How can you set yourself up for success? How can you enhance your productivity by setting up routines? We talked with biohacker Siim Land about productivity, useful routines and the building blocks of the perfect day.
It’s a Thursday afternoon in Stockholm. Biohacker Siim Land looks like he’s had a good night’s sleep despite recently traveling for the Biohacker Summit. When asked about what his perfect day would be like, he says he’s living it almost every day.
Listening to the Estonian talk, it starts to sound like we could all be a bit more like Siim. Long walks in the forest. Deep work in the mornings. Plenty of sun after waking up.
But let’s start going through his perfect day from the beginning: the night before.
“It’s a good idea to have routines to let your mind know that it’s time to go to bed,” Siim says.
“Before I go to bed, I do a lot of journaling. I go through the previous day, note down all the good things I did. The goals I accomplished. But also things I could have done better, and the lessons I’ve learnt.”
For Siim, his journal is a tool, not something he’d put up on Pinterest.
“It’s simply some pieces of paper. A notepad. It’s very simplistic. I just want to make sure that I’ll focus on the right things tomorrow, and not just do more of the same.”
Siim admits that there have been periods in his life when he didn’t get enough sleep, but even as a teenager he wasn’t the one to pull all-nighters.
“I’ve never been the kind of person who stays up past midnight. At the moment I go to bed around 10.30 pm. I might do some foam rolling or some easy stretching to loosen up.”
Siim doesn’t use an alarm clock but wakes up naturally.
“I usually wake up around 5 or 5.30. How much sleep I need depends on the physical activities I’ve done the day before. I don’t feel that strained by mental activities, but when I exercise I find that I may need 1-2 hours more sleep.”
Living in the Estonian countryside, Siim has the privilege to take two steps from his front door and be surrounded by nature.
“The first thing I do is go outside: Breathe in some fresh air and do some stretches. Get some natural sunlight. That’s the most important thing to set my circadian clock.”
“What I do afterwards, depends on the day. I might take a cold shower. Well, I don’t jump right in to the cold shower but rather do the hot and cold together. I think that’s healthier and doesn’t trigger that much stress. After that I use the infrared device that shoots out red light onto my skin. It feels very rejuvenating.”
After his morning routine, it’s time to be productive.
“My morning routines put me in this great state of mind for the rest of the day. Then it’s time for some deep work: doing something undisturbed for long periods of time. My phone and all other media are in airplane mode. It’s super important to have these periods where you separate yourself from the outside world completely.”
“When I don’t have a deadline, I don’t have any meetings or the Facebook Messenger disturbing me, I feel like I’m doing my best work. It doesn’t have to be something like Mozart or Picasso, simply something that produces more value to the world. The most important thing is to keep moving closer to your goals.”
“After this long, continuous session, I distance myself from work and take a break. Going for a walk, especially in nature, is good for de-stressing yourself.”
Siim has found that audiobooks and podcasts are a good way to distance himself from the work he’s doing but also stay connected and inspired.
“After I come back from the walk, I usually brew some coffee or tea and get back to work. I usually work on something that’s easier, more relaxing. This is also the time I check my emails to avoid feeling overwhelmed before my morning deep work session.”
“6–7 hours after waking up I’ll take a 10–30 min powernap on an acupuncture mattress to reset myself and to get a boost.”
“In the afternoon, I usually like to exercise. Do some calisthenics, go to the gym, do some yoga. I find that my physical strength peaks at that time.”
After six, it’s time to start winding down.
“I’ll make dinner, rewind, relax. Spend time with family, watch some TV or listen to podcasts.”
During the summer months the sun sets around 9 pm where Siim lives. To get better sleep, Siim uses blue light blockers that filter out blue light, emitted especially by artificial lighting and screens.
“I’ll start wearing my blue light blockers around 8 pm. At first I’ll use the lighter shades, the yellow ones that block out some of the blue light. An hour before bedtime, I’ll start using the dark ones, the red ones, that block out nearly all artificial light. I’ll wear them all the way until I go to bed.”
When the day draws to an end, Siim gets out his journal and jots down notes, and starts preparing for another productive day.
We’re all different but there’s still something that connects all of us. Are you looking to set up new habits to maximize your productivity? Here’s a list of routines you could try: