Sleep. Slumber. It should take up ⅓ of your life, yet people spend an unproportionally lower amount of time focused on it, and the pivotal hours around it.

When did good sleep become taboo?

I don’t know if you received the memo, but bragging about getting a date is on the downfall. Bragging about how little amount of sleep you received, however, is on the rise. As Ellie Kaufman says in her article, “We talk about sleep as if it’s an inconvenience or an obstacle to getting work done. We wear our exhaustion like a badge of honor we won for doing more, sacrificing more, caring more than those who “chose” to sleep while we had more important things to do. We have a crazy long list of priorities, and sleep is at the bottom of the list.”

This isn’t right.

My friend Elaine Kunda (CEO of Vitalere) says, “I’ve burned the candle at both ends enough to finally understand; I need sleep. I function better with it, my immune system is stronger and I feel more positive to take on the world. Getting more sleep is a choice and a decision we can all make, even if the rest of society hasn’t caught on.”

Start your day with OUTPUT.

I had the chance to sit down with one of my good friends, Mike Jaindl, the Former Chief Client Officer at Buddy Media. He is a morning person, and for years, started his day the way most people do…reading or answering email. He isn’t a reactive man, but more often than he wanted to admit, he was reactive for the entire day.

Mike saw the clearing in the forest.

He discovered the merits of output before input. As Mike says, “most people start their day with information. Allowing news, social media, and email to pull them through their day. It’s easy to let happen, doesn’t feel right, and creates undue stress”. He realized what he lacked was starting the day with gratitude and intention.

Here’s how he broke the cycle, became more proactive, and developed good emotional hygiene:

  1. Wake up and Write: Every single day he follows the practice learned from using the 5 Minute Journal. He writes 3 things he’s grateful for, 3 things that he will do to make the day great, and 1 affirmation. He was originally inspired to start this practice after reading The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin. He says, “Writing first puts you in the driver’s seat. Each morning, through writing, I practice gratitude and set an intention.”
  2. Brew a pour-over coffee: Precise. Beautiful. Efficient. Mike starts his day by home-brewing a pour-over coffee. He learned this skill by frequenting Blue Bottle in his old neighborhood of Williamsburg, where each coffee is prepared using the pour-over method. Mike would say that it is, in itself, a form of art, which Mike has perfected…with room for tweaking. (How great is it to start your day with art).
  3. Meditate and /or workout: Depending on his schedule, he’ll either do both or choose one. Typically he’ll do both as he usually don’t take meetings before noon.

He doesn’t schedule meetings before noon?

No, that is correct. He has engineered his day into creative mornings and meeting afternoons. Because he’s a morning person, he completes his most creative duties out of the way first. That leaves his afternoons for back-to-back-to-back meetings to close deals.

In the late 1970’s, my father, Phil Schembra, did something similar. He spent every morning from 8:30–10:30 focused on outbound sales calls for his real estate company, freeing up the balance of his day to write material with my mother, for The Hilton Head Island Performance Group, their motivational and life learning company. With real estate, Dad realized that he could work smarter, not harder; work less hours, and increase his income…all before 11:00 am.

My Current Morning Routine.

  1. Unplug all electronic devices. No phones near the bed, especially when I lay down to sleep. I literally tuck mine and my girlfriend’s phones into it’s own bed in the far corner of the room.
  2. No curtains, designed to wake up to natural sunlight. I wake up with a positive attitude on my own accord versus an alarm clock.
  3. Brew our own coffee — saves money and time.
  4. Sit with my girlfriend, Molly and chat about our day.
  5. Bike or walk to work, if possible. Even that simple amount of energy leaves me awake and refreshed.

Too good to be true?

There is something to be said about Elaine, Mike and myself. We know how life tends to get in our way with planning, and we aren’t always able to get to sleep early, and wake early. While this is all easier said than done, I’ve just started the process of taking back my mornings and so can you. As Elaine says, “my morning is my time and I am protective of it. Time is a limited resource, quality time is even more sacred.”

2017 is off to a great start.

Hope ya’ll are having a phenomenal day on earth. Remember it’s your world go explore!

Originally published at