My Daily Schedule

I love learning about other people’s daily schedules because it often helps me improve my own. With that in mind, here’s what my typical weekday looks like these days:

7am/8am – I wake up when my 14-month old son Mason wakes up and starts complaining. I experimented with waking up at 6am for the first two weeks of January, but really don’t like getting up earlier than I have to so it didn’t last. My wife is 8 months pregnant so I try to let her sleep in.

 7:30am – 8:30am/9am – Take care of Mason, make breakfast, shower.

9am – 12pm – Work. At Automattic we all work remotely so I’m very fortunate not to have a commute. One day a week I cowork at Canvs in Orlando. Some days I work from local coffee shops, mainly Starbucks. I have 2 to 3 meetings per week (via Zoom or Google Hangouts) all of which usually last less than an hour. Most of the time I’m reading about other things going on at Automattic, participating in discussions relating to whatever I’m working on, or coding.

12pm – 1pm – These days, I take an hour midday to eat lunch (a salad), stretch (via the Yoga Studio app), meditate (via the Calm app), and watch a TED talk (on Netflix).

1pm – 4pm/5pm – Work. Some days I hit the gym around 4pm, but most days I work until around 4:30pm or 5pm.

5pm – 9pm/9:30pm – Family time.

9pm/9:30pm – 10:30pm/11pm – Some mix of reading, side projects, straightening up the house, and TV before heading to bed.

Not every day as structured as this might make it seem, but this is a pretty good approximation for how my weekdays go.

Our second kid is due in mid-March… it will be interesting to see how all of this changes after he or she arrives 🍼.

If you’re open to sharing your schedule, please drop me an email or message me on Slack. Maybe we can get a few ideas from each other to experiment with in our own schedules.

February Fitness Challenge, January Results

January’s Bet

At the beginning of January I posted about my goal to drop 5 pounds by the end of the month and offered to pay my friend Tom $300 if I didn’t reach it.

Today is February 1st and the final number is… down 4.4 pounds. Whomp whomp. The “good” news is that Tom fell short of his goal as well and because I was close, we’re just going call it even.

For February, I’m going to do something similar but iterate on the rules because the ones outlined above have some weaknesses:

  • First, it’s all or nothing. Being down 4.9 pounds or up 10 pounds is the same if the bet says if you don’t drop 5 you lose.
  • Second, my weight tends to fluctuate each day to day, so while I was in the 186s most of last week, I happen to weigh in above 188 today.
  • Third, while not losing money is a powerful incentive, it would be nice if there was the potential to win money as well.

With these in mind, here’s my bet with Tom for February:

My goal is to get to 184 pounds (down 4.6 pounds from this morning). For the last week of the month, I’ll weigh in each morning then we’ll use an average so that the day to day fluctuations even out. For every pound I’m over 184, I’ll pay Tom $50. For every pound under 184, he’ll pay me $50. If I’m successful, that will put me down 9 pounds from the beginning of the year.

Reflecting on January

I’ve been experimenting with a lot of lifestyle and diet changes over the last few weeks.

What went well

  • I’ve checked in on the Way of Life app every day since I started tracking on January 10th. The accountability it provides definitely helps me build good habits and avoid bad ones.
  • Most days I eat a light breakfast (scrambled eggs + guac) + a salad for lunch. I think a big factor in my weight loss in January was due to this.

What went alright

  • I started stretching and medidating several times a week. Ideally I’d like to do it once a day, but I’ve been having trouble fitting it in. At the beginning of January I tried waking up an hour early to start the day off with these and other healthy habits, but I’m not a morning person so it didn’t last. For the second half of the month I tried doing it before I went to sleep which works OK, but when I’m tired staying up an extra 20-30 minutes to stretch and meditate isn’t that appealing. For February, I’m going to try taking some time around lunch to stretch, meditate, eat a salad, and watching a TED talk (a new daily habit I’m starting) which should let me check off 4 of my daily habits in less than an hour.
  • I mostly avoided sugary drinks, but still average about 2/week.

What went poorly

  • I noticed that when I eat out I tend to use it as an excuse to eat whatever I want by telling myself “I eat well most days, I’ll treat myself today”. Going forward, I’m going to try to grab a salad whenever I eat out (I’m adding a “Eating a Salad When Eating Out” to my Way of Life habit list).
  • Between travel and a cold the last week of the month, I only wound up working out about twice per week, short of my goal of 3-4 times per week.
  • I started tracking “Eating Sweets” about a week ago and realized that I wind up eating something sugary most days (ice cream after dinner, etc). This is something I’d like to cut down on in the future.

I’m happy with the progress I made in January and am looking forward to continuing to build healthier habits going forward. Writing about it here helps keep me accountable and lets me share what I’m learning so thank you for reading :). If you have any recommendations that might help, don’t hesitate to drop me a note.

Building Habits with the Way of Life app

I recently heard about the Way of Life app from Tim Ferriss’s recent podcast discussion with Kevin Rose and want to share it with you all because I’ve found it really useful.

In a nutshell, the app lets you create a list of things you want to do or don’t do, asks you each day whether you did them, and displays a visualization showing how well you’ve done.

For example, here’s my current list:

  • Eating a Healthy Breakfast (good) – Usually scrambled eggs + guac.
  • Practicing Yoga (good) – I tried a bunch of stretching and yoga apps and ultimately settled on the extremely well done Yoga Studio.
  • Meditating (good) – I’ve been experimenting with this for a few weeks and am trying to stick with it long term. I use the Calm app though have heard Headspace app is great too.
  • Eating a Salad (good)
  • Drinking a Sugary Drink (bad) – Trying to continue December’s drink-well challenge
  • Eating Out (bad)
  • Exercising (good)

Here’s what it looks like in the app – green means I performed a good habit or avoided a bad habit:

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The great thing about the app is that it only takes about 20 seconds to go through and fill out the report each day so I never find myself being too busy to fill it out. Also, if I haven’t gone in and updated it by 9pm each day, the app sends me a notification to remind me.

Knowing that I’ll have to report each day how I’ve done has definitely improved my habits and (surprise surprise) I feel healthier as a result.

If you’re struggling to build habits, I highly recommend checking it out.

Jan 2016 Fitness Challenge

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My friend Tom Hanover just started a blog and his first post is about his ongoing success with a slow carb diet. To help him achieve his weight loss goals, he publicly committed to reaching a certain weight by the end of January and even offered to pay me $100 if he doesn’t.

As you might have gathered from my Drink Well December Challenge, I’m a big fan of public commitments especially when coupled with monetary incentives.

December’s challenge went really well by the way. With the exception of the occasional sweet tea and beer, I managed to avoid sugary drinks for all of December and I felt great because of it. One thing I could have done better though is with the self-imposed penalty for failing. I offered $20 to anyone who liked the post or commented, but the logistics of actually paying out to those 12 people – some of whom are strangers – would be a pain. Which brings me to January’s challenge…

I’m about 193 pounds at 20% body fat at the moment. I’d like to get down to 15% body fat this year. To move towards that goal, I’m going to start by trying to drop 5 pounds in January.

Tom, if I’m not at 188 pounds or less on February 1st, you’ll have $300 coming your way.

PS: If anyone else would like to commit to a goal by the end of January, I would be more than happy to be named the recipient of your cash if you don’t succeed :).

The Drink Well December Challenge

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One thing I’d love to give up forever is unhealthy drinks. Between iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts, chai tea lattes from Starbucks, Diet Dr Peppers, and similar deliciously unhealthy drinks, I probably have about one per day. Not good.

In an attempt to remedy that, I’m going to try a little challenge in December where my goal is not to have any of those things for the entire month.

In order to hold myself accountable, I’d like to make you all an offer (that is, all ~5 of you who read this blog 😃): if you hit Like on this post or add a comment, I’ll PayPal you $20 if I fail the challenge. 

I could cheat of course and you’d never know, but I won’t.

Wish me luck! Or don’t, depending on how badly you want that $20….