So recently I did a 21-day experiment of waking up at 5 am. For some reason, I succeeded in that experiment. My body was fit and I could manage with 3/4 hours of sleep.
But then I slipped back to 7 am, and now waking up at 5 am is like 2 days a week. But still every day I wake up at 5 am and walk to my alarm clock and then shut it off and decide if I feel refreshed or I need more sleep. If the answer is I need more sleep, I go back to sleep.
Systems Vs Goals
There are primarily two schools of thought on optimising your life. One which is popular is setting Goals, another one is improvising processes (systems).
Let me explain with this waking up analogy!
Waking up at 5 am with a Goal Mindset
If waking up at 5 am is a Goal, you would drag yourself out of bed, and even if you are sleep deprived, you will go about doing your stuff. Of course, you won’t get done much as you weren’t at your brightest self.
Waking up at 5 am with a System mindset.
Now waking up at 5 am with a system mindset means you make sure whatever you do throughout the day facilitates to your objective or goal of waking up early. It can be 4 am, 5 am or 7 am.
My system is the following
Eat only 2/3 meals a day
Eat your last meal before sunset
Hit the bed by 9 pm, with a book.
The system is self-sustaining. Once you wake up at 5 am, means you are sleepy by 9 pm.
In the above steps, you can decide which one is the key performance indicator. Or use the Pareto principle to decide which is the most important metric of the above points. For me, the no.4 is the most important metric, but I won’t give it the 80% distribution benefit.
I have also heard that if you do only one meal a day (OMAD) you can do away with only 2/3 hours of sleep.
The argument is that a system mindset inherently has a goal. But in a system, your OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) loop is much faster. With a goal mindset, the feedback loop is not so good. I think the two methods can be described as a top-down or a bottom-up approach.
Choose what suits you interchangeably.