Reactive vs Proactive Language

I NEED” vs “I WANT
I MUST” vs “I PREFER
I CAN’T” vs “I CHOOSE

Most of us use “reactive” language in our day to day lives: “I CAN’T do that because I HAVE to do this“.

The problem with using reactive language is that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy: Re-enforcing the belief that we are pre-determined.

WHAT YOU SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
That’s me.
That’s just the way I am
I am determined.
There is nothing I can do about it
I can’t do that.
I just don’t  have the time
Something external (limited time)
is controlling me
If only my boss were more patient Someone else’s behaviour
is limiting my effectiveness
I have to do it Circumstances or other people are
forcing me to do what I do.
I am not free to choose my own actions.

Change your Language
and you will change your situation

Outside of being bound by the laws of physics, there are very few things in life that you HAVE or NEED to do. So stop using those words.

You are Brainwashing Yourself

Using reactive language absolves you of responsibility and makes you powerless: “I am not responsible. I am not able to choose my response. There is nothing I can do about it”.

DON’T USE THIS USE THIS INSTEAD
I NEED I WANT
I MUST I PREFER
I CAN’T I CHOOSE

This is a very subtle change in behaviour but it will make a huge changes in your life.

Example:

REACTIVE: “I wish I could take 6 months off and travel the world but I can’t because I have to work and I don’t have enough vacation.”

PROACTIVE #1:“Although I would love to take 6 months off and travel, my financial security and my career are currently more important to me. I choose not to go on this trip so that I can focus instead on my career.”

PROACTIVE #2: “The experience of travelling is much more important to me than my job or my financial security. So I will convince my boss to give me a 6 month sabbatical (or just quit?) and I will go on this iconic journey.”

Re-evaluate your Paradigm

Saying that “I DON’T WANT TO go on a wonderful 6 month trip because I WANT TO work” is difficult and counterintuitive.  By changing your language you will re-evaluate your reality:

  • Do I really want to keep working instead of travelling?
  • How important is seeing the world to me?
  • How important is my job or career?
  • Is this job really what I want to do?
  • What is truly important to me?

There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions. But asking these questions empowers you to change.

It is always your fault

Until you can honestly say that “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday” you cannot say “I choose otherwise”.

Never blame others for failures.  Always blame yourself. The moment you blame another person or some external circumstance, you become powerless to change the results:

THEIR FAULT: “The project failed because we didn’t get enough support from the marketing department. They need to do a better job next time.”

YOUR FAULT: “The project failed because I did not mobilize the marketing department effectively. Next time I will change my strategy and make a more effective presentation explaining the importance of their role in the success of this project.”

The moment you think that the problem is “out there” then that thought is the problem.

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Stewardship Delegation

The ability to effectively delegate is a valuable skill: Delegation enables you to devote more of your time to higher level important activities.

“Stewardship” delegation is focused on results instead of methods (on the WHAT and not the HOW) and allows the individual to own the work and communicate progress and results at agreed upon intervals.

The Five key elements of Stewardship Delegation

NOTE: Stewardship Delegation often requires training and development of the people that you are delegating to so they are competent enough to rise to the level of trust required to delegate.

1. Desired Results

Clearly specify the results that are expected and their timeline. Focus on RESULTS and not the methods.

TIP: Have the person write you short proposal describing the final results he will delivering and when they will be delivered (or just get them to repeat in their own words what you are expecting)

2. Guidelines and Pitfalls

Identify any guidelines and major restriction within which the person should operate. These should be as few as possible, but DO identify any paths to failure.

3. Available Resources

Identify all resources available to help in achieving the results: List any human, financial, technical, and organizational resources.

4. Accountability

Setup the performance standards that will be used in evaluating the results and the specific times when reporting / evaluation will take place. The individual is responsible for the evaluation and for ensuring it takes place.

5. Consequences of Success or Failure

Specify what will happen – both good and bad — as a result of the evaluation. (Financial rewards, psychic rewards, different job assignments, etc…)

Related Posts

 


The LifeBalancer

7 Habits Life BalancerHelp balance your life and plan your week with this free iOS app.

This app will help you to (1) create and review a mission statement; (2) identify what roles you play in your day to day life and devote time to them each week, (3) align yourself with your long term goals, and (4) continually improve yourself mentally, spiritually, socially, and physically. (please see How I plan my week)


 

The Slow-Carb Diet

This is a summary of the weigh-loss diet in the Tim Ferris‘ book: The Four Hour Body. I am NOT a nutritionist nor a doctor — Consult with a doctor before following anything mentioned here.  

The Basics

1. Forbidden Foods — Do not eat

Don't drink calories No sugar No starches or grains No dairy No fruits
No Liquid Calories
No juice, pop, beer, alcohol, etc…
No Sugar
No natural or artificial sweeteners
No Carbs
No grains or starches, including “ancient grains”
No Dairy
No milk, yogurt, cheese, or other forms of dairy
No Fruits
Fruit are loaded with sugar

2. Allowed Foods — Eat at every meal

Protein Vegetables Beans Drinks Lots of Water
Protein
Eggs (organic), Beef, Chicken, Fish, Pork. Cottage cheese also allowed
Veggies
Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Saurekraut, Asparagus, Peas, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Avocado
Legumes
Lentils, Black, Pinto, Red, Soy / Edemame
Water
Drink lots of water.
2 glasses of dry Red Wine per day allowed

3. One Binge Day / Week

One Binge day a week (Saturday recommended) where you can eat as much of anything you want.  This will spike your metabolism and maintain your sanity.

Beating the Binge Day

  1. Eat a non-binge breakfast, high protein (30g) within 30 minutes of waking
  2. Glass of grapefruit juice before second meal (1st binge meal)
  3. AGG/PAGG Stack before each meal & bedtime (see Advanced Supplements)
  4. Drink lots of citrus juice squeezed into water, or lemon juice on food
  5. Drinks lots of caffeine during meals
  6. “Greens” before meals
  7. Resistance training immediately before a meal and 90minutes after:
    30-50 Air Squats
    30-50 Wall Presses
    30-50 Chest Pulls

Tips for Success

  • Throw out all the bad food after binge day
  • Try the diet for at least one week before passing judgement
  • Eat the same meals each day – establishing a routine helps
  • Choose mild hunger over deviation
  • Do not restrict calories or portions — eat until you are full
  • Drink lots of water (especially on binge day)
  • Women: Ignore scale readings 10 days before menstruation
  • Don’t overeat domino foods (Nuts / Chickpeas / Hummus / peanuts / Carrots)
  • max 3 gym workouts per week

Advanced Tactics

  • Consume 1/2 litre of ice water immediately upon waking
  • Eat 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking
  • Eat slowly
  • Add fresh gound cinamon to your cofee (Saigon/Vietnam cinamon is best).  No more than 4g/day (1.5 teaspoons)
  • Hold ice pack on the back of your neck & traps for 30 minutes in the evening
  • Take a 5-10 minute cold shower before breakfast and/or before bedtime.

Supplements: PAGG Stack

Take an AGG stack prior to each meal, and PAGG prior to bedtime.  Dose for 6 days on, and one day off.  (Off day should NOT be your binge day).  Take 1 week off every 2 months

  • P: Policosanol – 20-25mg
  • A: Alpha-Lipoic Acid – 100-300mg
  • G: Green Tea Flavonoids (decaf) 325mg
  • G: Garlic Extract: 200mg

Losing the Final 10 lbs

Eat one of these every 3 waking hours:

  1. 50g Whey protein + 1/2 cup nuts + 2 tbl spoon peanut butter
  2. 8oz white non-fatty fish + 1/2 cup nuts + 2 tbl spoons peanut buter
  3. 8oz cooked turkey/chicken + 1/2 cup nuts + 2 tbl spoons peanut buter
  4. 8oz fatty meat (fat fish or red meat) + 1 tbl spoon olive oil
  5. Five whole eggs

Plus unlimited quantities of Spinach, Kale, Asparagus, Collard greenes, brussel sprouts, broccoli

Typical Routines

Typical Diet Day

Drink lots of water

Morning Lunch Dinner Bedtime
  • 1/2 litre of ice water upon waking
  • 5-10 minute cold shower
  • 30g protein within 30 mins of waking
  • Fresh ground cinamon with coffee
  • Pre/Post Biotics
  • AGG Stack
  • AGG Stack
  • AGG Stack
  • 2 glasses of red wine (max)
  • PAGG Stack
  • Ice pack on the back of neck & traps for 30 mins
  • 5-10 minute cold shower

Typical Binge Day (Saturday)

Drink lots of water

Morning Lunch Dinner Bedtime
  • 1/2 litre of ice water upon waking
  • 5-10 minute cold shower
  • Resistance training before breakfast
  • Greens before breakfast
  • Non-binge breakfast, high protein (30g) within 30 mins of waking
  • Fresh gound cinamon with coffee — Drinks lots of caffeine during breakfast
  • Pre/Post Biotics
  • AGG Stack
  • Resitance training 90 minutes after breakfast
  • AGG Stack
  • Glass of fresh grapefruit juice before lunch
  • Greens before lunch
  • Resistance training before lunch
  • Resitance training 90 minutes after breakfast
  • Drinks lots of caffeine during lunch
  • AGG Stack
  • Drink lots of citrus juice squeezed into water, or lemon juice on food
  • Greens before before dinner
  • Resistance training before dinner
  • Resitance training 90 minutes after dinner
  • Drinks lots of caffeine during dinner
  • PAGG Stack
  • Throw out all the bad food
  • Ice pack on the back of neck & traps for 30 minutes

Creative XMas Presents to Delight Your Staff

Over the past few years, we’ve made it a tradition at Fresh Air Educators of giving unique Christmas gifts to our staff for the holidays (this is in addition to a great Christmas party and 2-3 additional days off between Christmas and New Year’s). Here is a run-down of some of the gifts we’ve given in the past to give you some inspiration if you are currently trying to think of a good gift for your staff.

2007 – First Gen iPod Touch

This was very cool and well received as the iPod Touch had only been released in September of that year and it was still a ground breaking product when we gave it to all our staff 2 months later just before our Christmas break.

1st Gen Apple iPod Touch

PROS:

  • Cool Factor
  • Cutting Edge Technology

CONS:

  • Becomes obsolete relatively quickly

2008 – Canada Goose Parkas

Ottawa, Canada is a cold place in winter. What better way to keep our staff warm by giving them an iconic (and stylish) arctic parka by Canada Goose.  This gift had/has great longevity — come winter time our office turns into a Canada Goose showroom.

Canada Goose Chilliwack Parka

PROS:

  • Awesome top quality product that our staff will continue to use for years (if not decades)

CONS:

  • Tricky to get the right sizing for everyone while still keeping the product a surprise

2009 – Bose Headphones

This gift was a little bit low on the wow factor, but the utility factor was high, as most staff continue to use these daily at work to drown out coworkers around them, as well as used for watching movies while on the plane.

BOSE Noise Cancelling Headphones

PROS:

  • Useful at work to drown out noise from co-workers

CONS:

  • Lack of WOW factor
  • Not everyone will use them

2010 – First Generation iPad

This gift was definitely a bit of a recycling of our 2007 gift, and lacked a bit of the wow factor because the iPad was already available since April, but it still made a great gift (in particular, since our mandate was to make our products more mobile friendly, and putting an iPad in everyone’s hands was a good start).

1st Gen Apple iPad

PROS:

  • Cool Factor
  • Cutting Edge Technology

CONS:

  • Becomes obsolete relatively quickly

2011 – DNA Art / Canvas Prints

Our friends at DNA11 / CanvasPop helped hook up all our staff with either a unique DNA portrait or allowed our more artistic staff to take their own photographs/digital artworks and print them on canvas.  A very cool, unique, and conversation starting gift.  Although this gift received mixed reviews (as it was much less utilitarian than our previous gifts) it was still well received and supported/encouraged arts and creativity.

DNA Art and Print to Canvas by DNA11 / CanvasPop

PROS:

  • Unique conversation starter
  • Supports art & creativity

CONS:

  • Not inherently “useful”
  • Some staff did not see benefit of “art”

2012 – Google Nexus 7

Each year it becomes tougher and tougher to come up with new ideas. This year is a bit of a recycle from previous ideas (similar gift to the iPad) but we have moved away from Apple and exposed our staff to the Android OS (and it is a mini tablet which seems to be the cool “in” thing these days).

Google Nexus

PROS:

  • Cool Factor
  • Cutting Edge Technology

CONS:

  • Similar to previous gifts
  • Not everyone is familiar with Android

The 4-Day Work Week

A few years ago Fresh Air Educators performed an HR experiment: We offered all our full time salaried employees the option to pick between 2 work schedules:

  • Status quo: 5 days @ 7.5hrs at current pay
  • 4-day work week: 4 days @ 7.5hrs – Every Friday off
    Work 20% less but take  a 10% pay cut

Here are some of the learnings:

Myths

You Will Be 20% Less Productive

Working 20% less DOES NOT mean 20% less productivity.  The 80/20 rule kicks in: The most important things will still get done while the 20% dropped will be the least important things (which probably only account for 5% of weekly productivity). By only working 80% of the time, you will still reap 95% of value.

Lazy Friday Afternoons
become Lazy Thursday Afternoons

One challenge I thought we would have is lazy Friday afternoons shifting to lazy Thursday afternoons. In our case, this does not appear to have happened.

Benefit

Obvious Employee Perk

Offering an optional 4 day work-week to your employees is an obvious perk which leads to the following benefits for your business:

  • Easier to hire of top talent
  • Less employee turn over
  • Optional cost savings: If you are looking to save costs, you can offer the optional 4 day work week in exchange for a 10% pay cut.  (Employees work 20% less, but only take a 10% pay cut – so they are coming out ahead by 10%)

Happier, more rested, more productive staff

Your staff will have a long weekend every weekend.  That’s 52 extra days off a year.

Remove Yourself as the Bottleneck

As the business owner, you will receive 20% less requests and e-mails to answer.  Which means that your staff will be spending less time waiting on you.  Although *you* should really also work a 4 day work week,  your 5th day can be spent catching up and doing longer term “quadrant 2 activities” that you normally can never find the time to do.

Negatives

No Work Gets Done on Friday

This applies more to specialized departments like Customer Service, QA, etc… Ie: If a bug is reported late Thursday afternoon, and QA does not have the time to fully investigate it, then we will often get delayed until Monday mid morning before the bug is officially reported to the dev team.

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Actionable Takeaways from the Business of Software Conference, Boston 2012

Here are some actionable insights and take-aways from the Business of Software conference (2012, Boston)

Make your Customers Awesome (aka Badass)

To encourage your customers to spread your product via word-of-mouth, your product should make your customers “badass”. Don’t focus on making your product awesome, focus instead on making your customers awesome. This may seem like a small semantic difference, but what triggers the word-of-mouth snowball is when your customer can impress his/her friends because of something you did.

This is one of the powers of Instagram — it allows average people with no photography skills to start taking awesome pictures that can impress friends and family. Spend some time thinking about what your customers are doing AFTER using your product, because that’s when the word-of-mouth happens.

One exercise to figure out features that can make your customers awesome, is to write a fictional product review WITHOUT mentioning your product or company. Write it solely with a focus on what your product allowed your customer to accomplish.

The Power of Simplicity
+ Scarcity of Cognitive Resources

Cognitive resources are scarce and are easily depleted. If you present multiple choices to your users early on, they eventually run out of resources at a later date. Simplify the things that are not important and save the complexity only if the task is critical.

For example, a complex registration process can impact the ability of your user to successfully accomplish tasks later on in your workflow (payment?).

Another very interesting item related to this, is that your Willpower resources share the same part of the brain as your Conginitive resources. By depleting cognitive resources, you are also depleting willpower resources. This theoretically means that if you are selling Vices or guilty pleasures, there may be an evil strategy where you hit your customer with complex tasks in order to weaken his willpower in order to then push them into one-click buying a guilty pleasure.

Gamification

Although “gamification” is hot right now, it is generally NOT the type of behaviour you want to encourage. It is a behaviour that triggers similar brain functions to those experienced during slot machine use and is not something that promotes long-term loyalty in your customers. Gamification works only in very narrow verticals and in general will not produce sustainable or desired results.

A/B Testing

When running an A/B Test, ALWAYS start with a theory and then use the A/B test to try and prove or disprove that theory. Don’t just run random A/B tests that show and hide various elements, hoping to stumble upon a magical winning combination.

To find out if your test results are statistically significant, don’t trust your A/B Tool. Instead use this formula:Don’t trust your A/B testing tool to determine if your test is statistically significant. Instead use the following formula:

  1. Define N as the total # conversions in A + B
  2. Define D as the difference in # conversions between A and B divided in half
  3. The test result is statistically significant if D squared is bigger than N.

Thanks to Jason Cohen at WP Engine for this formula

The Idea Factory:
Nurture Entrepreneurship in your Organization

This is a framework (un-polished and in need of improvement) to nurture entrepreneurship in an organization (mainly geared towards developers, but not necessarily):

  • Allow employees to submit an idea for a new product
  • Allow employee to work on this “Alpha” version during nights/weekends. No company resources are allocated.
  • Every 2-3 months, employees get to demo/pitch their Alpha product (in various stages of completeness)
  • If a product is “promoted” to Beta, then the employee becomes CEO for that product and is “fired” from his real job in order to work full time on his product.
  • Once the product is “launched”, then the parent company becomes a VC investor in that product and provides funding, resources, etc… (in exchange for ownership)

Company Culture

As an owner, if you don’t “design” your company culture, your employees will do it for you. You shouldn’t let your employees do this, because they usually suck at it.To design your own company culture:

  1. Decide what you care about
  2. Hire people that care about the same thing
  3. Remember the things you care about.

In terms of scaling company culture during rapid growth, “transparency” is a big help. A by product of transparency is that it is very difficult to do stupid things because everyone will call you out on it.

Profit Sharing

Here is the profit sharing strategy that is implemented at Balsamiq.com

  • All employees have a base salary that is better than market value
  • 10% of all profits are shared with employees
  • 25% (of the 10%) is divided equally among all employees
  • 75% (of the 10%) is divided based on seniority (with the more senior employees receiving more)
  • Additionally, 2% of all profits are divided equally among employees for them to donate to the charity of their choice

Customer Service

Customer service should be like a “par 3” golf course:
  1. A problem is reported / collected
  2. The perfect answer is developped
  3. Customer says thank you

If there are more interactions than this, then you are not spending enough time either understanding the problem or finding the perfect solution for the problem.

How our jobs are killing us

Sitting down for more than 3 hrs a day decreases your lifespan by AT LEAST 2 years on average. Try to stand up and move around for a few minutes at least once every hour, or consider getting a standing desk.

Salesmen and the Art of Selling

Turns out that contrary to popular belief, the best sales people are NOT extroverts. They are NOT introverts either. They are “ambiverts” — which is the majority of us: those that are not on either extreme of the scale.

Interesting Sales Pitches

The Question Pitch: If you ask your customer a question, and you know what answer they will come up with in their head (and it’s a favorable answer), then this is much more compelling than just telling them in the first place. (Should landing page headlines be questions to our customers?)

The Rhyming Pitch: Rhyming messages trigger a cognitive part of the brain that makes them more memorable and seem MORE TRUE. “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”

The Pixar Pitch: All pixar stories are fundamentally structured like this:

Once upon a time __________________
every day ________________
until _______________
because of that ____________ and because of that _______________
until ___________________

(think of Saving Nemo or any other Pixar movie). Apparently a sales pitch like this is very effective. Should you consider a story like this on your About Us pages? Or perhaps below the fold on your landing pages?

Uber for Tow Trucks

The tow truck business is a $5 Billion dollar annual market. However finding a tow truck (if you are not a member of AAA or CAA) is usually a very painful experience.

Urgent.ly provides an Uber for tow trucks appIf you are broken down in the middle of an intersection your number one priority is to find someone who can come rescue you quickly. Unfortunately doing a search on Google will only find you the closest Tow truck office and not the actual tow truck. This usually means that you need to call a few tow truck operators before you find someone with an available truck that can come get you in less than an hour.

Price is usually a secondary concern and you are not in a great position to negotiate anyway. Not surprisingly most tow trucks have a 100% close rate on incoming calls for help (if they have an available truck).

The solution to these problems is to use an “Uber for Tow Trucks” app. Only recently have such apps become open for business:

  • Urgent.ly – Available nationwide (USA) and fully integrated with MapQuest.
  • Honk – Available nationwide (USA).
  • AvailableTow – Canada only. Currently only available in Ontario, but more locations coming soon.
  • RapidTow – Canada only (currently only available in Toronto but expanding nationwide). Subscription based model that requires 48 hours for account activation. Forces you to plan ahead for the unexpected.
  • TowChoice – Currently only available in Hawaii and Portland. Not much progress since initial launch.
  • TowDeals – Web based search.

Tow Trucks are a $5Billion market

…and uber-like towing apps benefit all the players involved:

  • The consumer looking for a tow gets a tow truck in the shortest time possible and sees the fares/rates before they commit to the tow truck.
  • The Tow Truck has shorter tows as most of their tow calls are nearby. More tows per day means more revenue in their pocket.
  • The environment is happy because shorter tows means less environmental impact.

Potential Partners

  • AAA or CAA (in canada) – Although both Urgent.ly and Honk seem to want to disrupt these automobile associations more than partner with them. AAA and CAA could also be strong competitors if they ever get their stuff together.
  • Apple Maps and Google Maps – Either of these two partnerships would be huge. Integrating directly into Google or Apple maps would open up access to millions of smartphone users without the customer ever needing to install the app (since it would be integrated into the Maps software installed on your phone). I suspect that Google is holding off partnering with anyone until Uber enters the towing space.
  • Uber – Probably more of an opportunity to be acquired by Uber once they decide to enter the towing space, but it’s hard to resist getting access to their existing customer base. Uber is also a killer competitor if and when they enter this space.

Game Changers

Right now it seems to be a 2 horse race between Urgent.ly and Honk. However there are some big questions looming on the horizon:

  • Will Uber enter the towing space? I believe it is just a matter of time before they do.
  • Will Google Maps / Apple Maps integrate with any of the providers? I believe Google Maps is going to wait until Uber enters the space (since they already integrate with Uber for ride sharing).

Background:

Back in early 2014 my car broke down and I was faced with a task that I had actually never attempted before: Call a tow truck. At first I was confused and not sure how to proceed.

  • Who do I call?
  • How do I get them here the fastest?
  • How do I know they are reputable?

I eventually went the Google Maps route and found the nearest locations (this was the nearest tow truck OFFICE and not the nearest tow truck). After being bounced around a bit, I was finally referred to a towing company that was available, and 20 minutes later they showed up.

Turns out that this tow truck operator converts 100% of incoming calls into sales.  When you are stuck in the middle of an intersection you don’t care about price, you just want a tow ASAP.  (There is also an opportunity here to setup click to call AdWords campaigns for tow truck operators)

Purify Water in 6hrs without Chemicals or Filters

I’m sure most of you have heard and are aware of the millions of people around the world that lack access to clean water.

It turns out the fix to this problem is AMAZINGLY SIMPLY:

  1. Take an empty transparent bottle
  2. Fill it with water
  3. Leave it out in the sun for 6 hours
  4. Drink the water
The SODIS Process (short for Solar Water Disinfection)

SODIS is a simple procedure for disinfecting drinking water.  Contaminated water is poured into transparent water bottles (glass or plastic) and placed in the sun for six hours.  During this time, the UV rays of the sun kill all the germs.

SODIS water disinfection in Indonesia
SODIS water disinfection in Indonesia

Does anyone else feel that we’ve been wasting a lot of time and money building solar panel powered water purification plants?  All this time we could have harnessed the sun’s rays directly.

This is a great, simple, and inexpensive solution that should have been put into place YEARS ago.  Thumbs up to the SODIS program for running with this.

More Resources About SODIS

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Polyphasic Sleep for New Parents

Polyphasic sleep refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period (vs monophasic once per 24-hour sleep).  There are some that use polyphasic sleep and alternative sleeping schedules to try to achieve more time awake each day (in the most extreme case – The Uberman – you sleep only 20 minutes every 4 hours for a total of only 2 hours of sleep). Polyphasic sleep recently got an uptick in popularity due to Tim Ferris‘ book “The 4-Hour Body“.

I’m a big fan of stupid human experiments and so I was itching for an opportunity to try Polyphasic sleep.  My opportunity to try came with the birth of my first child — It seemed to make sense (in an insane kind of way): When you have a new baby you are kinda forced to adopt polyphasic sleep (i.e.: You get woken up a lot).  So what better time to give it a try?

However, unlike traditional polyphasic sleepers, my focus was NOT on maximizing my awake time.  My focus was on the reverse: Maximizing sleep time.

Here was my modified sleep pattern:

  • Try and get as much “normal” sleep between 10PM to 7AM.  Don’t force yourself to stay awake, don’t wake yourself up at a specific time, etc… If you can sleep uninterrupted the whole way through, go for it!
  • Once you wake up, you adopt a modified Uberman sleep pattern during daytime hours: Every 4 hours, you take a 20-45 minute power nap.  If you wake up at  6AM, you take a nap at 10AM, 2PM, 6PM, and go down for the count at 10PM.  If you wake up an hour earlier or later, the schedule gets shifted by the same amount.

Tips:

  • Seize napping opportunities: If it’s 3 hours since your last nap, and you have an opportunity to take a nap.  DO IT!  You probably won’t have the chance right at 4 hours.  If you go past 4 hours, take a nap the next opportunity possible.
  • Don’t oversleep.  Once that 45 minute alarm goes off, get up!
  • Don’t forget to nap.  If you skip a nap, it’s very hard to catch up again.
  • Carry an “instant-anywhere-nap-kit”: a blanket, inflatable pillow, eye blind, and ear plugs to allow for instant naps anywhere. (Maybe this is a product idea for someone? The instant nap kit?)

I’m not claiming there is a scientific basis for this, but it worked great for me. I followed this routine for about 2 months (until our baby awesomely decided to sleep 12 hour nights), and I barely felt any effects from the sleep deprivation.