Your time is the most valuable asset that you have, and the present is the only thing that you have to work with as the past is gone and the future is not yet here. Successful men always control their narrative and how they spend their time is no exception. In his masterpiece, “Sun and Steel”, Yukio Mishima lays out the duality between the day and the night. According to him the day is for action while the night is for contemplation. I have found this to be true in my own experience and also in researching the lives of my ancestors. In times past, men often retreated to contemplation and discussion after a hearty dinner and hard day of work. The evening was the time when men pondered the mysteries of life, dreamed and discussed great things. These thoughts turn into action.
Boiled down to its essence, focus on action during the day, contemplation and leisure in the evening. Now, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. You will take vacations and you may do leisure activities during the day in conjunction with business. What we are really focusing on is the majority of your work days.
Before you can sit down and plan your day, you need to have a solid idea of what you want out of life. What is your passion or your Thumos? You must know yourself, your passion and your purpose in order to effectively plan anything. If you don’t yet know these things, take the time to really find out. It will be one of the best investments that you ever make.
Once you know your purpose in life and your subsequent goals you’ll be able to realistically break down your months, weeks and days. This will allow you to focus your time and energy on the most important things and filter out the rest. The first step to success will be to plan out your week on Sunday and plan out each day’s daily tasks the evening before. In my experience, writing out your goals for the week and then scheduling your day hour by hour is the most effective plan. Your schedule needs to be realistic and attainable. Once you have set it you must stick to it like glue. As usual, people will criticize you for this. You’ll hear things like, “Its not good to be so rigid, you need to kick back too!”. This comes from dudes who get to the gym once and then decide to “take it easy tonight”. Their opinions don’t matter. Don’t pay any attention. Once you start to plan your schedule and do it, you’ll realize how much time you’ve wasted with crap, but you will also gain invaluable perspective on how you want to spend your time. Not only will scheduling increase your productivity but it will also increase your quality of life because you will only give time to people and pursuits that fit into your game plan. The idea of wasting time will begin to disgust you if it already hasn’t.
Here are some fundamental ways that you can start. I personally do all of these things daily:
1) Get up early, 5 am is ideal. Getting up early will make you feel good. You’ll accomplish so much constructive work by the time most people are hitting snooze on their alarm clocks. If you are not a “morning person” that works even better; you’ll feel great by pushing yourself to get up early. “Sleeping in” on the weekends should not exceed 6 am.
2) Practice awareness training. I do this in the morning before anything else as well as at varying times during the day. I find that it helps me to clear my mind of unnecessary garbage and to keep my focus on my goals. You should have your life goals written down. Make sure to look them over in the morning and throughout the day. Make sure that you plan how you will take action towards each goal today.
3) Your work. Focus on the task at hand, forget trying to multi-task. Dive into your work, your creation, your art. Give it 1000% . If you are still working for someone else then treat this as a learning experience. Keep you your goals in front of you always and move towards them. If you approach the “daily grind” as a business school you will be making good use of your time. Use your lunch time to further your goals by writing for your blog, reading to improve yourself, get to the gym, go for a walk and practice your day game, etc.. Don’t waste it hanging out with the guys from the office eating shit food and wasting time talking about last night’s game.
4) Warrior training. This includes hitting the gym. Don’t forget the other aspects of your training either: martial arts, shooting both rifle and pistol as well as other weapons.
5)Masculine pursuits. Once your work day is over and you have workout out and done your warrior training then it is time to shift the focus of your day to the contemplative. This is the point in the day where you will read, study, learn. You can also take part in other forms of masculine leisure such as playing chess, reading or writing. Keep the tv turned off and sell your gaming console. Trust me, when you are lying on your deathbed you won’t be wishing that you had played “Call of Duty” one last time.
6) Meals. These obviously come at different times during the day. The main thing is to eat healthy and prepare your food ahead of time. There are so many fitness articles online that stress the importance of meal prep. My experience has taught me that this is one of the few universal truths of the fitness industry. Make the time to do it. Take the time to eat, don’t rush it. If possible, eat with someone else and converse. Put the phone away and keep the tv off. If you have a family make sure to eat dinner together at the table each and ever night. Have your wife cook for you and prepare the table. Offer her encouragement to do so. Get to know local restaurants where you can find good, healthy food. When you are going out to eat for business or pleasure make the choice of one of these restaurants.
7) Plan for the next day’s success. Before bed time give yourself ample time to review your goals and what you did to accomplish them today, then write down your plan for the next day.
8) Go to bed, wake up the next day and repeat.
Know your purpose. This narrows things down. Have goals. Focus only on the important things. Practice mindfulness, awareness.
These are the keys to succesfully planning your day.
Until next time.