Here is Part 2 of Lessons Learned from The 5 AM Club! As you can tell I have a lot to say about this book, so I’ll jump right into it!
1. Three tactics to stick habits – Sharma lists three tactics to help instill habits in people.
“1. To make a habit last, never install it alone.
2. The teacher learns the most.
3. When you most feel like quitting is the time you must continue to advance.“
These are some simple concepts that help to engrain habits into your life. Sharma explains them in the following manner. To make a habit last it is easier to do it with a group of people, having a support group or partner makes it easier to form habits. When you teach your knowledge to others it also helps instill a habit. If you are not comfortable teaching people in person start a blog or an Instagram page. Get the message into the world that you are doing positive and impactful things with your life. People will identify with you as long as you are spreading positive messages. This blog has helped me teach the things that I have learned through my reading journey. To be honest I have no idea if anyone is reading it, but I feel like the more good thoughts that is put into the world the better of the world will be. Teaching the knowledge you have to others it will benefit you and the people who receive your message. The last one is fairly simple when you feel like quitting don’t! This is a simple concept but probably the hardest of the three. It is easy to quit something when it gets hard and I think most people do this. The hardest things in life are not the basic things. Although some people may have you believe this, going to work or school is not hard. What is hard is the extra effort you have to put in to become a top performer.
I recently listened to Ted Turner’s book Call Me Ted and it is very interesting. One of the major things I took out of this book it the extra lengths he goes through to achieve his goals. Turner has a no quit attitude, when a person told him something was impossible this is when he worked harder to make it happen. Turner was told many times that a 24-hour news network would not work but to him it only made sense. Why could you only watch news for a half-hour daily at 6:00 pm, wasn’t there a market for news at other times during the day? Turner created CNN, which for the first number of years lost money! He still stuck with his idea and now every network has a 24-hour news channel. Turner was a true pioneer and helped develop the cable industry. Turner certainly had his flaws, many nights he slept at the office and this had affected on his personal. I don’t think you should follow the exact blueprint of Turners life. Although when it comes to pushing ahead when you want to quit, I think there are many things you can learn from Ted Turner.
2. The 20/20/20 formula – If you are looking for an exact morning routine to follow, this is what you are looking for. This can be found on page 206 of The 5 AM Club. The 20/20/20 formula can be broken down into three 20-minute segments and is constructed to start your day in a productive way. The first 20 minutes is dedicated to exercise and is meant to get your body moving. The next 20 minutes is for reflection which can be either journaling, meditation, or praying. The final 20 minutes are dedicated to growing where you can read, listen to audiobooks/podcasts, or study online. Sharma basically says this is a template and can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle. This is basically an outline for a productive morning.
In my last post I broke down my morning routine, and I still follow it. I’ll go through it again for anyone that didn’t read my last post. I start my day off with exercise mostly weight and body weight training. This lasts for approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the exercises I decide to do that day. I usually do this, five times a week giving my body two recovery days. Although sometimes I exercise every day just to get my mind engaged. Following exercise, I do 5-10 minutes of meditation depending on the time I have left in my morning routine. After meditation I journal, I don’t go too in-depth into my journaling usually I just list my work out and meditation results. Noting where I am in my workout and meditation progress. I also write my goals noting my long-term (5-10 years), short-term (1 year), and daily goals. Then I write for an hour which is basically the start of my daily goals. It’s a pretty simple morning routine but starts my day off in the right direction!
3. Pre sleep ritual – Like I said before The 5 AM Club is basically a blueprint on how you can lead a very productive life. The pre-sleep ritual can be found on page 232 of The 5 AM Club and basically sums up how you can spend your last three hours of your day from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I have yet to follow this routine and I’m unsure that I will. Although if you are looking for the optimum pre-sleep ritual this would work perfectly. Basically, you are trying to wind down before bed and relieve yourself from intense stimulation. I don’t follow Sharma’s routine, but I do take some points from it. I like to watch some mindless TV after supper and relax from my workday. I don’t enjoy TV that makes me think or gets my mind more active than it should be. I usually watch sitcoms, and I’m currently re-watching Friends for the 100th time. I try to turn off the TV around 8:30 pm, then I follow with my pre-sleep routine which is fairly simple. I get ready for bed which consists of taking the dog out and brushing my teeth. Then I read from then on until around 10:00 pm or until I can’t keep my eyes open. I try to sleep by 10:00 pm to ensue my seven hours of sleep. This is nothing complicated but allows me to get the rest I need to get up at 5:00 am and go through my morning routine.
4. The 60-minute student and traffic university – I think both these concepts can be combined into the same section. The 60-minute student is basically the concept to take 60 minutes every day and devote this to learning about something. Take an online course or read a non-fiction book. I’ve been doing this in my life for some time now, either through reading or taking online courses. I find reading to be more productive than online courses. When I was taking online courses, I was more focused on the mark and getting things in by a certain deadline than what I actually learned. Now that I am focusing my energy toward reading books, I find I am engaged and excited to learn. Also, with reading if a book doesn’t pique your interest you can start a new one, no one is forcing you to finish it. But with courses the instructor has to stick to a certain curriculum, if you don’t find the course interesting you still have to complete the work or you risk losing money or getting a failing grade.
I combined this section with traffic university because I think they are the same concept. You can accomplish your 60 minutes of learning while you are on your commute to and from work. I spend a lot of time driving to and from job sites, in a week I spend anywhere from 5 to 10 hours in a vehicle. I usually spend this time either listening to audiobooks or podcasts. For the last month or two, I have exclusively been listening to audiobooks. There are some great platforms out there for audiobook listening like Overdrive, I mainly use this to get access to library books. Scribd and Audible are two other great platforms that gives you access to audiobooks. Scribd is a platform like Netflix, where you pay a subscription fee and can choose from thousands of titles. Audible you also pay a subscription fee, but I only get one book a month and you get a discount on the rest. I’ve used all three of these services, but I prefer the overdrive app to use the library resources.
I don’t retain as much information when I listen to books as opposed to reading them, but it is a good way to consume information. Sometimes I feel there is some information I don’t fully understand, and I would like to read the section. I could always replay the section, but I never think to do this! One of the great things about reading a book is you can go back and read a concept multiple time. I find with audiobooks I never go back and relisten to a section. Although with a book if I find something really interesting, I may reread it three or four times. I love listening to audiobooks and it a great way to consume information. If we spend an hour a day driving to and from work and we work for thirty years we would spend over a year of our lives driving. This is a very conservative calculation most people work for more than 30 years and a lot spend more than one-hour driving. Although if you look at it from this perspective it’s a long time to spend in a car listening to the same songs on repeat.
5. The perfect day – On page 235 of The 5 AM Club Sharma breaks down the perfect day. I can’t say I’ve followed this outline perfectly, but it is something worth studying. To completely go into the perfect day in this blog post, I would have to break down all of Sharma’s. But I’ll break down the aspects of Sharma’s “The Amazing Day” that I incorporated into my life. First off, his morning routine is excellent and something I would consider life changing. I talked earlier in this post about the “20/20/20 formula” which breaks down the first hour of your morning. I pretty much follow this exactly; my first hour of my morning consists of exercise, meditation, and journaling. The last 20 minutes of your first hour, Sharma has dedicated to learning, I sub this for journaling.
From 6:00 am to 8:00 am he has this section of your day dedicated towards family and personal pursuits. In this portion of my day, I write my blog and do a small amount of work on my Instagram account. I try keeping this portion of my day free from social media but where I am focusing on growing my Instagram account, I do allow some time for this. My personal pursuit usually ranges from 6:00 am to 7:00 am. From 7:00 am to 7:30 am, I walk my dog and get ready for work. From 7:30 am to 8:00 am I drive to work and listen to an audiobook; I am currently listening to Principles by Ray Dalio.
Sharma recommends the first half of your day (8:00 am to 1:00 pm) to be focused on serious tasks and the second half of your day (1:00 pm to 5:00 pm) be focused on less serious pursuits. I try and follow this, dedicating the first half of my day to getting shit done and the second half of my day to answering emails and social connections.
In the evening I don’t follow Sharma’s perfect day. Sharma basically recommends this time be free from digital devices, but I enjoy watching some mindless TV to relax. I do dedicate my drive home from work to listening to audio books and my wife and I usually eat supper together every night. Sharma recommends from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm be dedicated to reading, journaling, and prepping for the morning rise. I like turning off the TV by 8:30 pm here, then I read and prep for the morning. Usually, I turn out the lights by 10:00 pm. I should note my weekends are a bit different. I don’t get up at 5:00 am but I do follow Sharma’s outline for the perfect day to a certain extent. Hope this helps you develop your perfect/productive day!
Above is five more lessons learned from The 5 AM Club. This book was fun to read and write about. If you are looking for a change in your life or just a little motivation, I highly recommend this book. As you can tell I found the information in this book very useful. Some books can give you general ideas on how to improve your life, but this book actually gives you’re a blueprint you can follow. If you are looking to hear more from me, subscribe to my blog or look me up on Instagram @the_52_book_challenge. Check back next week for my next blog post!