A few years ago, a client of mine mentioned a saying he loved and believed in. It was “No sweet before sweat.”
I too loved that concept. So much that I started using it as my own mantra. And for fun, I had some New Balance sneakers personalized with that saying and sent them to him as a holiday gift that year!
While the saying is pretty clear, here is how I use it specifically in my daily life:
- I get the hardest activity of the day (sweat) done before anything else. For me, that’s a brain-intensive activity, such as writing. I start this after breakfast, around 7 a.m., and put in about two hours of work.
- After I complete it, I work up a real sweat, by doing my exercise for the day. After sometimes mind-numbing work, working out clears my head and sets me up for a great day.
- After exercising, I get my sweet. I put my sweaty clothes in the laundry and sit by the pool naked (or go in the pool most of the year) for a few minutes, and enjoy the sun and silence.
- Then I take a shower and get to work on the rest of my day.
- My family and I eat an early dinner, and Zoe does homework and then David and I chill out and go to bed pretty early, usually no later than 10 p.m.
This works for me, but I can already hear the “what ifs,” so I’ll try and address them.
What If I’m Not a Morning Person?
I am definitely a morning person, and for some of you, my schedule may seem horrifying. I have a rule in my house that I don’t make decisions after 6 p.m., because I am pretty much out of brain steam by then. But at 6 p.m. some of you are raring to go!
Here’s what my friend Lynn does. First of all, she’s NOT a morning person. She starts her day by getting up later in the morning and works out around 9 am. This is her priority, so she does it first thing. When she gets home she showers and starts working.
My virtual assistant, Virginia, doesn’t wake up until 1 p.m., and works through the night.
The key is to start your workday when you are able to start it, and to do the most important or most challenging activity first.
This works whether you work for yourself or for someone else. If you work for someone else, you probably have less flexibility. But you most likely already have made adjustments. Night owls working a regular job learn how to get up earlier or drink a lot of caffeine to start the day, for example.
What If I Don’t Have a Pool or Private Backyard?
I grew up primarily in the Boston area, in an apartment, so I get it. I live in Florida, and many of my readers, don’t, so I understand that, too. Spending time in my pool and sitting in the sun are my reward. Your reward may be going shopping, or eating something (good but healthy I hope), or spending 15 minutes watching funny Facebook cat videos.
What If I Can’t Do This Every Day?
Life happens. Sometimes, you won’t be able to control your schedule. Or other activities must take priority. That’s ok. I live by the 80/20 rule. In real times, that means that most of the time I do what I need to do.
Oh, and the weekends? I am flexible. For instance, I am writing this early on Saturday morning, while my family is sleeping. I usually do a long bike ride with David around 9:30 a.m., but today the family is doing a charity project. So I will probably do a long bike ride on Sunday (it’s usually the day off from my workout), and have less lounge time.
So, that’s it. Does this mantra resonate with you? Do you have other words you live by?