Justin Wright

Weekly Recap - Find Your Rhythm

publishedabout 2 months ago
3 min read

Happy Monday!

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This week we're talking about the circadian rhythm, and how to optimize yours.

As a brief disclaimer: any links for items, books, etc. that are available for purchase are done through an affiliate program. This means that I get paid a small pittance of money for everything you buy using my links. I don't recommend things I haven't read/used, so using these links helps me out and gets you great products!

Find Your Rhythm

When it comes to optimizing your output on any given day, it's critical to understand the circadian rhythm and how it works. In short, it's a 24-hour cycle that determines sleep and wakefulness. This cycle is often regulated by sunlight (when done properly), and helps your body naturally flow from going to bed, to waking up, to tackling the day ahead of you.

On top of this natural biological clock, there are also separate chronotypes that determine what times of day you excel at certain activities. This is the reason that some people prefer to exercise in the morning vs the afternoon, why certain people feel most productive at night vs during the day, and why we all have separate preferences of time for certain activities. Being able to understand and optimize both will allow you to be most productive.

When it comes to our circadian rhythm, establishing proper morning and nighttime routines can help fix issues caused by the modern, always-connected world. Experts recommend getting sunlight first thing in the morning to help your body naturally wake up. This early sun exposure kickstarts the metabolic processes necessary for daily function. The opposite is true for nighttime; watching TV or staying on your phone too long can trick your body into thinking that it's still daytime even when you're prepping for bed.

Once you've established these habits, you need to determine the ideal time for certain activities while you're actually awake. Do you get your best thinking done early morning or late at night? Do you hit a lull in the middle of the afternoon, or do you feel a new burst of energy? Do you have specific times that you feel most creative?

When you take some time to think about these things, you will start to notice patterns. Focus on optimizing your schedule around these patterns to set yourself up for success. If you can structure your calendar around making yourself most productive, you will squeeze a little bit more juice out of each day. Additionally, you will likely be happier if you go from fighting uphill to cruising through your daily schedule and feeling like you're getting more done.

Hit List

The most interesting things I've encountered this week:

What I'm reading: The Power of When by Dr. Michael Breus

This book breaks down common chronotypes and ideal schedules for each one. There is also a fairly comprehensive survey to help you determine which type is most dominant for your personality. This is more art than science, but some of the suggestions may help you better optimize your days.

What I'm also reading: Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker

This book has popped up in this newsletter before, but Dr. Walker does a great job of breaking down the circadian rhythm and how to optimize our sleep/wake routines. If you need more convincing about the importance of sleep, I highly recommend this book. (NOTE: The second section is very dense and research-oriented, so feel free to skim or skip this section and come back to it when you finish the book.)

Article of the week: "6 Mindsets That Will Distinguish You as a Leader" in Inc.

I'm always intrigued by leadership and management research, tips, and tricks. This article does a decent job of distilling some high-level leadership tactics into a bite-sized package. Although this article applies more to CEO/executive-level positions, there are pieces that can help any leader or manager.

Thought of the week:

Where do I feel like I'm fighting upstream?

Specifically, what parts of my routine do I feel require an oversized amount of effort? Is there a way that I can reduce this effort by rearranging things?

Efficiency Tip of the week:

Break goals down into daily habits if you want to consistently make meaningful progress.

When you want to accomplish something, you have to find a way to improve your daily routine. Want to run a marathon? You better start running regularly. Take this same approach to every goal you want to achieve.

I've mentioned it before, but I personally use the Todoist app (Apple, Android) to accomplish this. It lets me set recurring, daily tasks to keep me on track with my larger goals. You can also quickly move tasks to another day to clean up your list and make things more manageable.

That will do it for this week!

If you haven't downloaded your free copy yet, I've distilled all my tips and tricks for learning and retaining information here: Trainedwright Learning Guide.pdf

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