[Transcript] – The Official Formula For A Perfect Day: How To Take Control & Own Your Life

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast with Craig Ballantyne from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/04/how-to-have-the-perfect-day/

[0:00]               Introduction

[0:45]                Emulsified MCT Oil from Onnit

[1:35]                 Kimera Koffee

[2:40]                Organic nuts at nuts.com

[5:58]                Ben’s daily routine

[6:39]                About Craig Ballantyne

[8:54]                What it means to “control the morning”

[10:55]               Craig’s take on the research that some people are better on the evening vs. The morning

[17:16]                Craig is going to be so early

[24:17]               How Craig deals with travel potentially throwing him out of his routine…

[26:59]              Why Craig avoids alcohol before bedtime and caffeine after 1pm

[33:46]              The Oura Ring Ben is using

[35:14]               How Craig deals with emails

[38:02]             I Done This App

[40:40]             The Boomerang App

[44:14]              Craig’s 10-2-3-1-0 Formula for a perfect night sleep

[52:56]              Why Craig calls the afternoon “chaotic”, and what you can do about it

[58:19]              “The Fisherman and the Crabs” Story

[1:06:14]           The #1 action step you can take today to take control of your time and own your day

[1:10:42]           End of Podcast

Introduction: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and I recently posted a video of me in my kitchen making coffee.  I was actually making coffee with this stuff called Emulsified MCT Oil.  Now, you’ve probably heard of MCT oil before.  That’s medium-chain triglyceride oil, they bypass digestion and they are instead burnt by your cells as a source of fat-based energy almost instantly.  So they’re very good for things like exercise or cognitive performance without bringing a bunch of blood into your digestive tract. So, the deal is usually to make MCT oil actually blend with whatever you wanna blend it with, like say coffee or tea.  You have to use a blender to make a mess.  Well, this company called Onnit has come out with this stuff called Emulsified MCT Oil.  Emulsified MCT oil means you just drip it into whatever – smoothie, on toast, into putting tea, coffee, whatever, and you just stir it in there.  No blender required and it comes in some pretty cool flavors – vanilla, strawberry, coconut, has almost no calories from any form of sugar or sweetener, just really healthy fat.  And you, get 10% off this stuff.  How?  You go to onnit.com/bengreenfield.  When you go to onnit.com/bengreenfield, it will automatically knock 10% off.  So, you should try this stuff out.  I’ve been throwin’ it in all sorts of recipes called emulsified MCT oil.

This podcast is also brought to you by something you could potentially put your emulsified MCT oil into, and that is Kimera Koffee.  So, Kimera Koffee is high altitude premium coffee that they’ve blasted a bunch of nootropics into.  What that means is they’ve added 725 mgs of alpha-GPC, taurine, L-theanine, and DMEA into the coffee.  So, you don’t have to drink a cup of coffee and then say, choose some kind of a capsule or other type of liquid that you might wanna add in for cognitive performance, you instead get it all in one fell swoop in one delicious cup, and it does really taste very, very good.  So, how can you get your hands on this stuff?  Well, you go to Kimera Koffee, k-i-m-e-r-a  k-o-f-f-e-e.com, kimerakoffee.com, and you use code “Ben”.  When you do that you save 10%, and there are people all over the world from like MMA artists to professional musicians, to fitness junkies using this stuff to get some really, really good cognitive performance, all in one convenient cup of coffee.

And finally, this podcast is brought to you by the place where I get my organic quinoa, my Brazil nuts, my dried mango, my Turkish figs, pretty much a candy shop for healthy people who wants snacks whether it’s for the airplane or little super foods to drop into your smoothies, dark chocolates, you name it.  It’s nuts.com, and when you go to nuts.com, what they do is they throw in a ton of free samples over 15 bucks of free samples.  You get to choose from over 50 options when you go to the special URL, nuts.com/fitness.  That’s nuts.com/fitness, and you’ll not gonna find things like sprouted almonds, and dried organic Goji berries, or delicious black walnuts at your local grocery store, but you can get ‘em, and you can get ‘em very inexpensively over at nuts.com, they’ve a 100% satisfaction guarantee, very easy to use site, and only the freshest products from the best suppliers in the world.  So check them out.  Sugar-free items, paleo-friendly, certified organic, certified gluten-free, you name it along with free samples at nuts.com/fitness.  All right, we’re gonna move on now to today’s episode with the great Craig Ballantyne.  Enjoy!

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“Get something done before you check your email.  Even if you did nothing else, and even if you don’t delay your email until 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock but you delay it ‘till 8:30, that’s a big, and that’s something that I think most people can aspire to.  In general, if someone is struggling with their sleep, that is an easy place to start.  Just don’t have the afternoon coffee, cogway back and see if that can help you fall asleep better.  We have to be prepared to deal with it in the way that it doesn’t overload our switch stress and still allows us to get our work done”.

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and I actually get tons of questions about my daily routine.  Like do I meditate and if so, how? And on which days do I do which workouts, and how many cups of coffee do I have each day, and when do I time alcohol intake, and do I have a special journaling routine.  Well, really, I’ve basically revealed all of these and a lot more in articles that I’ve written at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  I’ve written about my morning routine, my afternoon routine, my evening routine, I’m gonna put links to all those previous articles that I’ve written in the show notes for today’s episode.  And you can grab the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/theperfectday, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/theperfectday.  But in today’s podcast, I have a guest who is a bit of an expert in forming and creating your perfect day, and I really wanted to get his perspective on his routine because he’s one accomplished dude.  My guest today is Craig Ballantyne, and Craig is the author of the brand new book that I just finished reading called “The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control your Life”.  Now, Craig is a productivity and success transformation coach from Canada.  I actually know of him because way back in the day, I came across this home workout program he designed that’s like a high intensity home workout program called “Turbulence Training” that literally hundreds of thousands of people have used around the globe.  It’s extremely popular, but Craig’s also all over the place.  He writes for men’s health, women’s health, Oxygen, GQ, Maxim, National Geographic, Men’s Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, you name it.  And he also runs a really cool website called “Early to Rise”, which you can check out over at earlytorise.com.  He’s had some obstacles along the way, and his journey to success that he talks about in his book including fighting pretty crippling anxiety attacks which he actually details in that book, and on today’s show, we’re gonna dig into what he’s uncovered about success and productivity, and time management, self-improvement, and all of these things that he’s brought together to create this perfect day formula.  And because I’m such a fan of putting together an amazing day every day, not wasting every minute of your life for any minutes of your life, and having a routine for your morning, for your afternoon, for your evening, I’m pretty excited to have Craig on the show.  So Craig, welcome to the podcast.

Craig:   Thanks so much Ben!

Ben:  This is a cool book, quick read, it’s not super long.  I think it’s uh, I don’t know, I didn’t count the pages, but I’m holding it in my hand here.  What do we got, like uh, hundred and fifty pages but it’s death, it’s jam-packed with some really good material on forming your perfect day.  And one of the first things you start off with Craig is you talk about controlling the morning.  What’s that mean when you say, ‘control the morning’?

Craig:  Most people have the greatest control of the day when it’s the morning, you know, you control the time you get up, you control what you do first thing in the morning, you control what you eat for breakfast, you control whether or not your exercise then or if you do meditation, or whatever it is, but you have the greatest control before the world gets in the way.  And so, that’s when we can really set the tone for the day, make the most of it, and even if we just do 5-15 minutes of work on our number one priority in life whether that’s getting out of debt, whether that’s making another $100,000 in a year, whether that is finding the love of your life, whether that is getting back in shape, your best time to do it is first thing in the morning.  That’s why when I was a trainer back in Toronto in the 2000s, all my CEOs wanted to come in at 5, 6, 7 in the morning because they knew that if they didn’t exercise first thing in the morning, there’s no way they’ll get it done at 4 o’clock in the afternoon ‘cause the world brings you chaos in the afternoon.  So that’s why you have to control your morning, get that victory that the world can’t take from you ‘cause you’ve already got it done, and it also sets the tone for an amazing day.

Ben:  Now what about… ‘cause a while ago, I think it was a couple of years ago on my website, I wrote an article about morning vs. evening, and how there’s even this thing floating around that are called the morningness vs. the eveningness questionnaire.  You know some people are kinda like early birds and some people are night owls in terms of their peak time of productivity.  There’s like this questionnaires you can take online that tell you when you’re most productive and when you’re most creative.  What do you say to folks who would tell you that – you know well, I get the most done, probably at 1pm, 6, I would be like – Tim Ferriss comes to mind, right, I’ve heard him talk a lot about him getting a ton done between like 10pm and 2am, and then sleeping until 10am.  What do you say to the folks who would argue that that some people really are hard-wired genetically or whatever the case maybe to be night owls?

Craig:  Yes, what I would say there Ben is I agree that 80% of people are actually not hard-wired for either, and then 10& people or 20% of people are early birds like myself, and another 10-20% you know, again it’s adding up to 100% eventually are night owls.  Now one of my friends, is also friends with Tim, his name is Joe Marian and he is a night owl.  He works from 8PM ‘till 3 or 4AM.  And the answer here is not so much what time of day it is, but it’s really controlling the environment in which you work.  I think most of us you know, listening to this call we were college students or even high school students at one time, we were those people who would work until midnight.  You know, some people would pull all-nighters and some of those people don’t do any of that anymore because we try to adjust to an adult schedule where we have to be in the office at 8AM, 9AM.  So the world is built around getting stuff done in the morning.  And so, if you fall in that middle dip where you’re not really an early riser, you’re not really a night owl, you just want some time that you can control where you can actually think, the best thing is you’ll gonna get it done in the morning because again, later in the afternoon all those work emergencies are gonna come up, you’ll gonna have a hard time dealing with those, so you’re not gonna have good thinking time.  When you get home at night, you know, the kids have stuff, they need help with their homework, you have to take them to sports or other activities, you’re not gonna hard vote that time and at night it’s very difficult, and then all you wanna do is relax maybe with the TV show or book or whatever it is, but in the morning that’s when no matter what you know, chronological profile you have, that’s when you have that control.  And so, that’s why I recommend that people take advantage of that, but if you are a night owl, if your schedule allows you to work from 10PM ‘till 2AM, and it doesn’t interfere with your relationships, it doesn’t interfere with your family, it doesn’t interfere with your health, then you’ll work the next day, then by all means take control of it and enjoy that and make it your perfect day from it.  But again, just because so many people had an early start you know, an early official start to their day, it’s all about controlling morning, and that’s why I recommend a little bit of time first thing before everybody else brings their problems to you.

Ben:  Got it.  Well I mean, for the record, like I agree with you, and I’ve said this before, I think on this podcast that not a lot productive seems to happen after 9PM unless you’re kinda locked away in your house.  It seems that most of the things that happened in the later hours of the evening in terms of things that you’re engaged in are like social engagements, TV, bars, restaurants, things that don’t necessarily enhance say, your family life or your career, but the morning dude, I don’t know if you found this Craig, but it’s just freaking quiet, right?  Like there’s not a lot of people because the majority of the world is perhaps lazy or sleeps in or whatever, but there’s not a lot that’s going on that’s distracting in the morning.  Even like emails and phone calls and stuff like that.  If I’m up at 5:30AM, I know there’s really not gonna be many people calling me or messaging me.  My email inbox is not gonna be full of stuff and you literally have like this full hour to 2 hours to just get stuff done with zero distractions, I mean, that’s what I’ve found.  Is that kinda along in the lines that what you’re highlighting when you’re talking about getting’ up early in the morning?

Craig:  Yeah it is, absolutely, and so it doesn’t have to be a couple of hours.  I mean, even like I said 5 or 15 minutes in the morning where you have just yourself and no else is up, and you can sit there at your kitchen table, work on your number one problem in life or your number one opportunity in life, and just have some clear thinking time on it.  That really is magic, and then if you wanna have more and more time like a lot of writers who have real jobs, go get up and write before they go to work because you know, that’s when they’re clear headed.  And for me personally I find the morning as a spiritual time, and you know, no one else is up and it’s your own time away from the world, and you know there’s not gonna be emails coming in, I guess in the West Coast, you begin some East Coast emails by 6 in the morning, West Coast time but most of the time, it’s like Saturday mornings are collide with the same thing, you know, you don’t expect phone calls, you don’t expect emails.  I was just reading an article by Chris Guillebeau who is talking about how Saturday mornings, he just dominate his email because he knows more emails aren’t comin’ in, so that’s what he focuses on and really cranks out the work, and  I’m a big fan of working on Saturday mornings too.  I think if somebody really wants to get in ahead in life, do not work Saturday mornings, you know, at least a couple times a month is really gonna hold them back because you can just get so much done, you’re gonna be very creative, and there’s not gonna be other things getting in your way.

Ben:  Yeah, even the weekend mornings like I’ve got in the habit of just getting up early same time as I do on the week day mornings which is generally, you know for me, and Craig you’ll probably laugh at this because I know in your book, you talk about how you’re a 4AM guy.  For me, it’s closer like 5:30 or 6 that I’m up and around.  But even then, I can still get a ton done.  Now, one of the things though that you talked about because you get up at 4AM is that you go to bed at 8PM, and I wanted to ask you like how do you manage going to bed so early with social life because I personally would love to be able to hit the sack early, but I mean, I’m taking the kids to like ______ [0:16:52.6] and tennis, and there are things happening later on in the evening that simply happen in the evening, right, like tonight I’m going to a fight, and the fight doesn’t start until like 8PM, like do you just give up on certain things that happen in the evening?  I mean, what – how do you go to bed so freaking early to stay on this 8PM to 4AM cycle?

Craig:  Yeah, it’s great question, and one of the things you touched on early was that you get up at the same time on weekends, and so, just to give a bit of background on the whole 8PM and 4AM.  The one thing that I learned for having the greatest energy, and having the greatest consistency in my alertness was to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  And I ignored this for years in my early 30s and I finally start doing around 34, 35, but when I started doing that, getting up at the same time everyday even on the weekends, my all day energy increased.  I wasn’t tired at 2 o’clock and I wasn’t tired on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday morning because I slept until 10 o’ clock on Saturday and Sunday.  So that was big, and so, then I realized, okay how can I you know, optimize this for my life and allow me to get a lot of writing done before I have to start my management duties in my business which start around 8:30 in the morning.  So, that’s the only free time I have and I realized, I’m gonna shift my clock.  And so that’s what I do from Sunday to Thursday, most of the time.  Now, when I travel for work and I do travel probably a couple of times a month to mastermind meetings and stuff like that, I’ll be out ‘till 9:30, you know, go out for dinner, 7 ‘till 8-ish and hang around with people, but I will cut it way early compared to most people who are gonna stay at the bar until 12 o’ clock.  But I go to bed on the road at 10 o’clock and still get up at 4 o’clock and then try and get a nap in the next day.  So, yeah, it’s still you know, do get out a little bit but it’s not like what I did when I was in my late 20s, and quite frankly I’ve had enough social life in my late 20s and early 20s to last most people of full lifetime, so you know, in terms of going out for late nights, it’s not something I’m really interested as I love the mornings so much and what it allows me to do.  And I just try and get my catch up with people on Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoons, and those Thursday and Friday dinners that go on too far into the evening.  So, I know date nights you stay out ‘till 10:30 or 11 o’ clock at night, at the most (chuckles) you know, with the exception of a couple 1 or 2AM nights and then those just set me back a little bit but I try and get back on track.  I don’t have a commute so I really cut down on the amount of time that I spent in traffic or doing that type of stuff, so I really save that every day.

Ben:  Yeah, one of the things that I found is when I’m going to conferences or when I’m traveling a lot, it throws me out on my sleep cycle.  It really does you know, for me to be on like 9:30PM to 5:30 AM, that just doesn’t work when you’re at a conference or even sometimes when you’re throwing up your circadian rhythm when you’re traveling, but there’s some really interesting research out there behind for example the concept of using naps or even in some cases as I talked about on the recent podcast episode – transcendental meditation.  As like a recharge in the afternoon after you’ve had a poor night of sleep or less sleep than you’re used to.  Another thing that I’ll use is playing around with light.  Like there’s this concept, I don’t know if you’ve seen some of this research where like bright blue light in the morning, in your eyes or even using you know, this latest biohacking tools like bright blue light buds in your ears or even intranasal light therapy has been shown to be able to kinda like adjust your circadian rhythm, and kinda shove your circadian rhythm forward if you’re outside of your sleep cycle.  And then of course, there’s this, this is actually brand new research this week that shows that, if you know you’re gonna be having a period of time where you’re gonna be low on sleep or thrown up your sleep cycle, simply sleeping an extra 1 to 2 hours for the week leading up to that period of time where you might be engaged in heavy travel or going to some big conference or something like that can actually mitigate all of the detrimental hormonal effects of loss of sleep.  So there some cool ways to control that, you know, getting thrown off of your perfect routine or your perfect day, but I’m curious, do you personally experiment with any of these techniques like binaural beats, or power naps, or any kinda like biohacks to help you when you do get thrown off of your routine, for example when you’re traveling?

Craig:  Yes, for me what I do is I try to adjust my melatonin intake.  So, every summer I go to Europe for 2 weeks.  This year I’m going through like 3 or 4 weeks and then I come back, I’m actually to the Olympics almost immediately after so I’m definitely on different time zones, so what I’ll do is I start taking melatonin earlier and earlier in the day before I go to Europe, and then that will allow me to just relatively, quickly when I get there, and then I always sleep on airplanes, and so, I don’t eat in an overnight flight, don’t drink any alcohol, and  I sleep overnight and get there kind of well rested and relatively adjusted.  So that’s what I do when I travel.  I just read that study that you mentioned earlier today about sleeping in advance.  Now the problem is I just can’t sleep past a certain time because of how adjusted I am mentally, it’s like I can get up before 2 minutes before my alarm almost every single day, and so it would be difficult for me to get that extra sleep maybe with an extra nap or something.  What I usually do is I end up just if I have a couple of nights out or if I have a conference, I’ll come back and just go to bed even earlier than usual by about half an hour just conk out and after a couple of days I’m caught up, but I do travel quite a bit, I go back and forth between the eastern time zone and Denver, which Toronto and Denver which is where is our office is, and so I’m back and forth kind of like every 2 weeks, and obviously going east is a little bit harder but again, it’s just adjusting the melatonin.  Two other things that I’ve done, I actually looked like an old lady when I go to sleep.  I had the big eye mask on and I have earplugs in, but when you stay in hotels like I do, I stay in hotels almost 80 nights a year and the mystery lights are all over the place, and you know, yeah up in the corner there’s a fluorescent light and then all the electronic down on the desk, and so you actually have to do something to block out all that light.  So I started taking ______ [0:23:55.1], I’m asking if it really made a difference and between them.  So those 3 things: earplugs, eye mask, and melatonin.  It really helped me to stick to a sleep schedule with all travel and with all the ups and downs of staying out a little bit later and having later dinners.

Ben:  Do you have any tips for sleeping on an airplane? It sounds like you’ve figured that out.

Craig:  Uhm, I think that some people are just more predisposed to being able to do it.  So, what I do is I make sure that I eat a couple hours before I get on the plane, obviously meal service on an airplane is pretty loud but you know, eye mask, earplug, melatonin, and I’m just lucky enough to fall asleep.  I know some people that couldn’t sleep on an airplane and a flat bed no matter what they gave, you know, if you took an Ambien or whatever, but some people can do it, some people can’t but I’m fortunately I can, and I just make sure that I avoid caffeine, maybe I’m a little tired from the night before, or maybe actually I don’t sleep as much the night before, so it’s easier for me to fall asleep when I get on the airplane.

Ben:  Yeah, I hear ‘yah.  And I personally have developed a habit of sleeping on an airplanes, I use uh, I tend to use cannabidiol more than I use melatonin for sleeping on planes.  I save the melatonin for when I actually arrive at my final destination, but a quick thought before we delve more deeply into some of the other things you cover in your book.  I’ve found that for the time of the morning when you wake up and you wanna go back to sleep, like if you do happen to have woken up in your normal time, I’m now using pulse electromagnetic field therapy.  There’s like this device, I did a podcast on it a few weeks ago that you place on your collar bone.  It goes right over your brachial plexus, and your brachial plexus actually has like a nerve that goes up to your brain, and if you can stimulate that nerve with a certain hertz frequency, you can actually trick your brain into going back into delta sleep frequency.  It’s really interesting.  So you basically wake up, you press this button that’s on your collar bone when you wake up at that time when you’re like a crap, I wish I hadn’t really woken up right now.  I need to get a little bit more sleep, and you fall back to sleep.  It’s really interesting, and you know, occasionally if I’m thrown away off my time zone, if I’ve been traveling east and I’ve been getting up at 6AM on the eastern time zone, and so I wake up at 3AM on pacific time, I use some of that button to be able to sleep until 5:30, 6, so… all sorts of fanatics out there.  So, another question for you regarding your book, you talk about how you avoid alcohol before bedtime, and you also avoid coffee after 1PM.  What’s kind of your logic behind those beverages avoidances?

Craig:  I’ve avoided coffee for 40 years.  I’ve never had a coffee in my life, believe it or not, I know that’s uh…

Ben:  Oh really?  You don’t just avoid coffee after 1PM, you’ve never had a coffee.

Craig:  No, I never have, I mean I’ve had…

Ben:   You’re missin’ out in life man!

Craig:  Yeah I know.  I’ve had 50 mg of caffeine today and I can feel anxious.  So I have…

Ben:  Where are you getting your caffeine, from tea?

Craig:  Yeah, green tea.

Ben:   Okay, got it.

Craig:  Yeah.  I’m just naturally sensitive to caffeine, so I don’t consume a lot of it but – so going to the formula in the book, you know, 10 hours before bed if you look at the half life to caffeine, it’s about 10 hours, so you know, the peak and it start to decline, so if somebody is sensitive to caffeine and it keeps them up, they really need to stop drinking caffeine 10 hours before bed.  Now, my mom, she can have – we were just out for dinner with her the other week, she can have a coffee at 8 o ‘clock at night and go to sleep at 11 o ‘clock and you know, she’s still look fine, and sounds like you might be the same way?

Ben:  Her and everybody else in Italy who has uh, espresso with dinner.

Craig:  Right!  Right, yeah but me, not so much so uhm, but in general if someone is struggling with their sleep, that is an easy place to start.  Just don’t have the afternoon coffee, cogway back, and see if that can help you fall asleep better.  With the alcohol, alcohol does make you tired, makes you relax, I mean you know, just one drink, it just take that edge off and it’s nice but unfortunately it also impairs the sleep cycle.  So, if you think that you’re gonna fall asleep better, maybe do fall asleep faster but you don’t get into those sleep cycles as deeply as you would without the alcohol.  So a couple of drinks close to bedtime those are the reasons why you end up groggy.

Ben:   Yeah it’s really interesting.  There’s actually – I don’t know if you’ve seen like this genetic testing programs like ancestor DNA or 23andme or DNA fit book…

Craig:  I’ve done 23andme.

Ben:  Oh you have! Okay, have you checked out whether or not you’re fast vs. slow caffeine metabolizer?

Craig:  That’s not 1 to 6 in my head.  The one I was looking more for digestive stuff, so I don’t remember that one.

Ben:  Okay yeah.  Like they’ll spit out a bunch of info and I actually, I just returned from Florida where I spent almost an hour in Florida going over my dad with his results ‘cause I finally convinced him to do the genetic testing ‘cause I was curious ‘cause he’s adopted, I had no clue what my own genetics were, and from his side, and of course you can export your data to a website.  The one in particular that I use with myself and with my client is called promethease.  It’s this website where you pay 5 bucks and you can export your genetic data and find out tons of interesting and intriguing health information including genetics, snips or everything from baldness to your propensity for nicotine addiction, to caffeine metabolizing, and yeah, I’m definitely a fast caffeine metabolizer, meaning I can drink copious amounts of coffee, which is great because I love it, and it just goes through my system extremely, extremely quickly.  But for you, going to bed at 8PM, getting up at 4AM, it sounds like part of your formula for perfect days generally, you set yourself a rule of avoiding central nervous system stimulants that might interfere with that early bedtime, correct?

Craig:  Yeah absolutely, and also just for general it’s ID purposes to the, to make sure that that stuff doesn’t kinda bubble up to the circus.

Ben:  Now, what do you say to the folks who swear by and this would include me, uhm a glass of red wine at some point in the evening to help one relax.  Do you think that’s playing, you know, wreaking havoc on sleep cycles or what are your feelings on alcohol in moderation from a “healthy” source like red wine?

Craig:  Yeah, well I think that again what I recommend on how I live is not exactly how someone else is gonna live, and then it’s really coming down to – okay, looking at cost and effect, so I’m gonna have a glass of red wine tonight, how am I gonna feel tomorrow morning.  And for me, I know that personally not only with the sleep stuff, but I wake up with a stuffy nose almost every time I drink red wine.  So, I only drink pretty much straight vodka when I have like a cocktail.  So you know, if I had red wine there be those two issues – the sleep and the stuffy nose.  So, if someone has a glass of red wine with dinner at 7 o’clock and goes to bed at 10 o’clock, you probably gonna be free and clear with no issues.  If you’re having half a bottle full of ______ [0:31:50] wine, finishing in at 10 o’clock going to sleep at 11, you’re probably interfering with your sleep.  So it’s gonna be those response correlated and then really comes down to whether or not use a FitBit or whatever type of sleep tracker you use, you know, just take a look.  See 7 days without alcohol, then introduce red wine back in, see what the data shows and if there’s no problem, if you look like you slept like a log, by all means, live the life that you wanna live.  The big thing is not just with the red wine but with anything in life is establishing that what happens when I apply this stimulants to myself, what’s the response, you know the old scientific methods and that’s how we kinda hack our way to our own right lives.

Ben:  Yeah.  I used to have a lot of issues with the wine, and I’ve recently’ sort of tap into this concept of the type of wine like they’re now marketing wines that are you know, like Mark Sisson who’s considered to be like the de-facto leader of the primal ancestral movement.  He swears by this newer paleo wines with lower sugars, grown in very high altitudes.  I’ve been experimenting with those now for almost a year, and I find a stark difference when I’m drinking like an organic high altitude wine vs. you know, whatever, just the average wine from the grocery store.  So that’s one thing that I’ve found that makes a difference when it comes to alcohol and alcohol metabolism is experimenting with different forms of whatever is your poison might be, but then the other thing that you mentioned of really good point about self-quantification, and I recently discovered this because I’m working on blog post right now on sleep cycles, but when you’re using any of these devices like the FitBit or the Jawbone, or I use this, I use one that’s a ring and it’s called the Oura.  You can look at your deep sleep percentage and the gold standard for deep sleep if you wanna know that something isn’t really interfering with the quality of your sleep, you want about 18-22% of your sleep cycle, like when you’re looking at this sleep graph that any of these bracelets or self-quantification devices can produced, you wanna get read about 18-22% of your total amount of sleep spent in that deep sleep cycle, and that’s generally a pretty good sign that what you’re doing prior to bed is not actually interfering with your sleep.  So now, that’s the one number I’m kinda looking out when I get up is you know, if it’s at 10%, I know I probably did something that mess with my sleep.  So…

Craig:  That’s really cool!

Ben: Yeah, yeah it’s really interesting.  I’m learning a lot working on this article.  Anyways though, speaking of interrupting sleep, you talked a little bit about email in the book, and I was impressed to see that you’re not checking your email until noon.  I believe it’s what you outline in the book.  I’m curious how do you actually set that up, like how do you set up your email checking habits because there’s so many people that would have very hard time not checking email until noon, or just not been able to manage that inbox with in frequency of checking.  So what’s your habit when it comes to email?  How do you set things up?

Craig:  Yeah, so just a bit background on that.  So, in about 2007 I was like everybody else, you know, I was waking up at 7:30 in the morning checking email immediately and in my world as a writer, as a seller of my products, I would every once in a while there be a negative email, okay, you’re an idiot, ______ [0:35:33.2], or you’re ridiculous, or whatever, I don’t like you, and it would send me down that rabbit hole of – oh, I wanna write this back.  I know I never did, but I was want to write something back, and so, it just occupies space in my mind all day.  And so, I realized – okay I got to stop this.  So, you know, it was 5 minutes at that time, it’s 7:30 then, it was 7:35 the next day before I check email.  Eventually I worked my way up.  I know, I clod my way up ‘till 9 o’clock.  It was really a difficult thing to do, but I set it up so that I wanna check my email ‘till 9 o’clock, I no longer had it on my phone, and then I started implementing systems so that I didn’t have to check email.  You know, one thing that people can do especially when I was a personal trainer, and I know that as personal trainer, you’ll gonna get emails from clients who’re gonna cancel that 6AM session.  So obviously you wanna know that that 6AM session is gonna be cancelled before I would get on the bus and go downtown Toronto and train that person.  So, you can set up emergency emails for clients or that people need to get in touch with you immediately, or just a text only for emergencies or make a phone call, and just have that communicated to anybody that needs to reach you urgently like your assistants, then they would use an alternative method of communicating with you.  So that would cut down on you worrying about urgent emails in your inbox.  I mean, that way you can say – okay, now I know that not a whole lot of urgent emails are coming in because all the people that need to contact me that way have another way of doing it, then therefore there’s nothing urgent in my inbox and it can wait until 9 o’clock after I get 15, 60, 90 minutes of work done on my number one priority.  So, there’s people like Gary Bencivenga who’s a copywriter, he calls at your hour of power first thing in the morning.  You know, I’m big believer in that.  Robin Sharma says, you know, first 90 minutes of your day should be focused on your number 1 priority ‘cause that’s 80/20 rule.  You get 80% of your results, or 20% of your day that 90 minutes, and these other people use that Pomodoro technique you know, you work for 25 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break.  So, get something done for a piece of time before you check your email.  Even if you do nothing else, and even if you don’t delay your email until 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock, but you delay it ‘till 8:30, you get something done.  That’s a big win and that’s something that I think most people can aspire to.  And then there’s other ways that you can set up people contacting you.  We have a service that we use in our business called – it’s not our service but it’s just a service that our team uses called I Done This.  And so, everybody has this little area where they go and say, you know, this is what I got done today and today, and I got this done.  And so, I go in and check that before I leave and check my email because that’s where people puts stuff that I need to reply to.  So, I have all these stuff that’ll keep me out of my inbox, and away from any of the negative comments that randomly get into my email inbox which I don’t get a lot of these days, but I think there’s a way that everybody can…

Ben:  You said that’s called, I done this?

Craig:  Yeah, idonethis.com, and it’s just one of the many kinda team tools that are out there.  It’s not like slack or anything, but it’s just a very simple bullet pointed of you know, I contacted this person today and we moved ahead with the video editing, and then you know, I set up this other project with this person or I ship out this product to these people, and so, everybody from our marketing team to our customer service team will just put 2 or 3 things in that were really important that they did.  And then I can go, everybody can go in there and see what everybody did. but as the manager of the team, I can go in there and say – okay, good they moved ahead on that project.  I don’t have to email them and say – hey, did you get this done?  It’s all just there and with email, one of the things that’s the problem is that people just respond to it with you know, thank you, oh no problem, and you actually you know you’ve got 5 emails, there just going back and forth, and chitter chatter that doesn’t need to be there.  So, I almost teach people to look at emails, treated like it’s faxing.  You know, you never fax somebody the word thank you.  You won’t do that ‘cause it’s pain in the butt to go send a fax.  So, just treat your email with a little bit more chair, and remember that if you get a lot of email, it’s probably because you send a lot of email and you know, just like your mom taught you when you’re a kid before you got on a fight at school, count to 10 before you do anything.  So, I tell people count to 10 before you hit send just because you might be bored in sending an email, but if you’re bored in sending an email now, you’re gonna get 3 emails later when you’re not bored and you really actually under the gun and stressed out, and all these people are gonna reply to you, and it’s gonna be like the worse time to get those emails.  So, just little things like that will help people.

Ben:  Yeah, you know, that’s one of the things that I’ve found with email as when you send an email you will get a response inevitably within just a few hours.  And so now I use this program called Boomerang, so when I send a variety of emails, what I’ll do is I’ll schedule those emails to go out a few hours later especially if it’s the morning.  So, I’m not like you.  I don’t wait until noon to check my emails, and the reason is because when I’m working on a big project, I don’t like the feeling nagging at the back of my mind wondering if there’s some kind of fire I need to put out or somebody I need to reply to who needs my assistance before I’ve got knee deep in some big project that I’m working on.  So I do actually check my email, and I’m generally checking it sometime around like 9-10AM, but what I do is when I reply to the emails that are in my inbox, I’ll schedule those emails not to go out until later that afternoon because I don’t wanna bunch of emails comin’ right back at me as I’m going through my inbox ‘cause then you’ve probably seen this before.  You know, you’ll log into your inbox, you’ll have 20 messages and you’ll get them down to about 2 messages and then all of a sudden you’ll look and there’s 6 messages because people are already starting to reply to those messages that you started to send out earlier.  So, boomerang seems to work pretty well for that but that’s still perhaps it’s a mental block that I need to work on, but I have trouble working on like that one big thing in the morning if I think that there some other little fires that I need to put out.  I like to have little fires put out, and be like inbox zero before I actually start my major project for the day.  So you know, perhaps I need to experiment a little bit more with your formula of just getting up and doing that 60 minutes of writing, so…

Craig:  Well, the one thing that’s great about being up so early is even if I send an email, no one is gonna be up to get it, so if it’s something that’s “an emergency” it’s not like anything could be done on it because most people especially because if I’m on the East Coast and I’m up at even 6 o’clock in the morning or even 7 o’clock in the morning, our team still is not gonna be in for another 2 hours into the Denver office, so there’s no point in me checking my email really until after 9 o’clock in the morning which is fortunate for me when I’m in the East Coast, and then going back to there’s something I mentioned earlier with Chris Quillebeau , he was profiled on this really neat site called mymorningroutine.com, and he said, he answers his emails on Saturday morning because he knows no one’s gonna check them until Monday or reply to them until Monday.  So that’s almost like a poor man’s use of the boomerang that you used.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah unfortunately I found that for some reason.  The majority of people I correspond with seem to check emails on a weekends.

Craig:  Right.

Ben:  So that doesn’t work for me, but you are by the way inspiring I think a lot of Californians to move to Toronto, and get on this whole eastern advantage of being able to work with email in the morning.

Craig:  When I’m in Europe in the spring time, I love that time zone so much just actually for that reason.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah absolutely.  It’s kinda funky when you travel at different parts of the world to kinda see how especially like the email and the online routine changes.  You know, some parts of the world you find yourself inundated with email right after you’ve eaten dinner and then another parts of the world, you get can it all over within the morning and then you don’t see it again the rest of the day.  The fun thing about international travel.  So, one of the things you talked about in the book is the 10-2-3-1-0 Formula, the 10-2-3-1-0 Formula.  Can you fill us in on what exactly that formula is?

Craig:  Yes.  So we’ve covered a little bit of it already with the caffeine is 10 hours before bed, so we’re gonna cut that out.  The alcohol is 3 hours before bed, so we’re gonna cut that out, and this is all to get a great night sleep.  And then 2 hours before bed you wanna stop eating, you wanna stop eating heavy meals before bed, out 2 hours again because you know, the digestive system if you have a heavy meal to digest, it’s gonna impact your sleep cycles as well.  And again your mileage will vary with all of these things so you know, take a look at your own sleep tracking to see if that impact things, and then an hour before bed, stop, stop working on work stuff and getting stressed out, and also start to eliminate and cut down on the screen time because the blue light emission from the screen is something that is research proven to impact arousal levels and stop you from falling asleep pretty easy.

Ben:  Right.  Although everybody on the planet now has this, has uh, well I don’t know if you’ve heard of this actually, but Apple just introduced its new IOS, the night time version of the iPhone or if you’re going to your settings, and you click on display and brightness, you can actually now press that night time setting on on your iPhone and it will automatically deem your iPhone kinda like that flux app that I’ve early on talked about on the computer, but Apple has apparently become aware of the blue light problem.

Craig:  Oh very cool! And then from Ari Mansel, I read that you can actually buy, I don’t know if they look like blue blockers but there’s glasses that would block the blue lights, so you can sit and read your Kindle in bed with these glasses on, and you won’t be affected by the blue lights.  So there’s also that way to cut back on the blue light emission which will otherwise…

Ben:  Yeah, I own those.  The problem with them is you also not get laid by your significant other because you look like creepy stalker with most models of those glasses when you’re in bed.  Yeah, yeah there’s a little bit of a downer component to those, but they do work, yeah absolutely.  So we’ve got 10 hours, we cut out caffeine, we’ve got 3 hours, we cut out alcohol, we’ve got 2 hours, we cut out eating, we’ve got 1 hour, we cut out work and screen time, and then what’s the zero?

Craig:  The zero is actually the next morning, and I’m a big fan of not hitting this snooze button because from what I understand, hit this snooze button and go back to sleep for 5 minutes, and you actually wake up groggy or later on you know, you get a little bit into the sleep cycle and it actually messes you up.  So, I recommend people find a way to overcome hitting that snooze button, either it’s discipline or it’s setting the alarm up across the room so you have to get up, you know obviously, your spouse will dictate that one, but if you cannot hit the snooze button, then you’ll probably be better off and well rested for the rest of the day.  So I’m a big fan of the 90 minutes sleep cycle, so if I get up 15 minutes before my alarm, or if I get up even 45 or 60 minutes before my alarm, I won’t go back to sleep.  I rather have a nap later on in the day then go back to sleep and you know kinda mess around the sleep cycle, so it’s something that I’ve learned over time, does work for me when I was younger and I would sleep through with the snooze button and hit it a couple of times, it was bad as some of the research suggested.  So, try not to the snooze button, give that a bit of an experiment, see how that goes and if it works for you then add that to your routine.

Ben:  Now what do you think about these devices now because a lot of these sleep tracking devices will do this, they detect when you’re in your lightest stage of sleep, you know, if that occurs say, at some point between 5 and 6AM.  Let’s say, you want to get up some time between 5 and 6AM it will detect your lightest stage of sleep, and then wake you at some point between say 5 and 6AM not exactly at the same time each morning but when it detects you in that light stage of sleep.  Have you experimented with any of those type of devices?

Craig:  No.  The only thing I’ve experimented with is the alarm clock that builds the light up in your room gradually…

Ben:  Uhmm, yes.

Craig:  Like the sun light kind?  It was okay, it didn’t really, yeah, it didn’t change my world.  So I gave it to one of my relatives, and they actually really like it but for me it wasn’t anything life changing.  So, those are the only things that I’ve experimented with and other than that is I just, you know, I’m kind of a manual guy just manually track everything so that I know I’ve tracked enough that I just know whether or not, you know, last was good night sleep, and everything seem normal like I feel really good right now, and whatever I did yesterday, I’m gonna try and replicate that again today so that I had the same energy.

Ben:  Yeah.  And regarding the 2 part of your 10-3-2-1-0 equation, you get a lot of people now talking about for example, the use of resistant starch to increase lucid dreaming or sleep quality, or you’ll get some people talking about using like raw honey and apple cider vinegar prior to bed to improve sleep quality.  Do you pretty much just keep any calories whatsoever out of the body for that 2 hours prior to bed or do you allow for the use of certain supplements that may have some calories in them to assist with sleep?

Craig:  Well, I don’t tell somebody that again have any calories before they do have, they have something like that.  Now, there’s another thing, another problem with eating too close to bed that most people don’t know about which is basically silent heartburn, and so if you know anybody who is like a guy who’s 65, 70 years old and you noticed that his voices change and it’s really ______ [0:50:40.8], it’s probably because he has been suffering from silent heartburn which is when you go to sleep with a full stomach, the acid creeps up and you get – you don’t notice it, but overtime it actually can have negative impacts on your esophagus and on your vocal chords.  And so, overtime your voice changes, and so people struggle with heartburn or feelings of that or think that they go to bed on a full stomach then you’re probably gonna wanna do something about that.  There’s plenty of articles out there even in the layperson’s world like in the New York Times where I first read about it, so that’s another consideration.  So if you have apple cider vinegar, 30 minutes before you go to bed, you’ll probably not doing a great service to your esophagus because it’s going to – especially, here’s the thing, if you sleep on your left side, you’re gonna have less problem with heartburn just because the way that your stomach is setup, but if you sleep on your right side, you actually have more problem with heartburn.  So, you know, just another thing to give people anxiety about the way that they sleep at night, but it is pretty important.  You know, the more research is comin’ out every day about how important sleep is, and so many of us have built up this badge of honor that we don’t sleep that much but I am for people doing whatever they need to do to get a good night sleep but then there is other things to consider as well.  And then, the last thing that I’ll to that is I don’t do those 16, 8 type of fasting but I just like to do a 12 hour fast, so you know, from when I stop eating dinner, I don’t eat again for 12 hours after that.  So for me, it’s easy to make that 2 hour bridge, I don’t eat anything right before I go to bed ‘cause I do like deep breakfast relatively, but then a couple of hours after I get up in the morning.

Ben:  Hmm, yeah, yeah.  I’m actually uh, I’m slightly different from you in that respect.  I’ll generally have dinner, we have late dinners.  We generally eat around 8:30 or 9PM, and I’ll do intermittent fasting which means  for me  breakfast is typically around like 10, 10:30AM or so, but yeah, I generally follow a relatively similar routine with, I guess a little bit of a time shift forward from your 4AM protocol.  Now, I wanna talk a little bit about the afternoon too.  I know we’ve talked a lot about the morning and sleep, but you call the afternoon chaotic.  Why do you refer in the afternoon, it’s chaotic?

Craig:  Well, for most – well, for my experience as certainly is and for most people that I know is certainly is in terms of… okay, the afternoon and even the morning once you get to work, for some people it’s just emergency after emergency, and then in most cases the afternoon even more so because people wanna work at 4:30 or 5 o’clock and then therefore, they have to get their work done so they really get serious and they start saying – oh, I need your help to help me finish this project so that I can leave on time.  And so, most people are getting those things brought into their world, you might also hear from your kids who have to get picked up from school, or they might be sick, and they have to get a ride home from school, and then you have to start thinking about all the things you have to do when you get home, you know, I got to take little Sally to soccer, I got to take Johnny to the little league, I got to take the other kid to piano practice.  And so, the afternoon is generally really busy for people, and it really there’s so many deadlines that’s coming in the way.   So we really need to figure out a system for coping with that because you just can’t block off and say – I’m not gonna answer my phone, I’m not gonna check my email, I’m not going to do any of these stuff in the afternoon, you guys can kinda deal it on your own.  That’s just not the way the world works and so we have to be prepared to deal with it in a way that doesn’t overload us with stress and still allows us to get our work done.

Ben:  So what exactly do you do about the chaos of the afternoon like what are some of your tips for folks?

Craig:  The first thing is just the mental way in which you deal with it.  So, my book was actually written based on a little bit of Stoic philosophy and something that I interpreted from the Stoic philosopher Epictetus.  He has this saying – “control what you can, cope with what you can, and concentrate on what cannot”, since and so I actually apply that to the 3 parts of the day with you know, controlling that morning.  And then in the afternoon, you have to understand that if somebody brings you a fire or an emergency, you can’t really get mad at them  and then there’s – well then, you can but there’s no point in getting mad at them.  So what you need to do is control your thoughts, control your actions and just do the best job that you can with the emergency that has been thrown into your world.  And so with that, parents like – okay, how can I apply my systems what I put in the book, the 5 pillars of transformation and success into this afternoon of chaotic stuff that the world is gonna bring it.  Even so better planning and preparation is the 1st pillar there, and better planning and preparation means trying to identify every obstacle that the world is gonna throw at you and in most cases you can know in advance that you know, Jim from accounting is always gonna come over in the middle of the week with some numbers emergency, and for some reason I‘m always gonna have to deal with these numbers emergency during the week.  So, how can I be prepared for that? What are some solutions that I have knowing that I have experienced with this?  And you have these 2 solutions that every obstacle that you expect in life and if you have that in place, then you can go to plan A, and if plan A doesn’t work, you can have plan B in backup to make that work so that every emergency that people bring to you causes you less stress, and you deal with it faster.  So those are the systems that you can start with to make your afternoon a little less chaotic if it isn’t back chaotic in the first place.

Ben:  Okay, okay, got it!  So, in terms of the afternoon, I’ve kinda found some similar things happened to me on specific afternoons like Friday afternoon for examples, is when my assistant send me a  lot of like comments and questions, and posts that I need to respond to that I’ve gotten from social media for example, and I’ve simply found that I have to schedule on Friday afternoon a 2 hour buffer, meaning I have a specific period of time in Friday afternoon where I do not schedule any consults, any phone calls, anything like that, and it is simply my time to be able to sit down and reply to that 1 email that I get that just jam-packed with questions and so, I think building and buffers like that to your calendar, you know, I do the same thing with my days.  Like I know Monday, is freaking and this happens to a lot of people.  Monday can be freaking hell in terms of just like fires popping up all over the place.  And so, one of the things that I do on Mondays is, I really try not to schedule too many consults, too many calls, too much of anything between about 10AM and noon because I know I’m just gonna be putting out fires that come my way, and so I think building and buffers to your day at least that’s one thing I found to be kinda helpful as far as that’s concerned.

Craig:  Yeah, absolutely.

Ben:  Yeah, and one of the other things that you get into because I really wanted to touch on this during the time that I have available to speak with you are the people that you surround yourself with.  And you tell this kinda entertaining story in the book about the fishermen and the crabs.  Can you detail that story and why you tell it in the book?

Craig:  Yes, so the crabs in the bucket story is a fun one and it’s a good analogy to how we surround ourselves with people.  So the story goes like this and many people probably heard it in one way or another, but you know, you’re visiting a place like Alaska, you know, there’s a fisherman out in the dock, he’s catching crabs or who already catch a crab, and anyways, he put them in a bucket, and you walk by and you see this one crab making a break for it, and you say to the fisherman – hey, you know, one of your crabs is gonna get out.  And he just kinda laugh and say – no, that’s not gonna happen because as you watched  as the crab gets closer to the top, the other crabs pull it back down to their level.  And unfortunately, that is the way that the majority of people are in the world, so when someone gets famous out of the group, you know, all the knights come out and people get stab in the back, and Dan Kennedy who is an author in the marketing world has a phrase you know, “the higher up the flag pole you go, the more your butt hangs out for people to take shots at it”, and that’s another way of looking at it.  And it’s unfortunate you know, most people say things about someone they’ve never met in a negative manner just to bring them back down to their level even if though they actually met the person in person, they would be the first person to put their arm around and get a photo for their facebook page, so a lot of people just say things in negative way to protect themselves.  So we have to understand that and it could be a simply as you know, if you’re at your work and you work in an office and you really want to improve your health, improve your eating or performance eating for a race or something like that, and everybody else is having cake and donuts on Friday afternoon, and you know, they’re putting it in your face and saying, – oh, you’re not gonna have any of these. Well, you’re too good for us, and that type of stuff.  And you know, really negative stuff like you’d see in the office, TV show that used to be on TV.  And so that’s the type of negative stuff that we need to avoid and overcome, and so really goes back to what personal development people like Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar would always say about you become the average of, you become like the average of the 5 people that you hang around with the most, and so if you hang around with people who go to happy hour every night and get drunk, you’ll probably gonna end up going to happy hours, and maybe not getting drunk but wasting a couple hours there and gaining some weight and not being as effective as you want, but if you hang around with 5 people who have amazing home lives, and have really good careers, you’re gonna become much more like them.  And there’s actually a lot of research out of Harvard University that proves this point, that people that hang around obese people actually have a higher body weight than people that don’t hang around obese people, and people that hang around cigarettes smokers have a greater risk of becoming a cigarette smoker, and it’s just social circles.  And so that’s what the story of the crabs and the bucket is about and really is just a reminder and a lesson to us to make sure that we choose the right social influences to help us achieve what we wanna achieve in life, and become the person that we wanna become.

Ben:  Yeah, I’ve found that that’s a tricky, tricky subject for me because I don’t necessarily want to come across as like arrogance or too selective in terms of the type of people that I hang out with.  This was something that I ran into for a while was I only wanted to be with high achievers or only wanted to be with people who were like making more money than me, so they’d rub off on me and it’s kinda, for me it comes down to walking a fine line.  Like there’s some people who are completely happy like there’s this concept of like deep work, right, like just being engaged in something like woodworking or farming or gardening, and maybe they’re not making a ton of money, maybe they’re not early to risers, but I’ve found that you can almost learn a little bit from everybody.  You know, that guy who works as uh, you know, begging groceries but who might be really great at jiu-jitsu, and you can row with him and actually learn some cool things, or the guy at church who might not be really interested in becoming a full fledge like millionaire entrepreneur but who’s just like a painter or a construction worker but who might share your passion for spirituality.  And so, what I’ve found is I’ve had to walk a fine between like choosing those people that I hang out with who are thinking on a high level but then also trying to understand that no matter who you’re with a lot of times there’s value in people even if they don’t seem to be thinking on say, like as big a level as your thinking.  Have you run into that much like that idea where even if somebody is not financially successful or isn’t like as focused on a huge legacy as you are that you can still kinda get something out of that relationship as far as value or give something in terms of value?

Craig:  Yeah, totally.  I mean, one of the greatest lesson I got in finance ever was from a truck driver because I’m from a small town in Canada.  My family, I grew up on a farm, a beef cattle farm, most of my relatives are in fact transport truck drivers, and so I spent a lot of time with these people and I love how happy they are and it’s just like when you hear about people who don’t have much but are just having a great life because they surround themselves with good people.  And on the flipside, you can hang around very successful people but who are very, very negative.  There’s certainly one who gets a lot of media these days down in America who seems to be a very negative person even though he has quite a bit of wealthy claims.  So, it’s not like uh…

Ben:  Does his name rhyme with Ronald Rump?

Craig:  Yeah, maybe (chuckles)  And so, you know it’s great, the big thing is you can hang around anybody like you said, and learn something or give something to them and have a great relationship.  In my best friend, I’m 40 years old now, I’ve been best friends with him since he and I were 6 years old, so.  You know, but he’s not financially super high achiever but he is known as laidback Jeremy at the hospital where he is an x-ray tech and he’s known for being a really great x-ray tech, and he loves the job and on the weekends we watch golf because we just love to chill out much with golf, and that’s our thing.  And the last point is, is you can hang around anybody but once the conversation turns whether they’re rich or poor to talking about other people on a negative way or to complaining, then that’s when you might wanna say – you know, excuse me, I’m gonna go and join the kitchen party or whatever it is, or I’m gonna go freshen up my drink.  And just you know, remove yourself from that conversation and from that environment and so that you don’t find yourself gossiping because that’s kind of an empty feeling later on, at least that’s what I felt.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah I agree.  You do wanna stay away from the vampires without being so arrogant that you only wanna hang out with people who are making as much money or more than you, that kind of thing I guess is the way that I tried to frame it at least.  Craig, there’s so much in this book and I’ve been taking furious notes.  By the way, for those listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/theperfectday, to delve into some of the websites, some of the things that Craig and I have talked about so far.  I’ve got one more question for you.  If you’re gonna give like a one action step that somebody listening in could take today, to take control of their own time, to own your day, to create their perfect day, what would be your number one action step that you’d want people to leave this podcast and go do right away?

Craig:  So the number thing is, I know, just work with me here, but get up 5 minutes early tomorrow.  Get up 5 minutes early tomorrow, grab that blank piece of paper and a pen, and go sit at your kitchen table and think about what the number one thing in life you wanna improve on or the number one priority in your life, the number one problem, or the number one opportunity, and just give yourself 5, preferably 15 minutes of thinking with nobody else around, and just think really hard about that problem.  Think about ways you can solve it, think about people you can connect with, think about ways you can bring opportunity into your life, or help people out at your company or whatever it is that you wanna do, and just think because I heard this story about Lee Lacocca when he was a CEO of Chrysler and he said – “Over the course of the day, I don’t even get 15 minutes of thinking”, he was the CEO of a very, very large car company ‘cause he was so busy with meetings, and this and that, and I really believe that people who are not getting ahead of stuff as they want in life, they’re mostly being reactive.  And you need to be proactive in order to succeed in life.  You know, if you wanna run an Ironman in under 9 hours, you have to plan and prepare for that.  You have to sit down and really think about what your training program is gonna be.  And so you can sketch that out, you can really think about it sitting at your kitchen table with no other people around, much better than if you’re driving your car and trying to drive and think about it at the same time, or if you’re in a meeting and trying to think about it at the same time.  So, just give yourselves some clear, quality, thinking time and first thing in the morning is gonna be easy for most people.  For our night owl friends, stay up an extra 10-15 minutes, give yourself that clear thinking, and then go and have a great night sleep.

Ben:  Awesome.  Awesome!  I love it.  Well, I’ve really did not tackle a lot of these stuff that you’ve got in the book, like you have pillars in here and formulas and I do recommend that folks if you’re listening in, you just grab this book.  It’ll literally take you probably like, I dunno maybe a day or two to read, like it’s not super long, intimidating book, but it’s got a lot of gold in there from a guy who has accomplished a lot.  And Craig, and also for those who are listening in, if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/theperfectday, I will include links to Craig’s book and everything else we discussed in this episode along with all the articles I’ve written on my own routines.  So, check that all out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/theperfectday, and in the meantime, Craig, thanks for coming on and geeking out with these stuff with me.

Craig:  Yeah, thank you so much.  And like you said, people can read it pretty quick.  It’s really great for an hour and a half, two hours flight.  It’s the perfect book for that.

Ben:  Yup, exactly although we know now that you should be sleeping on your flights.

Craig:  Uh yes.  (chuckles) Very nice little naps.

Ben:  All right folks, well, this is Ben Greenfield and Craig Ballantyne from bengreenfieldfitness.com, signing out.  Have a healthy week!

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



I get tons of questions about my daily routine. Do I meditate and if so, how? On which days do I do which workouts? How many cups of coffee are “acceptable”? When do I time alcohol intake? Do I have a special journaling routine? 

You get the idea. And I’ve already revealed all this and much more in previous articles…


My morning routine

My afternoon routine

My evening routine

But in today’s podcast, I interview Craig Ballantyne, author of the brand new book “The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life“. Why did I want to get Craig’s perspective? Because Craig is one accomplished dude…

Craig is a productivity and success transformation coach from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine since 2000, and his articles have also appeared in Women’s Health, Oxygen, GQ, Maxim, National Geographic, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness Hers, amongst many others. His articles have also been featured on Inc.com, LifeHacker.com, and Telegraph.co.uk.

In 2001, Craig created the popular home workout program, Turbulence Training, and in 2013 he created the Home Workout Revolution bodyweight exercise program. Over 100,000 men and women have used his 6 Minutes to Skinny weight loss system since 2014.

Craig is also the founder of the Certified Turbulence Training Program, certifying trainers from all corners of the globe. He holds an annual Turbulence Training Summit every year for fitness experts to become better trainers and get more clients so they make more money and live the Perfect Life.

Craig’s online success has led him to create books and a coaching program to show other gurus how to take their ideas and help thousands of people. He holds seminars around the world, and he teaches at the annual SovereignAcademy.org camp every summer in Lithuania.

Craig has had to overcome many obstacles on his journey to success, and his toughest battle was fighting crippling anxiety attacks. He finally discovered how to beat them with his 5 Pillars of Transformation, and today Craig shows men and women how to use the 5 Pillars to lose 10 to 75 pounds, get a raise and make more money, find the love of their life, and overcome any obstacle in the way of success.

On his website, EarlytoRise.com, you’ll find his daily essays on success, productivity, time management, fitness, weight loss and self-improvement.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-What it means to “control the morning”…

-What Craig thinks about the research that shows some people are better in the evening vs. the morning…

-How Craig meshes going to bed so early with social life…

-How Craig deals with travel potentially throwing him out of his routine…

-Why Craig avoids alcohol before bedtime and caffeine after 1pm…

-How Craig deals with e-mail, and the technique he uses to avoid e-mail until noon…

-Craig’s 10-2-3-1-0 formula for a perfect night of sleep…

-Why Craig calls the afternoon “chaotic”, and what you can do about it…

-Why a story of “the fisherman and the crabs” is important for you to know…

-The #1 action step you can take today to take control of your time and own your day…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life

Turbulence Training

My article on morning-evening peak productivity times

DeltaSleeper PEMF device

The Oura ring Ben uses (mention this podcast for free shipping)

The Boomerang app for email

idonethis app for managing teams/emails

Sunrise alarm clock

A secret page on Craig’s site that shows you how to get 75% less email

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/04/how-to-have-the-perfect-day/

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