Episode 41: My Daily Routine (How Constraints Enable)

My Daily Routine

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I’ve been a little less active on social media lately because I’ve been working on my book and I don’t want to split my attention. #DeepWork

The good news is that the writing process is helping me crystallize some ideas that I think will be tremendously helpful for many of you (they’ve already helped me). Excited to share!

An area where I know I could improve is documenting my process. This is a concept Gary Vee and Austin Kleon talk about a lot. It’s a useful practice, not just for keeping me accountable to you but also to share the behind-the-scenes aspects of my creative process. All that to say, I plan on documenting my process more.

In the spirit of documenting my process, in this episode I share my daily routine and how it has enabled me to write more consistently. Some of you have asked me how I structure my day. In this episode, I share some of that. More importantly, I talk about the principle that explains why having a routine is useful in the first place.

Keep in mind, routines are aspirational. In this episode, I outline my “ideal day,” however, I don’t do all of these things every day. Life is messy. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t do something perfectly. The specifics of your routine are not as important as the fact that you actually have one.

Below is an outline of my daily routine if you prefer to read it rather than listen to my lovely voice :) Although, I highly recommend listening to the episode because the last half explains a very useful principle you can apply to your life to help increase your effectiveness and creativity.

My Daily Routine

I optimize my daily routine for cognitive health and mental clarity. However, it’s basically the same stuff you’d want to do if you were trying to get fit, sleep better, or just maintain good general health.

WAKE UP EARLY

I have a very cute alarm clock who wakes me up between 5:30 and 6 every day (my 7-month old). Sometimes I get up before him and sneak in a little work I do my best thinking when I’m alone and the world is quiet (although this doesn’t happen often.)

OIL PULL

Before I brush my teeth, I swish for 20 mins with coconut oil (sounds gross, I know). It’s a dental hygiene practice that comes from Ayurvedic medicine. Helps remove oil soluble toxins from gums & removes stains on teeth. The bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and negatively affect cognition.

EXERCISE

The research is very clear on that. That’s mostly why I exercise — because I like to feel mentally sharp. I do a combo of calisthenics and cardio (about 45 minutes total).

DRINK WATER

A vital part of any healthy routine. I drink about 30 oz in the morning, afternoon, and evening. your brain actually shrinks in volume if you don’t drink enough water. I always feel more clear-headed when I’m well-hydrated.

TAKE A COLD SHOWER

Cold showers help wake up the nervous system and offer a number of other health benefits. Personally, I feel much sharper afterward. Something I’ve found is that exposure to a moderate amount of stress tends to make you stronger. This is true biologically, physiologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

GET TO WORK!

Baby takes his first nap around between 8 and 9 am so I use this time to write. Currently working on my book. I’ve stopped and started over like 700 times 😩 I finally feel like this draft is starting to become something useful.

EAT BREAKFAST

Before I have my first meal, I like to eat high-probiotic foods (sauerkraut or kimchi) on an empty stomach. This helps the probiotics implant themselves in the gut more effectively.

For me, the first meal is the most important because it determines my blood sugar for the day. I’ve experimented with many different kinds of foods over the years and I’ve found, without a doubt, that I do best if I have a high protein/moderate fat/high vegetable meal in the morning. I cannot eat carbs in the a.m. Even good ones. They throw me off completely. I feel foggy and irritable all day. My wife, however, can eat carbs in the morning and feel fine. All metabolisms are different.

SUPPLEMENTS

I like to keep it simple with my supplement stack: Omegas, ashwagandha, whole food multi, and zinc. Again, my focus is cognitive health but these balance and nourish many bodily systems since everything is connected.

DOMESTIC DUTIES

For next two hours after breakfast, I usually do boring stuff like clean the kitchen or other chores. I also do fun stuff like read to and play with baby. Vanessa and I discuss our day and do logistics if necessary.

COGNITIVE TRAINING

Little Ruben takes his second nap around between 12 and 1 pm. I try to use this time to train my brain/mind. There are three primary activities I do:

  • Juggle (increases white matter in brain)

  • Brain games (Posit science has the most well-studied and effective games)

  • Meditate (increases clarity and ability to pay attention, decreases mental noise)

I don’t do all of these every day, but I do at least one of them each day. When I remember, I also do things with my non-dominant (left) hand. Just like your muscles, your brain needs to be challenged in order to keep it functioning optimally.

BEDTIME ROUTINE

  • Stop eating by 6 or 7 pm

  • Listen to audiobook or podcast while I clean the kitchen

  • Anti-blue light glasses after 6 pm

  • Magnesium or melatonin to promote deep sleep

  • Read

  • Review goals/affirmations

  • In bed by 10:00

  • Deep breathing exercises before falling asleep

Selected links & resources

If you liked this episode, check out…

Episode #29: Making Sense of Self-Development

Episode #7: Practical Strategies for Dealing With Overthinking

What did you think?

Leave me a review on iTunes with your biggest takeaway (I read them all). Or, drop me a comment below. I appreciate your feedback!


Ruben Chavez is a writer, personal development educator, and host of The Think Grow Podcast. He has created a community of over 3 million readers across his collective platforms, including his popular Instagram page ThinkGrowProsper. Along with this blog, these platforms are his way of inspiring and connecting with thoughtful, creative, and ambitious people just like you.