Starting up anything isn’t easy. It’s actually incredibly difficult at times. I reviewed my sleep this past week (of course I track my sleep!) and found that I’ve averaged a little over 3 hours. While I don’t need a lot of sleep in general (I sleep 4-6 hours normally), getting a total of 3 hours from a series of naps is not optimal at all, which has been the case since my son, Elijah, was born. To not only survive this period, but thrive, the need to be ruthless with my schedule and priorities is necessary. There’s no other way to get everything done at work, stay healthy, spend quality time with my wife, care for our son, and continue to serve the organizations and communities I am involved in. Discipline is not just a good idea. It’s the only idea that will produce results. My schedule looks like this at the moment:
4:30am: Wake-up and morning ritual, which includes my devotions, meditation, short workout, pray for my family and teams, and review the day.
6:00am: Get dressed and leave for the office. Read the news or listen to a podcast in the car.
7:00am: Start work day. Huddle with team and leaders on Monday’s, review different units depending on predetermined priorities, or email/message instructions to teams for the day. I try not to start the day by answering emails that way I avoid reacting to them. We all get thousands of emails that all threaten to dictate our day. I try to start with my priorities.
The rest of the day is non-stop activity which I’ve come to enjoy. The secret to not getting tired during the day is to stay engaged. If you stay engaged and focused, you’ll get a lot done. I keep a detailed bullet point list using Microsoft OneNote on a day page and add links and attach photos of the notes to it. I like taking notes on a Moleskine notebook, so I take photos of the notes and add them to the digital page that way it’s easier to access in the future. My tip here is to try to remove randomness and negotiations from your day. Set your priorities beforehand and commit to them. Don’t guess what your day will look like. Design it. And don’t second guess your commitments. Stay faithful even if you’re feeling lazy or it’s difficult.
I try to be home by 6:30pm, which doesn’t happen a lot, so I just give Yasmin a heads up. When I am home, we have dinner together, spend time with Elijah, and read to him from the Bible and from whatever book I’m reading, whether it be poetry, Thomas Sowell, Rowan Moore, or Robert Massey.
Since we don’t have stay in maids or nannies, Yasmin and I do our own chores. A cleaner who comes in a few times a week takes care of, well, cleaning, and laundry. We do the rest, particularly in the evening and weekends when it’s just us. While it’s extra work, we prefer this hands-on approach to our home and family. It is also more affordable. As a startup family (less than 2 year marriage, 2 week old baby), it’s important to stay intimately involved, which I think works well for startup businesses as well. I remember when we first started Bridge, we all embraced the idea of Garage Mode, where we would not just be ok with not having fancy things, but enjoy it. We love Garage Mode at Bridge and will guard the lessons and experiences from that season. Same at home. My wife and I chat about the day Elijah will be big enough to hike with us or paint and play tennis, but we also enjoy every fun and inconvenient moment of his complete dependence. How does one enjoy inconvenice, whether at work or home? In one word: Love. Wiping my son’s butt isn’t some random poop cleanup. It’s me caring for my love. When I watch how selfless my wife is with Elijah, instinctively waking before him to prepare his milk (which basically means preparing her breasts), I see a physically tired but incredibly graceful woman. She makes this feeding and changing with no sleep while recovering from a Cesarean beautiful. I’m not talking about a face lifted, made up, catwalk stunner that comes from outer embellishments, but a soulful inner beauty that comes from inner engagements. Again, it’s much like a startup business. It’s not the external media focus that makes your startup. It’s your internal engagement. It’s your commitment when no one is looking. It’s your team’s real culture when you’re not there. It’s your inner work that will produce the outer work.
At the end of the day, about 9pm, Yasmin does her final pump for the day and prepares to rest after almost non-stop caring for Elijah. I take over (though I call Yasmin a lot for help!) and set him up to sleep beside me while I work until about 10:30pm, do my evening ritual which includes a breathing exercise and preparing for the next day, and finally end the day reading. I usually sleep around 12 or 1am, but wake on and off to check on Elijah. We still have new parent jitters. Usually around 3am he has another feeding and diaper change, then I’m able to squeeze in a nap before waking up again to begin my day.
Despite this busyness I’m able to write, exercise, study, and play a short game on my phone (like chess, Sim City, or Vain Glory), which I treat like mental sorbet between modes of thought. We really have a lot of time if we manage it well. Even one’s gaming should be scheduled in my opinion.
I’ll be sharing a list of what my wife and are focusing on the next few weeks for our Startup Family, but I really want to encourage you, whether, single, married, with or without kids, manage your time well by scheduling ahead. Sundays are a great time to prepare the week’s events. Like I said, don’t guess and negotiate through your priorities. Instead, design your days.
You’re more capable of greater things than you think. Give yourself an advantage by making use of every second of every minute of every moment. #db
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalms 90:12 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.90.12.ESV