The 5-hour Work Day (Deep Work Changed My Life)
The Mastery Letter #16
I used to slide through life and wonder where the days went.
Time flies if you aren’t fulfilled.
This changed when I finally took a look at google calendar and analyzed it.
how many hours am I actually awake?
How many hours do I even get in this life if I’m 32 and I die at 80?
Around 280k hours, it may seem like a lot but it’s not.
I have 2500 weeks left to live.
I literally do nothing but drive in traffic drowning in cortisol only to chug 4 cups of coffee and drown in more cortisol at work. Then numb it with a beer when I get off.
Is this my life?
Is this all there is?
I want to maximize my potential and impact while on this planet.
That’s where I realized step one.
What does my day actually look like?
I added my normal activities in google calendar and was shocked..
4 hours of gaming, 1 of gym, and 11 hours of work, between the commute, and actually working.
1 hour for eating etc
I was sickened.
All 16 hours were being depleted on things that I wasn’t building. It wasn’t fulfilling at all.
I was just existing. Days flying by without progress.
I was regressing.
I went back to the drawing board and started with hour 1 and asked myself if it was my last day to live, what would I want to do that morning?
I looked at studies on what does science say about what is the ideal routine for happiness and purpose?
I found that your day must include these 3 key components as these are the states of mind & body that matter most.
Sense of reward from effort & focus
Relaxing & Enjoying life
(thanks Andrew Huberman)
I used the above as a foundation.
I had to wake up 2-3 hours earlier. This took a couple months. Easy.
I’d want to drink meditate, drink some coffee, go for walk, watch the sunrise and build a side hustle / skill for 90 minutes either through writing, or some sort of deep work.
So I added this new 2 hour block into google calendar and started getting up earlier.
That covers 6am-8am.
Hour 3 is the toughest to design and replace. It was my 90 minute work commute, which I fucking hated.
I knew this would take a long time.
I knew I needed a remote job, one I could make an impact at.
A few years later I had one. (See my last post on how to do this)
A fantastic consulting remote job.
6am-11am blocks are taken care of now with my ideal activities.
Progress, that’s about 33% of the day covered.
What do I want to do at 11am?
Lift weights at home.
I hate driving to the public gym, and because of the new remote job, my income doubled, so I got a moved to a nice apartment with a gym, and bought a few things they didn’t have.
Now I can walk 30ft to my apartment gym and get a workout in an empty gym.
I created this life for myself.
What do I want to do at 12pm?
I want to hang out with my girlfriend, lunch, coffee or climbing.
Or go on a nature walk while listening to audible or coming up with ideas for my writing.
The apartment I picked has an amazing trail out back, so it’s easy to just go outside and hop on the trail.
I signed up for a indoor rock climbing membership so I can go with my girlfriend and friends a few times a week.
6am-1pm is covered now with my favorite activities so far.
After lunch I want a 2nd work session for 2-3 hours.
I do this through impactful client work.
You get the point.
You must write out your dream life, hour by hour.
Start making massive goals.
Break them down into daily actions and add them into your google calendar.
Add in blocks for health, wealth and relationship-based activities and skills.
If you want to learn a new skill add a new 1 hour block every morning and get after it every day.
E.g of high-income skills:
You will thank yourself a few years down the line.
An amazing schedule will not be gifted to you some day.
No one is going to craft it for you.
No one is going to conquer your goals for you.
No one is coming to save you.
I hate to break it to you but:
Tomorrow will feel like today.
Next week will feel like today.
A year from now will feel like today.
You will never feel any different than you do right now.
There will never be some new mysterious future you that will save you from yourself.
Stop telling yourself this.
Motivation is fleeting, systems stick.
the present you that must take extreme action TODAY.
The present is all there is.
Extraordinary action is required to design your dream life.
Your dream life is represented by each hour in your google calendar TODAY.
There is nothing else except those 16 hours that you are awake.
Some of the blocks can take months to build because you have to wake up earlier, it could take 6 months+ to get the skills for a remote job for more autonomy.
Start designing it now.
Forget that stupid fantasy of laying on a beach all day in Hawaii drinking a pino colada. That is just implanted from the movies and fairy tales.
That shit would get old after 2 days.
You need time to chase your mission (learn skills and build wealth), build your body and build your tribe/family.
You have to spend time pushing your limits and potential.
My life fucking rocks and I want yours to as well.
Don’t just read this.
Create order out of the chaos of this human condition.
Don’t disappoint me, your family, and most important, yourself.
Download google calendar, or any digital calendar and add in roughly what you do currently, that way you can gain optics into the reality of your day.
It should sting.
It’s like adding your accounts into the mint budgeting app and finally gaining visibility into your spending habits.
What you track is what you improve.
There are reasons people track finances, workouts, business metrics etc.
Tracking always wins, so track what you spend your daily hours on.
It is meant to sting so you can make changes.
Then you can start working hour per hour to build the best day possible.
How are you going to spend your 16 hours awake?
Don’t waste away your life.
Good luck my friends.
Smell ya’ later.