I mean… really lazy.
My schedule for each day revolved around the shows on TV, an hour here, a couple of hours there. Maybe some guitar practice. Maybe go put out some flyers or posters for lessons. Part of the problem was I wasn’t really sure what it is I should be working on, part was that I had a terrible work ethic.
But, eventually, I realised that if I wanted to make anything of my myself (after all, “man is a being of self made soul”), I had to get stuff done. I had to work. On myself and my craft.
I had to become more disciplined (I still have work to do on this) and develop my work ethic, so that I could get more done. So, I started waking up earlier. I would set an alarm each day. At one point I had a goal of getting up at 5.30am, but that isn’t practical for a few reasons.
The important thing, is that I started to push the time I got up earlier and earlier. Which, allowed me to get more and more done.
That’s why it’s 5.43am in the UK. I’ve had breakfast, made some coffee, and sat down to continue my 30 day blogging challenge (and thinking over in my head the next 30 day challenge I can do…).
Over time, I started thinking about the ideal average day I could have, and started figuring it out. There is still some “editing” to be done, and I’m sure it will evolve as time goes on, but currently, this is what my average day looks like:
My Average DayGet up any time between 5am and 7am (usually earlier in summer and later in winter). I don’t set an alarm unless:
- I have a flight (which isn’t often)
- I catch myself sleeping in later and later
Today I woke up at 4am, snoozed for a bit, then got restless and got up.
I have a quick, light breakfast, then start on my morning project. This could be song writing, studying classical music or something else. Currently my morning project is to write a blog post every morning. In January, I think it will be to write and record a piece of counterpoint on guitar every morning.
Once the blog post is published, guitar practice starts. I’ve been relearning Bach’s 1st and 2nd Cello Suites on electric guitar recently, so that I can make YouTube videos at the weekends. So I put about an hour into that. Then I work on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, usually another hour or so.
Around 10am it’s time for second breakfast (I eat like a hobbit), which us 4 fried eggs. Usually with half a plate of spinach, sometimes with bacon.
I’m currently writing the follow up album to Impetuous Desire, and studying Bach’s preludes from the Well Tempered Clavier Book 1; so I work on those on alternate days.
then it’s off to the gym, to work out for 30-45 minutes.
I get back, have some lunch, then hit my afternoon slump. I don’t know why, but 1pm-3pm is usually my most unproductive time of day. This is partially why I like to get up early, it means I can get all my productive stuff done. During the week I then teach from 6pm-9pm in the evenings, which is why I don’t get up as early as I would like, my body needs rest from working out and not resting properly kills me.
If I can, I like to fit in reading a book – I love reading. On the rare days I’m sick (less than 5 days a year usually), I’ll watch Netflix all day. I usually get a weird attack of vertigo / dizziness for 2 days a year or so, last time I managed to nearly watch every James Bond film in order.
Winning the DayPart of this structure comes from a concept I learned on Andy Frisella’s MFCEO Podcast (which is a great Podcast!). He calls it “winning the day”. Every day, he has 5 things that he has to do, in order to ‘win’. These 5 things are activities that set him up for long term success.
So every day, I have a few things that I have to do. They’re changing and evolving as I figure out more about how to get where I want to go:
- Practice guitar
- Write music
- Work out
- Promote myself (whether by writing a blog post or working on a new YouTube video)
- Post on social media
I don’t always get them all done, but most days I get most of them done.
And usually I get most of them done before 1pm, which is awesome.
I keep a notebook, that has a double page for each day. The left hand page is my schedule for the day – my 5 things to win the day, and the right hand page is goals, targets, success and goals.
Let me explain that right hand page.
Every morning I write out my life goals, and then a few targets that I am currently working towards, that are on the path to my life goals. Each evening before going to sleep, I write out the things I accomplished that day and then my goals again.
I’ve read about a tonne of successful people writing out their goals morning and night, and it really does help keep your mind focussed on what it is you want to achieve long term.
Other Benefits of Early MorningsWhile everyone is different, I’ve found for myself, and from interviews I’ve read with other musicians, that the early morning is the most creative time of day.
In the mornings, I can focus for much, much longer periods of time than I can in the afternoon / evening.
Other people aren’t awake. It’s quiet. It’s nice. You can think.
By the time most people are on their way to work… I’ve written 1000 words and done an hour of practice / writing music.
How to Use Early MorningsIf you want to improve at something, become an expert at something or learn a new skill; then early mornings are the best time of day.
You can read up on a topic you want to learn about, practice an instrument; draw, paint or sculpt; you could write, start a blog, or just read a book for fun and make your way through that reading list you’ve had for ages.
Once you settle into the rhythm of early mornings, you’ll find them to be a serene retreat to start the day with.