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Your Second Life

Your Second Life

Note from Chris – No, not the game of the same name

Related to yesterday’s post about process flows, I’ve got a concept that I call My Second Life that I want you to consider. It takes just a little explaining, but then, the idea’s fairly easy to understand, adopt, and modify to your personal needs and schedule.

My life has the following rough time structure:

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6:30AM Wake up.
7:30AM Leave for day job.
5:00PM Leave the day job.
6:30PM Eat supper.
8:30PM Kids finally asleep.
8:30PM – 12:00AM

I call that time between my kids falling asleep and me falling asleep my second life. Some of it, I share with my wife (like last night), and the rest of it I horde into a greedy ball of time I can use to do my not-day-job. (Sorry for all this exposition, but I’m trying to get at something and I need you to all be nodding along before I say it).

My Second Life

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By using process flows, and by working with Google Calendar, I’ve found a way to get a lot of production out of those 3.5 hours I have each night. I built the system to be modular. If I have to reschedule something, I can just shift the flows around to match the new “lay of the land.” But, without the process flows, I’d have nothing. So, here’s a step-by-step to what I’m talking about.

  • Follow the 7 Tips for Google Calendar Planning
  • In Month View, line up your work for certain days, ensuring you have a day off, as well as time for your family.
  • On days you use for your second life, pick the specific process flows you’ve created for those days.
  • Just before executing your flows, schedule 20 minutes (more or less) to do a core dump or sweep or *.GTD term here.
  • Execute the evening’s flows.
  • Over several executions, figure out the actual TIME for those flows, and use that to better calibrate the calendar.
  • Over several executions, learn which parts of the flow should be farmed out to others.
  • Set up a monthly Second Life review to accompany your GTD reviews.

Manager

If you were managing a factory (and I am), you would want to know you’re getting the most out of your workers (you!) in the time alotted to those jobs. You’re the manager of your second life. You can choose to use that time well, or you can choose to fritter it away. When you make choice B, stop complaining about not having time to do GTD.

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The difference between complainers and successful folks is one word: execution. If you have an excuse, that excuse is the issue.

As manager of your second life, you choose what has priority. If you’re creating a new media production company like me, the emphasis right now seems to be taking the raw media and actually packaging it up to create the end product (audio and video podcasts). If you’re trying to write that great book, your emphasis should be in getting more pages. You say creativity can’t be scheduled? I’ve got a large bovine animal’s waste product to show you.

Recap

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  • Work your Calendar.
  • Find your second life work days.
  • Sweep your head.
  • Execute your flows.

Sounds fairly reasonable once you look that over, don’t you agree?

–Chris Brogan writes about self-improvement and creativity at [chrisbrogan.com]. He’s in pre-launch stages on a startup called Grasshopper New Media. He practices what he preaches and is building out the process flows related to everything he’s doing in this second life job of his so that execution and productivity are the key. Join him.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

When you become an early riser, you’ll experience a lot of benefits including feeling more energized and having more time to do what you want.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?

Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to Get up Before You Go to Sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

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No more!

If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before.

Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually, your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!

Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a Plan for Your Extra Time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day?

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If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed.

You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

3. Make Rising Early a Social Activity

Your internet or social media buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am?

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The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t Use an Alarm That Makes You Angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning?

I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.

When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get Your Blood Flowing Right After Waking

If you don’t have a neighbor, you can pick fights with at 5am, you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head.

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Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

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Featured photo credit: Nomadic Julien via unsplash.com

Reference

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