Tim Rios  /   February 22, 2022

The Perfect Day

Perfect is a word I’ve grown to dislike over the years. For many, it is not a standard; it is a cop out. In the never-ending quest for “perfection” they either never finish or spend too much time chasing incremental improvements with little value.

However, this caused me to wonder, “can we approach something with an ideal set of principles while still recognizing the outcomes will never be perfect?” I believe the answer is yes.

I began by making a list of the top, most-effective brokers I’ve worked with over the past five years. Their annual earnings range from $500,000 to $4,000,000. I mention that only because these are people who make an outstanding living without sacrificing everything on the professional altar. I thought about what I’ve observed in the best performers and consistent patterns emerge. Not everyone checks every box, but what follows are the Top Ten Principles for Creating The Perfect Day…

1. Consistent Start/Stop Times – in other words, top performers usually go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time seven days per week. It is true to say that most top performers are early risers but not all. It is okay to be a night owl. Just know your pattern and stick to it more often than not.

2. Recognize sleep is not a weakness – we live in a world that glorifies over-working. To deny that we need quality sleep is to ignore something fundamental to our species. A $2,000,000/year broker once said to me, “I need eight hours per night, or I don’t function at my peak.”

3. Healthy habits are automatic – top performers never ask themselves, “should I exercise today?” Asking that question is usually just a mask for justifying what you already know deep down – you ain’t gonna do it. The same is true for high-quality, nutrient-dense food. Top performers know their brain needs fuel for performance.

4. Pre-Game warm-up is not optional – if your day really kicks into gear at 8 AM, that should not be when you arrive at the office. The value of rising early is to be warmed-up and ready to kick into high gear when Primetime begins. Pre-game warm-ups don’t always look the same for different people – coffee, reading the news, exercise, hydrating, listen to music, meditate – there is room for personal preference in how you gear up for the day.

5. Driven by priority; not urgency – Top performers dedicate a portion of their daily/weekly schedules to things that are important but not necessarily urgent. Humans naturally gravitate towards tasks that have immediate consequences – good or bad. Top performers know that’s a formula for mediocrity.

6. Time Blocking – most of the world exists in an interrupt-driven environment. The true cost of that “30 second question” extends for several minutes, and cumulatively adds up to hours of lost productivity. Top Performers get more done because they focus. Multi-tasking is a myth.

7. Time & Space improve the final product – larger projects are broken into chunks and scheduled with anticipation. Too many people operate in “first draft is the final draft” mode. Time and space allow the best thoughts to filter through to the final product.

8. Time is always used purposefully – Whether working on a career-defining proposal or scheduling unstructured downtime, time is always invested for a return.

9. Utilize all 168 hours – everyone alive and working today has grown up with a distinction between workweek and weekend. Did you know this concept didn’t even come into existence until the 19th Century? In the United States, a universal two-day weekend wasn’t adopted nationwide until 1940. Top Performers are not part of the TGIF crowd. They see no reason not to invest time on a Saturday or Sunday in balance with other priorities. If you get up at 6 AM, but your kids sleep in until 10, why not get a little work done?

10. Surprises are inevitable – shock absorption is a must in an achiever’s calendar. If you schedule 100% of your time, you are planning to fail in some way.

Success leaves clues. These ten suggestions were not imagined out of thin air. If you feel that you could benefit from one or more of these suggestions, I encourage to take time to integrate the changes. It is a sad fact that this Sunday night, millions of people will vow to make major changes in the coming week. But the enthusiasm will wane quickly. Pick one thing, and commit to doing it for at least a month.

-Tim Rios, Chief Learning Officer, The Lipsey Company

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