3.1 Morning Pages
3.3 Box Breathing
3.4 Process Inbounds
3.6 Professional Development
3.8 Review Finances
3.9 Project Work
3.10 Read 50 Pages
This protocol outlines the core activities I aim to undertake every day. These activities/habits have been developed in order to satisfy the following general objectives:
- Physical Health
- Emotional Control
- Financial Management
- Intellectual Development
- Professional Performance
- Relationship Strength
Particularly important in this protocol is the time spent before I begin my career work; it is usually from 5:00am to 6:30am on weekdays and is an opportunity to capture my unique thoughts at the start of every day. This block of time emphasises creation and introspection, requiring that I do not consume content from others which would serve only to distract my mind and remove the burden of original thought.
In the hyper-connected modern life we find ourselves in, this protocol is a deliberate attempt systematically analyse and improve what is truly important to me. My aim is that, using this protocol as a living guide, I can refine my daily activities to the point where the necessary activities are almost unconsciously completed each day. This is not to say, however, that the routine has no room for unexpected change—indeed, it has been designed so that I am better able to cope with uncertainty in the future.
By breaking down the most important parts of my day to their most basic elements and tracking them over the long-term, my mind is no longer cognitively burdened with remembering what I need to achieve and I can easily see if I am off track, thanks to a simple habit tracking solution. As in everything I design, I aim to build slack into my life so that mastering the fundamentals comes easily and chaos in life is able to be dealt with as easily as possible.
Morning Pages constitutes producing three pages of hand-written, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. They are an opportunity to enhance creativity, reduce general anxiety and generate new ideas.
For the most part, I use this to dump thoughts which have previously looped in my mind. By reducing my cognitive load I am more ready to generate new ideas and start fresh with new problems, concepts and desires. I will often find my mind is drawn to the same topic or idea for weeks on end—this is always a sign that I must pursue this thought further (either to close the loop or to dive deeper into the exploration).
After years of experimentation, I believe the following two items are the best tools for physically writing my morning pages:
- LIFE Noble Note Section - N28 B6 5m/m
- Uniball Vision Elite Pen
This is one of the aspects I struggle with fairly consistently. I almost never feel hungry in the mornings and must force myself to have something. A key is making it easy for myself (small amount of oats or Greek yoghurt) and consuming this before coffee helps to ensure my appetite is not suppressed further.
I use box breathing as an alternative to meditation—a way to relieve stress and induce a state of calm. While this activity can be performed relatively easily throughout the day, I try to complete a four-minute session every morning.
This method is a 4-4-4-4 routine, performed for three minutes. This means a four-second inhale, 4-second breath hold, 4-second exhale and a 4-second breath hold completes one set—performed until the three minutes are complete.
There is an additional emphasis here on performing ‘diaphragmatic breathing’—pushing my stomach out on inhales and pulling in on exhales. Studies have shown that this method has significant positive effects on cortisol levels and improved mental function such as attention1.
- Schedule/delegate any required tasks or appointments
- File digital receipts
- Archive until Inbox Zero
- Read through ‘Core’ folder
- Make note of any incidental thought or ideas arising from the review, star the article if I need to revisit the article at a later time
- If sufficiently useful, use MarkDownload and add document with markups to my Wiki
- Skim ‘Additional’ folder if I have spare time on my commute
I take the following each day:
- 3x Blackmores Total Calcium & Magnesium + D3
- 1x Bioglan Red Krill Oil 500mg
- 2x 30g MyProtein Whey Concentrate Shake w/ Water
I take the tablets and first shake at 10am and the second shake at 2pm.
Every day I try to improve my professional engineering abilities. I follow the key ideas every day, attempting to compound my knowledge and skill:
- Question inputs until I understand the why
- Refine my outputs until they are the highest quality possible (within given timeframes)
- Document my learnings, either in my knowledge base or in a handwritten note format
I aim to work out a minimum of three times a week. My routine is focused on basic strength through compound movements, I use the Wendler 5/3/1 app. My routine is split as follows:
- Workout A / B / C / D
- Deadlift / Squat / Bench / OHP - 3x5 @ 65-75-85%
- Deadlift / Squat / Bench / OHP - 5x10 @ 50%
The progressions is simple—add 2.5kg to a lift, to be performed in the next workout, once the reps are successfully completed. I can be done in under 30 minutes and aim to perform the sets with as minimal rest as possible to keep my heartrate elevated.
I will not necessarily complete the subtasks outlined below but I do try to employ positive financial management every day. This is about mindfully spending—I have tried to learn from previous spending and follow the general rule that I am patient and deliberate with all purchases but don’t hesitate in spending money for essential, high-quality products which will see a large amount of use.
In general, my review process consists of:
- Saving and encrypting my payslip information
- Filing and categorising all transactions in Pocketbook
- Reviewing my ‘wish list’ of future purchases and ensuring they are still relevant
- Use project dashboards in Obsidian to evaluate the state of current projects
- Ensure that at least there is one Next Action for each
- Update projects based on information received last week
- Schedule 4x 2hr Work Cycles throughout the week for project work in Thunderbird calendar
Read 50 Pages
Fairly self-explanatory. Having at least a shallow knowledge of a large amount of areas of expertise and constantly widening the scope of my understanding is a core principle of mine. Besides this, I truly enjoy reading and it serves as the ideal way to wind down on most of my days—barring the rare occasion when I feel that I need to relax my brain with a less cognitively-demanding media, such as tv or movies.