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Setting new habits for personal optimization

By April 16, 20132 Comments3 min read

As I sit here at my home office desk, I glance over and see a pile of books sitting waiting for me to dive into them. This pile has grown over the last 2 years, such that I suspect it may topple over any one of these days. This backlog of books is caused by 2 things: thinking I don’t have enough time to read, and my inherited fascination with buying books I find even remotely interesting (you should see my dad’s home office!). The second cause is easy to fix, I am not buying another book for the rest of the year; boom, solved. The former though is harder. As someone who is self-employed and has a modicum of freedom over his schedule, its a self-imposed myth that I don’t have time. I do have time, I just have to be more efficient about using it.

So I’ve decided I am going to start making small improvements in my daily routine in order to optimize my life. Often I find myself still sitting at my desk after 10-12 hours of work, and realize I’ve only accomplished maybe 3-4 hours of productivity. So clearly continuous stretches of working don’t work well for me. Here are my ideas for optimizing my days to be more efficient. Now my plan isn’t to maintain these schedules obsessively, but hopefully the idea is if I stick to some of these new things, my mind, body, and general quality of life will all improve.

1. Daily jolt of energy: start each day with exercise.
By running a modest 2 miles each morning with my dog TJ in tow, I can knock out a quick sub-30 minute exercise regimen and jumpstart my daily metabolism. Also will help when I tackle the ING 2014 Miami marathon again. I’ll end up doing 8-10 miles during the week + another 8-10miler on saturdays or sundays.

2. Find inspiration every morning
Most mornings I make myself a simple breakfast consisting of eggs, protein, and veggies. So from now on I’m going to also watch something mind-opening every morning. Be it a new TED talk every day, or some documentary on netflix while I cook and eat my breakfast. Hopefully this will get my creative juices flowing and translate to my work-day.

3. Diversify my mental activity
Every morning, and afternoon, take 30 minutes each time to read. 30 uninterrupted minutes of reading in the morning and afternoon will hopefully help me plow through this pile of books in record time. Perhaps even adding 15-30 minutes of reading before going to bed, however that might be replaced with a cool-down activity.

The idea behind this being that if I can set a regular pattern, it becomes second nature, and thus easier to maintain.

Do you have any simple life hacks you do to optimize your day?


  • Diego Velasquez says:

    I know what you mean.

    You might like this TEDtalk: It helped me think differently about time/energy management…

  • Bijan says:

    I can definitely sympathize. I have the exact same problems with buying books constantly and then never seeming to have enough time to actually get through them. By the time I finish reading one book I realize that there are five others that I’ve added to my shelf.

    I realize the irony in this, but this one is worth checking out with regards to forming daily patterns:
    The Power of Habit (

    The best part is that it’s partitioned into three sections and only the first part is geared towards individual habits. So it’s only 75 pages and would provide a quick read over a few short sessions.