According to years of research, sleep is the single most important factor in boosting productivity. His practical advice suggests a strict timeline for “winning your mornings and owning your day.”
Fitness coach Craig Ballantyne suggests a five-step formula in getting quality rest and powering through days with the “10-3-2-1-0″ formula:
- Ten hours before bed: No more caffeine
- Three hours before bed: No more food or alcohol
- Two hours before bed: No more work
- One hour before bed: No more screen time
- Zero: The number of times you hit the snooze button in the morning
Ten hours before bed: No more caffeine.
Stop drinking all caffeinated beverages ten hours before bed. As a tea-drinking, coffee-loving nation, we consume and 165 million cups of tea and 70 million cups of coffee per day. Limiting intake by noon can have a positive effect on your sleep patterns, and a direct impact on your productivity. It generally takes ten hours for your body to clear caffeine from the bloodstream and eliminate its stimulatory effects.
Three hours before bed: No more food or alcohol.
Finish eating big meals and drinking alcohol three hours before bed. This will help you avoid heartburn (gastric reflux) and interrupted sleep. According to research from Drinkaware, alcohol might make you feel sleepy initially, but never leads to a restful night. In the course of a night you usually have six to seven cycles of REM sleep, which leaves you feeling refreshed. If you’ve been drinking you’ll typically have only one to two, meaning you can wake feeling exhausted.
Two hours before bed: No more work.
End all work-related activities two hours before bed. This includes not taking phone calls, checking emails, reading reports, or thinking about your to-do list.
One hour before bed: No more screen time
Turn off all phones, TVs and computers. Ballantyne suggests doing a “brain dump” to shake off the stresses of the day and the growing to-do list for the next day by spending at least five minutes writing out your thoughts on a blank piece of paper.
“If you struggle to find the “off button” for your brain, I can relate. But at the end of your day, in order to enjoy uninterrupted time with family, in order to be present for your children, in order to forget about work problems, tasks that didn’t get done, or items that need to get completed first thing in the morning, you need to do a Brain Dump,” according to Ballantyne.
Zero: The number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning.
Wake up refreshed, at least 15 minutes before you usually would to review your agenda for the day. Those extra minutes could be the difference between a smooth, productive day and eight hours of playing catch-up.