What a perfect week should look like
Many years ago, I wrote The Efficiency Journal, which sold thousands of copies. A little later, I converted The Efficiency Journal into an online course and called it C-Flow.
Defining the Ideal Week: Balancing Health, Wealth, and Relationships
I'm not the most productive person in the world or the biggest efficiency expert, but I feel very comfortable with this topic, and I think I've cracked the perfect week's code.
I will tell you about my ideal week, but before that, I want to draw your attention to two things:
- The first is what are my ideal criteria. In my understanding, an ideal week is measured by three criteria:
- The criterion "a" is the maximization of health duration. You have probably heard the phrase that a healthy person dreams of a thousand things, and a sick person only dreams of one. Therefore, you and I must think long-term and make your well-being a priority.
- Criterion "b" is the maximization of well-being. Money doesn't make you happy, but it gets rid of a lot of things that make you nervous.
- Criterion "c" is about maximizing quality contact with the people you care about.
2. The second thing I have to say is that all the conclusions that I make about health should be taken by you as my point of view, and not as a direct recommendation. I am not a doctor or a scientist. If something is bothering you, you need to see your doctor. My expertise is limited to the interests of the clients of the company I manage. We know enough to do no harm, but we don't know everything.
And with that said, let's jump into a perfect week.
Fitness Protocol: Designing a Weekly Exercise Regimen for Longevity
We'll start with the fitness protocol. To create a good fitness protocol, you need to understand what you want to achieve with it in the long term. Here's how to do it.
Imagine yourself at 90 years old. What do you want to be able to do at 90? List ten things. For example, I want to be able to walk two kilometers at a good pace. I want to be able to take small children in my arms. I want to play tennis. I want to get out of bed without problems or get out of the car. I want to be able to pull up a couple of times and push up 20 times off the floor. I want to be able to walk up the stairs to the 6th floor and go down easily. I also want to be able to run fast from the spot or play with the kids. Once you've written your list, you have a rough idea of where you want to keep your fitness. I also want to keep thinking as sharply as I do now and don't want my bones to break.
Now let's talk about how to do it. And the principles here are very simple. I need to maintain strength and stamina. We maintain strength by working with muscle resistance and endurance by working with cardio. There are three cardio formats that are important for longevity - long walks, going up and down stairs, and being able to start quickly from a standstill. In terms of strength, I need to try to keep it in the main muscle groups. Knowing this, let's create a fitness protocol.
The first thing we are working on is the ability to walk for a long time. And for this, I try to walk 3-4 hours once a week without stopping. Usually, I do it on the weekends, if we go hiking with the whole family, or on a weekday until 10 am. Let's just plan our long hike for Sunday for simplicity. By the way, my fitness protocol is very similar to the one that Dr. Andrew Huberman popularizes. The only difference is how I see some activities. Thus, one cardio is already there.
The next is more intense cardio, which will help me walk stairs and play tennis at 90 without any problems. And here is the principle: I need an activity that will provide me with 30 minutes of an accelerated heartbeat. At the same time, it should include the legs because it is on them that the main load will be.
Every time I have the opportunity to go up and down the stairs during the week, I do it, but this load does not speed up my heart rate. So once a week I have a two-hour tennis session with a coach. Of the two hours, and 30 minutes, I definitely run like crazy. I usually have tennis practice on Wednesday morning.
The last cardio of the week is to break away and run at full power for 30-40 seconds. And I will try to leave this for Friday. Here the task is to bring your heart rate to approximately 220 beats minus your age. For me, that's 184 beats per minute. And this I try to repeat it six times with a rest in the middle.
I immediately foresee the question of how much to rest. I rest until my heart rate reaches 120 beats per minute, and then I start again. This is called interval loading. What is this interval load? Everything is suitable here - from an exercise bike and a skipping rope to a punching bag and push-ups with jumping up.
So cardio took Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, I have strength training. And here, I won't go into details, but here's what you need to know. First, absolutely all strength exercises are associated with four types of actions: you either squat, bend, pull, or push. And you use your legs, chest, abs, back, neck, and arms for this. Your task is to distribute the muscle groups of the body by day and type of activity.
Put your least favorite group at the beginning of the week. If you can hire a coach, do it. I advise trainers who are over forty years old and who look good. It is much harder to be a 50-year-old woman with perfect muscles than a twenty-year-old woman, as you understand. And it makes sense to hire a coach who is older than you so that this person will show you that this is also possible for you.
I understand that you may not like strength training, but if you do not want to start to crumble with age, you simply have no other choice. Your bones will literally begin to break without a muscular corset after 50 years. If, for example, now you sometimes have pain in your back, shoulders, or neck, then after 50, you will not have days without pain. Or you break later but are lazy now. Or work now, and save yourself from pain for a long time.
So, it turns out that all the days are busy except Saturday.
Saturday is the time for baths and dousing with cold water. Here, the research data all point in the same direction. This is definitely useful. It strengthens the immune system, increases the amount of growth hormone, calms the nervous system well, and affects life expectancy. And this is the end of the fitness protocol.
Every day, except Sunday, one hour, preferably in the morning, is spent on your body.
Count on the fact that the perfect week is not one that takes up every hour of your time but one that has about four intentionally spent hours a day, which makes it ideal.
Cultivating Well-being: Daily Creation and Leveraging Resources
Now let's move on to the next part. This is well-being.
Well-being is measured not so much by the amount in the bank, although this is also important, by the creation that will lead you to this. Every day for about two hours, you should block in your schedule for creation without interruptions and distractions.
By creation, we can mean any creative work alone with yourself that increases your well-being. It can be construction, content creation, or thinking over some schemes. The point is that you must, at this moment, create something that was not there before. And to understand what exactly, I will give you a few hints.
First, ask yourself the question: "If I do this every day, is it likely that I will come to what I want?". And if the probability is high, then you know what you need to do. For example, I want to be a famous author. If I write one essay every day, what is the probability that I will become known as an author? And the answer is very big, especially if I give myself a time horizon of 10 years.
Second. Ask yourself if you love the process that you are going to do every day. And here's why it's important. There will be days when your head hurts. There will be days when you are in a bad mood. There will be days when you are tired. There will be days when you will find more enticing choices. And if you don't love your two hours of creation a day, then you simply won't last long. And you need to hold out in this mode for at least ten years.
Third, does the process of creation have anything to do with the use of leverage? And now, I will explain what it is. If you take the 2,000 richest people in the world, you will see one pattern. They all built their wealth using four levers. A lever is what gives you the ability to move or break something heavy much more easily than if you directly tried it with your hands.
An example of a simple lever is a saw. You can see through a whole tree with a thin iron sheet with small teeth. In today's world, there are four levers for increasing wealth: money, people, content, and computer code. I got the idea of leverage from Naval Ravikant. It is that all these levers give you the opportunity to sell one hour of your work for the price of a hundred hours (assuming you have these levers). And if your creation comes through content, code, money, or other people, this means that you are in a very high-quality, prosperous position.
So, building prosperity takes us at least two hours a day. If an hour is occupied by fitness and two by well-being, we are left with approximately one more hour of deliberate time investment.
Let's discuss what it might be.
If I meet a client who tells me that life has no meaning, I ask three questions:
- Are you healthy?
2. Do you have the resources to live?
3. Do you have close people nearby?
And on the last question, many stumble more often than you might imagine. Nothing drives you crazy like loneliness, especially if your temperament doesn't match it. And even for highly introverted people, contact with people is very important.
Therefore, the third part is about intentional relationship building, which becomes part of the ideal week.
Implementing Traditions for a Fulfilling Life
The intentional building of relationships occurs through the creation of traditions. Tradition is what helps people with similar values to become closer. Tradition is an opportunity to find something that unites. In order to introduce traditions into your ideal week, you first need to identify the people you want to be close to.
For example, to strengthen the bond with your partner, you create a morning latte tradition. Or create a Friday movie tradition with your family. I recommend putting in 3-4 such traditions a week and following them without exception. Let's tell you about some of my traditions.
For example, I have a tradition that brings me closer to the CEO of my company, Lena Dolinskaya. We have two important moments every week. One is a walk. We are talking on the phone, and one of us, or we are together, are walking at this time - each in his own part of the globe. Another tradition is called the SEO focus. This is the kind of letter that Lena writes to me at the beginning of each week.
I have a tradition with my wife. At least once a week, we have lunch or dinner together in a restaurant where we discuss plans. We also try to have dinner together with the whole family. At dinner, there are no phones, TV, or other devices.
I have a tradition of morning conversations with my parents and brother. There is a Friday movie tradition. And this is also at least an hour, and sometimes two every day, and these hours are worth every minute spent.
If you schedule four of these hours every day, your week will almost certainly be perfect too.