I recently read a blog post about the fruits of being strategically lazy (podcast here by the same author). I thought it was a brilliant idea and suddenly realized that I have aspired to be strategically lazy for a long time. A good example of this is the morning routine which I’ve adopted, which I will call the strategically lazy morning routine. Here is the rough breakdown in reverse:
To be lazy
I want to wake up at the last possible minute. It’s not just because I love sleep, but also because I relish the challenge of efficiently completing a series of tasks in rapid-fire succession.
To be strategic
I want to complete a comprehensive set of tasks in the shortest amont of time possible. In order to do this I will need to carefully select the most important tasks which are relevant to my personal goals, and then to arrange them in the most efficient way possible.
The strategically lazy morning routine
I shoot for a 9:30am arrival in my office, which is about 25 minutes away from my apartment, whether I take the subway or hail an Uber. I plan to leave by 9am, giving myself five minutes for unexpected delays, which means for a 20-minute routine I will be out of bed by 8:40am at the latest. As described above, I usually wait until the last possible minute.
The list of tasks below is pretty long. On my daily task list, it’s six items, which is almost 50% of the daily habits that I seek to hit. So this 20-minute window is without a doubt the most important small block of the day.
- Sleep Cycle goes off at 8:40am after having analyzed my sleep patterns for the night
- Make my bed before doing anything. This one is a huge psychological win
- Do 15 pushups. This brings you to full alertness immediately, which makes subsequent steps more manageable. I can do more pushups but I just want something to wake me up, and to not be struggling at my bedside moments after reaching consciousness.
- Get dressed and put on my watch. Sometimes I will have places the clothes I intend to wear on my drawer. Other times not.
- Step onto a scale and measure my weight. Record it in the Health app on my iPhone. As Peter Drucker famously said: What gets measured gets managed.
- Take supplements: Fish Oil and Vitamin D. These are fantastic general purpose supplements that can benefit everyone. When I take the supplements I will set a timer on my watch for an hour. After the hour is up, then I can drink coffee without it neutralizing the supplements. For researching supplements, Examine.com is an excellent and unbiased source which I recommend.
- Floss. Once you get into the habit, it becomes automatic and takes about one minute. Good for the health of your teeth, your gums, and possibly even your heart.
- Brush with an electric toothbrush of the Oral-B variety. An automatic timer in the brush tells you when you can stop brushing.
- Make a super-quick protein shake with milk, a banana, protein powder, and ground oatmeal. The oatmeal is pre-ground with a coffee grinder and stored in a special container which makes preparing this even faster. Optionally I will add yogurt or seasonal fruits like strawberries or blueberries. Takes about 4 minutes to prepare.
- Grab my bag, which is already packed, and head out the door. Either walk to the subway station nearby or hail an Uber to pick me up outside.
Note: if you don’t take supplements in the morning and you’re a coffee drinker, preparing coffee at home is a great idea and can be done quickly with excellent quality using an Aeropress. More on that here: Morning Routine with the Aeropress.
The routine is not just to get a bunch of things done, although that alone is worth it. It’s to face the rest of your day with the confidence that you’ve already achieved, setting the stage for more achievements.