In 2018, leadership coach and performance expert Robin Sharma published a book titled, ‘The 5AM Club’ based on his own experience with private clients. In the book, Sharma explains why successful people wake up at 5AM – primarily because of how they spend their early hours. He outlines several methods that improve vitality, maximize productivity, and help achieve one’s goals. Let’s look at two of the most popular ones being used by leaders today:
- The 20/20/20 rule for enhanced performance
What to do: Sharma recommends spending 20 minutes every morning on activities that boost physical, mental, and learning performance. This time makes up what he calls the ‘victory hour’. Begin the day by rising at 5AM and start the victory hour with 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise. Next, spend 20 minutes to think, journal, and reflect. Finally, dedicate the last 20 minutes for learning by reading or listening to podcasts.
Why it is important: The first 20 minutes of exercise releases dopamine and serotonin, crucial neurotransmitters that regulate metabolism. Penning down thoughts, goals, and emotions frees up mental space, provides clarity, and improves daily planning. The last 20 minutes dedicates time for personal development and continuous growth.
How it helps: Exercise elevates our mood and energizes us for the rest of the day. Sharma states that the second 20-minute slot is a pre-performance template used by all leaders. Besides enhancing mental acuity, it empowers us to perform optimally and make better decisions while juggling daily pressures and hectic work schedules. The last 20 minutes spent on learning can hone crucial workplace capabilities such as flexibility, subject mastery, and brainstorming for ideation. According to Sharma, these 20 minutes will deepen acumen, improve expertise, and help you outlearn the competition.
- The 90/90/1 rule for greater productivity
What to do: A well-known productivity hack, this rule insists on investing 90 minutes every day for the next 90 days to focus on your 1 big project.
Why it is important: For many of us, high-priority goals or tasks often fall victim to procrastination. Even when we sit down to complete a project, the environment might present a slew of distractions. So, whether it’s the first 90 minutes of the work-day or the last, the most important thing is to tune out all distractions, find a precise spot to work in, and maintain complete and sustained focus on that task – whether it is a big work project, presentation, sales pitch, or personal goal.
How it helps: Developing this habit over 3 months promotes what Sharma calls ‘personal mastery’ – the key to success. If 3 months seem like too long a period, you can always tweak it to 30-30-1 or 45-45-1, giving yourself time to take on bigger projects and goals!
Remember, the success drivers of these two rules are consistency and repetition. Ultimately, it’s all about re-calibrating ourselves through “daily choices that guarantee better daily results.” Will you try it out?