockmelt browser open.  Tabs include Simplenote (which is also on my phone), my calendar, a google map to figure out how long it will take me to bike from place to place, and a Google voice Sidebar for texting, as well as some blogs I read all the time.

9) Head:  I shave my head about once a week, using just the blade cartridge of a Gilette Fusion razor--i.e. no stick.  Just the cartridge.  I feel l can make tighter turns that way without the stick getting in the way.  I don't use any shaving cream--just running shower water.

That's about it.  The one thing I really don't have a routine about is blogging.  I don't have a set time, but always seem to get in about 2 posts a week.  It really depends on what comes to mind.  I've tried to pick a time, but I have been unable to stick with it.