Flow vs. Rigidity – Jarkko Launches Into Huge 2.5k Word post and 7-minute Video In First Appearance Since Japan

I can’t believe I went over two weeks without updating! Time flies when you’re… lazy. No, I’ve definitely not been busy since Japan, I’ve been more or less as lazy as before it. Here’s a video I shot on Saturday, exactly week after returning home:

I know, I’m even more scattered than I was in front of people in Japan. Then again, maybe being in front of people forces you to kind of try to be coherent. In any case, as I tell you in the video, Japan didn’t propel me into the kind of life momentum I was hoping for. Then again perhaps it’s a lazy way of thinking that I could just throw myself out of my comfort zone once and expect my life to change. Becoming Awesome is a continuous process, that has to be gone through every day. You earn your awesomeness every day – or don’t earn it. Lately I’ve not been earning it. I’ve been lame and lazy.

But things are about to change. As I discussed in this video that’s now over a week old, I was struggling between kind of “going with the flow” type of productivity, and having a very rigid schedule. Since then, I’ve decided that I will need to form a super rigid schedule to snap myself out of the lazy rut I’ve been in lately. So I’ve basically formed a timetable for my whole day, that I will follow rigidly every day, as long as its possible. I will go through it in a minute, but for now, let’s focus on discussing about this kind of productivity.

I can see that having to use a schedule that tells you when to do what and forces you the times to be productive being a bit of a crutch. I mean, you want to be able to just snap into productive and creative mode, at any time, any place. Not having to need a specific time every day and a timetable that tells you to do it for it. But you know what? I don’t care. I’m at a level where I just need to get moving. I don’t have the inner self-discipline to just go with the flow and trust that I will work hard enough by only doing that. No, if I go that route I’m just going to play fucking FIFA all day. So fuck it, let’s script my days. I can go with a very rigid template cause I don’t really have a social life or any other external commitments. So this is not something that would work for you. It’s not even certain it’s even going to work for me.

This is where Japan comes in. In Japan, I tapped into some weird, stubborn, resilient and determined part of my mind to complete a video every day, even when it totally wasn’t easy. Sometimes I’d stay up until 2 am. to edit, knowing I’d need to be up at 7 the next day. Now I need to tap into those same resources to find same hellbent attitude to following my schedule as well. That no matter what, if it somehow is possible, I will follow my schedule. Of course, like in Japan, I’ll be reasonable, if it some days isn’t possible I’ll try to not crush myself about it.

So yeah, I think you now understand why I’d want to form a tight schedule. Now we are ready to move into the schedule itself. If you’ve read some of my old posts, you remember I have tried to formulate a schedule like this before. So when I created this, I already had some experience and knew what works, and what doesn’t in terms of almost completely timetabling your day. Also the last week since the video I already betatested a schedule resembling the current one, that even in itself is unlikely to be the final schedule. So this is not some stuff just slapped together. No, every action has a reason behind it and I’ve made some tweaks to make sure I can follow it. I must say also that the time limits are not super strict, but guidelines.

As a final note before we get to it, I’ve also included some stuff related to my point system into the schedule (in italics so you can quickly distinguish them). You can just ignore this, but for those who give a little bit of a fuck, you can kind of see how I measure my productivity. But without further ado, lets get to it.

My New Schedule

9:00 – deadline for getting up
1 point bonus if I’m playing footy or working out within 15 minutes of waking up, 1 bonus point for naturally getting up before 8 (my alarms, yes I need multiple, are set to 9)

Why did I choose my waking up point to be 9 am? I struggled with the balance for a long time, cause probably my dream schedule productivity-wise would be waking up at 2 am. I know, ridiculous, but that’s when I have insanely productive days – by the time other wake up I’ve already completed much more than most of the will all day. But that’s not a sustainable sleeping pattern for many reasons. I tried many earlier wake-up times, but ultimately they all failed. Reason for this is simple – sometimes I stay up late to watch football. And in those days, if I stick to my early wake up time, I simply cant get up. 9 am is good balance – it is still in the morning, but I also can get up after going to bed after late matches that end at 1 am. Of course, if my body decides to wake me earlier (and I feel rested), more power to me, I’m just gonna get up earlier then.

Once I’m up, I will move to my morning routine – however, I’m exempted from morning routine on the days I will work with dad – it will make it simply impossible to complete such amounts of stuff before work. As long as I still do the habits in my morning routine at some other points of the day, I’m okay.

MORNING ROUTINE (-10 points for failed completion on days that are not exempted)

  • Minimum of 45 minutes of football(2 points)

What can I say? I just love football, and want to make sure I’m practicing daily. While I enjoy playing football I’d always skip it due to lack of time if I didn’t force it. Why do it first thing in the morning? My reasoning is simple – I just need something easy and low mental effort thing to start my day with. That is why football is the perfect start.

  • Minimum of 30 minutes of working out (separate from football) (6 points)

I run at least 5 kilometres already in my football session, why’d I do another separate work out as well in my morning routine? Well, football, while great, is not well-rounded exercise. I want to train my upper body as well and hit the weights or bodyweight exercises as well to really get those testosterone and growth hormone responses out of my body. Also, morning is the best time for all working out because your stress hormone cortisol is naturally up, as I tell you in my book, Healthy Eating.

  • Washing dishes, heating the house. (2 points)

Basically doing the house chores so I don’t have to deal with them during rest of the day.

12:00 – deadline for finishing morning routine. Breakfast.

Not eating the breakfast first thing in the morning is a very conscious choice. I generally have no appetite just after waking up, and to get maximum momentum into the day I want to get going right away. Also, doing work out and football with empty stomach is said to positively affect fat burning – not that I have much fat to burn, and I also am a bit sceptical about the whole theory, but since it works for some people and fits my plans, why not?

One of my fitness goals at the moment is (and has been for a long time) gaining muscle mass. That is why I know I need to eat a lot. I’ve also learned that I can’t down that much protein per meal, so I simply will have to eat a lot of meals. However, breakfast will be after around 12 hours of not eating, so it will be a big meal.

WORK PHASE OF THE DAY

13:00 – 15:00 first work mode of the day. – 28 points
15:00 – second meal for the day
16:00 – 18:00 More work mode. - 28 points
18:00 – Third meal of the day
Around 20: Fourth meal of the day

I’m timetabling all my meals cause if I don’t, I simply forget to eat. For real. I do that all the time. I forget to eat and end up with 1 or 2 meals a day. No wonder I struggle to gain mass. So to really make an attempt at it I need to make eating frequently a habit. Now I said the breakfast will be a big meal – that wont be a problem since I’m used to big meals and my stomach will be empty. As for other meals, I’m aiming to get minimum of 400 calories and minimum of 25 grams of protein each meal – in fact those are meals requirements. For most people the restriction would probably go other way, limiting calories, but as I said, I’m trying to gain mass here. (1 point for every 25 grams of protein ingested)

But work-mode, being productive, that’s what this part of the day is really all about, not just consuming calories. I will set a daily goal for every day and look to complete it. Daily goal will be somehow related to my weekly goal, which again is related to my main goals, so that way I make sure I’m making progress on my bigger projects. However, I do afford myself weekends off, there will be no work phase as such on Saturdays and Sundays. (Failure to complete daily goal -10 points)

Why do I want to timetable my work-modes so rigidly? Simple – I want to eliminate procrastination as much as possible. When I force myself just to sit down and start working at a set time, I don’t give myself a chance to procrastinate. “Going with the flow” so to speak allows room for all kinds of procrastination. While I will certainly be working the time, what kind of work will depend on any given days commitments. I might, for example, be busy with Fiverr orders, or if I’m having quiet time in Fiverr, I’m working on my next Kindle book, or improving my site, or anything like that.

I also left 18 onwards empty so I have some room to move around in my schedule. This time can be used for whatever is needed. (If I use this time for working even more, like a workaholic, I can score further 42 points for the 3 hours of work)

21:00 – Deadline for starting evening routine. 1 extra point for shutting computer down early at 20.

EVENING ROUTINE(-10 points for failure to complete)

  • Shut down computer, dim the lights as much as possible.

Reasons for this were explained in my book,¬†Healthy Eating. I want to lower my body’s cortisol response and trigger melatonin production to become tired early enough. I want to be sleeping by midnight to maximize growth hormone secretion.

  • Stretch for 30 minutes or yoga. (8 points)

I have to say yoga is much more effective than regular stretching, but it requires more effort and concentration as well. On some days I just rather stretch – but in any case there’s a benefit and it’s the perfect way to prepare to going to bed.

  • One final small meal.

Mostly protein and maybe veggies, just a small meal to cap off the day – but it still has to go over the minimum requirement of 400 calories and 25 protein grams. Just following this minimum plan, I will reach by the end of the day at least total of 2000 calories and 125 grams of protein – however because my breakfast is bigger and I will try to consciously go over my limits consistently, the hope is the end numbers are over 3000 calories and around 150 grams of protein per day. I should gain some weight with those numbers.

  • 20 minutes of meditation (5 points)

Meditation doesn’t need much explanation. It’s another perfect activity done to calm my mind on the way to bed, as well as it having cognitive benefits, as well as lowering blood pressure, stress, etc. I’ve tried to get meditation habit down multiple times and failed, but as a part of a bigger routine I think I should be able to finally pull it off. It’s something I really need, cause I’m trapped in my thoughts more than anyone I know. Then again, I don’t really know how trapped in their thoughts anyone I know is…

After this evening routine will be finished and I’m ready to bed. If I’m not tired I will dedicate rest of the night for reading.

1 bonus point for falling asleep before 23.

So there we go, that’s my daily schedule for as long as this phase of my life continues. Likely at least until end of the summer. If I fail to follow it… Well, guess writing this post was a big waste of time then. But no, I’m not going to give up easily on this this time. Even with occasional failures I will always restart this. For once in my life, I actually feel I have a good schedule that I’m actually able to follow. Only break I get from the schedule is weekends, or rather the work phase is removed – I still need to complete the morning and evening routines.

Final note regarding points: just by completing the minimums of this daily routine, I will earn 84 points – 79 for actions I take, and 5 points for eating protein. 84 points would score 7th in my current top-10 most productive days of all time (my record is November 30th 2011: 114). So the bar is set kind of high – I’m now expecting top-10 all-time productivity for every day. Scoring the 84 points just 5 days a week would bring a total of 420 points, which would bring me 2nd place in my all time most productive weeks, and leave me only 81 points off my most productive week ever (Week 45/2012). So just by following this rigid schedule, I stand to score to the region of my current record points every week. Just by looking at this it looks likely I will have some slip-ups – but like I said, I won’t give up, so probably by summer all my top-10 weekly scores will be above 500 points.

I think my current absolute maximum for a daily score lies in somewhere around 150 points, but that would take a really dedicated, undistracted and industrious day.

What do you think of all this? Do you use a similar system? Or do you “go with the flow?” Let me know in the comments!

2 Responses to “Flow vs. Rigidity – Jarkko Launches Into Huge 2.5k Word post and 7-minute Video In First Appearance Since Japan”

  1. Sergio Felix March 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Hey Jarkko, seems like you have a lot going on my friend and I just want to tell you a couple of things:

    1. I also thought that just by the mere fact of getting really uncomfortable (moving out from my parents with literally no money for rent or food) I was going to start taking action and it wasn’t like that at all.

    I found alternate ways to survive (make money offline) so I haven’t take the action I needed to (it’s been three months already).

    2. I have found that even when having a very organized plan if you try to cram a LOT of things right off the bat into your every day routine chances are, after a few days you’re going to fail to keep at it.

    It has happened to me so many times it’s not even funny anymore.

    I have found that if you create several to-do lists and then assign hierarchy to the specific tasks that need to be solved NOW and that will make you progress in some way, then you can just spread all the important tasks in one week so you are not overwhelmed with everything that has to get done.

    That’s exactly how I have been working lately (I use a free online service called teuxdeux) and it has been working a lot for me.

    Hope you can get back on track soon man, I also love playing FIFA and even though my playing buddy lives literally just a few feet away from my apartment, I only go there and play a few hours once a week and nothing more.

    Sometimes you just have to give up on the entertainment a little bit in order to work harder!

    Sergio

  2. Jarkko Helenius March 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks for the elaborate reply, Sergio.

    You’re absolutely right about point #2. I am cramming a lot of in, potentially too much. However, there’s some things that needs to be taken in account:
    - Almost none of this is completely new to me. Within morning and evening routine, only meditation is a habit that I’ve not had fully established at some point. Even that I’ve managed to do a month straight in the past. So it’s not completely new almost any of it.
    - I am not going to give up at first failure, or even at 10th. Even vague following of this schedule is going to bring me results and I’m likely to at some point get into the groove of it becoming my new comfort zone.

    As it is, it has happened to me many times too – I’ve tried to start a new schedule and failed. Only thing different this time is that I’ve unearthed that world-record stubborness during Japan AND that I really believe that I’ve found the ultimate schedule for myself where everything just clicks.

    Time will tell, I guess.

    I will look into that tool and see if I can combine your methods with mine, but ultimately I’m still going to be seeing where this schedule is going to take me at least for some time. You will surely hear back of me regarding it.

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