This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Erik Bertrand Larssen. All opinions are 100% mine.
“Tennis great Andre Agassi said he never thought of grand slams or his next big match when he woke up in the morning. What he thought instead was, “When I go to bed in the evening, I am going to be proud of myself.”‘ (from Hell Week)
But you thought we were talking about staying up all night, right? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that…
What if, instead of focusing on all the things we shouldn’t do, all the ways we could fail that day, we just kept it very simple.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Andre Agassi”]When I go to bed in the evening, I am going to be proud of myself.[/pullquote]
I love this way of approaching the day, because while there’s no way to know what’s going to come at you, you can always purpose beforehand to respond well.
If you do slip up and make a poor decision at some point, you can have the integrity to take care of it before ending that day.
Harnessing the Force of Habit – Day 1 Takeaways
How do you wake up in the morning?
Like Erik recommends, creating a new wake-up routine to start the day off with a good mindset (which seems a little harder at 5:00am, go figure) was actually really helpful for us.
In taking note of my habits for the day, I was most aware that I don’t do ANYTHING without multi-tasking.
Ok, I take that back. I brush my teeth without doing anything else but thinking, mostly about how dirty the mirror gets from the kids brushing their teeth. Yay me. Actually, I think sometimes I also clean the mirror.
We’ve been more purposefully mindful of being more “present” in the past year, but even while spending time with the kids in the evening, I’m still usually also making supper on the side.
On one hand, there’s an aspect of this that I think is valuable – I love being able to learn new things by listening to podcasts or YouTube videos while doing housework, for example. (Those kinds of things don’t take mental concentration because they’re habit.)
On the other hand, we’ve all gotten so used to doing multiple things at once that many of us no longer have any natural processing time, and it’s often not something we prioritize without some sort of reminder like the Hell Week challenge provides.
Getting into the Mode – Day 2 Takeaways
Everyone operates in different modes at different times, but few of us do it consciously.
Getting into the mode is also sometimes called “getting into the zone”, but it’s not just about focusing on the task at hand in the way we would normally think, it’s getting in the right place mentally and even physically.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Erik Bertrand Larssen”]Many people… stay in high gear for too long and burn out. Or, more often, they stay in third gear all the time, and never enter into optimal performance mode.[/pullquote]
Errrr. Yeah. *guilty face*
As we read through this chapter and thought through our “normal”, we realized that because we work from home, we tend to stay in largely the same mode all day long!
Although we also homeschool our kids and do have to do household type stuff, it often just kind of all blends together into a sort of relaxed work mode.
Learning to relax and take more mindful time off is something we worked on in the past year, but I think we could really benefit from some times of more focused intensity. We’re starting to plan some of these in by going to a coffee shop to work more regularly, and this greater awareness of modes is definitely helping!
Managing Your Time – Day 3 Takeaways
We. all. make. so. many. excuses!
I realized this long ago and generally don’t allow myself to even say “I didn’t have time to…” even though it’s certainly the best-sounding excuse.
When you get really honest with yourself you recognize the truth is “I didn’t prioritize that“.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with prioritizing certain things over others – it’s impossible not to!
The problem is when we lie to ourselves about what we can’t do, by prioritizing the wrong things.
It can also work against us in the other direction, though, being completely unrealistic about what we can do – taking on too much and doing nothing well.
Day 3 is for getting serious about planning and prioritizing. We do plan, but we haven’t been doing very well about planning far enough in advance to do a really good job with what we have planned.
We’re great at staying flexible, but that can be to our own detriment at times. Seeing how easily their parents got in a rut, younger generations have prioritized flexibility, often at the demise of making real commitments that enable them to build good momentum. The pendulum swings.
As much as many of us try to avoid “adulting”, planning and scheduling is a tool that helps us accomplish our goals, not a straight jacket we can’t maneuver as necessary.
Getting Out of the Comfort Zone – Day 4 Takeaways
Getting out of our comfort zone is something we’ve been purposeful about for a while now because we know it’s an important component of growth.
Still, neither of us were too excited about staying up all night (yes, you read that right).
We really, really, really like our sleep. More in a stay in bed sort of way than an actually going to bed at a decent time sort of way, but you know…
So of course the first thing you think of when contemplating staying up all night is how much you don’t get to stay in bed the next day… and how super crappy you’re going to feel when you still have to act like a responsible adult with all your normal adult responsibilities, even though you acted like a teenager by staying up all night.
But you know what happens when you do it anyway?
You prove to yourself that you can handle more than you think you can. (Parents of newborns everywhere are like, please, tell me something I didn’t already know.)
The difference is that you’re choosing this, and not just to keep a tiny human happy.
You’re saying “no” to the immediate gratification your bed wants to provide… BECAUSE you’re saying “yes” to a bigger personal goal.
There was a point where it was pretty tough, but when we pushed through we made some awesome progress.
I’m very happy to report that we used the time to tackle a project we’ve been putting off for months now because we weren’t sure how we were going to go about it and didn’t feel ready.
Yet again, we proved to ourselves that just jumping in is often the best solution, and believe it or not, we will probably do this again at some point.
We definitely recommend tackling these challenges with a partner if possible – it can be a great bonding experience 🙂
Halfway through Hell Week…
It’s definitely been hard because we weren’t able to plan and prepare as much before the week as we would have liked, nor was it the most ideal timing.
We’re glad we’re doing it anyway because of what we’ve already been able to accomplish!
It doesn’t need to be perfect to be great.
Ready to change your life in a week?
Grab your copy of Hell Week on Amazon and jump in with both feet!
Follow #HellWeekChallenge to see how others are doing and follow Erik on Instagram for added motivation 🙂