#8: My 8AM List [WOYG Podcast]

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How does Dre Baldwin start his day? What does he do, what time does he get up? Why? What led to this and what keeps it going? How can you use any of this for your own purposes? In this episode Dre shares his 8am List, of the activities he does daily before 8am (or relative time – he explains within) to get his day started with routine consistency (redundant? Oh well…)

[TRANSCRIPT] My 8AM List

Bulletproofing your mindset;

Marketing, branding and promoting yourself;

Making things happen instead of waiting for things to happen to you;

I am going to help you with all of these as I share “My 8:00AM list”.

A lot of people who are looking for productivity tips are asking me:

“How do you get more done in a day?

“What time do you wake up?”

“When do you do this?”

”When you do that?”

”How do you manage to get everything done?”

“What time do you go to sleep?”

These questions will not be answered; instead, I am going to go through my 8:00AM list.

My secret to productivity is my 8:00AM list; it’s a set of things that I do every day that I set out to finish before a certain time. I call it the “8:00AM list” because I usually get it done by 8:00AM; but if I get up at a later time, for example, if I wake up at noon after a late night or when I travel and I’m recovering from jet lag, I still go and do all of these same things – just at a later time. These are the things that make up the first 3 to 4 hours of my day – every day.

I believe that the things that you’re best at in life and get the most results from are all the things that you have a routine and are consistent with. These are the activities that you do every single day and would feel awkward about if you went an entire day without having done.

The things on my 8:00AM list are things that I do consistently — every single day. If I don’t get it done, then I don’t feel right. I will go over that list and guide you through what it is, what I’m doing, and how it works for me; and then, you can see how it can work for you.

***

The first thing that I do every morning when I wake up between 4:00AM and 4:30AM (EST) on a “normal day” is:

I spend the first 10 minutes of my day inspiring and motivating myself.

During this time, I’m looking at my goals, my daily auto suggestions, and my vision folder which is where I keep pictures or images of things that I like. This can include clips cut out from books, blog posts, highlights of something that I liked or tweets that were favorited by someone else.

I DO NOT check emails, look at sales reports, check text messages, see who called me, look at the sports scores from the previous night, check Twitter, check if I have any new followers on Snapchat or see how many likes I have on Instagram.

Instead, I spent the first few minutes of my day, looking at images that inspire and motivate me. I also read out my daily auto suggestions; these are suggestions that you make to yourself so that when you do it enough, your subconscious mind eventually accepts it and begins to act on it for you. Eventually, your life starts to become a reflection of those auto suggestions. So I read those suggestions out loud to myself every morning.

I call the first 10 – 20 minutes of my day, “My Meditation”.

Even though I don’t actually meditate on the floor, sitting cross-legged, Indian style with my eyes closed, my meditation is the time I spend where I’m conditioning my mind to be ready for the way that I want it to perform. I’m telling myself:

The type of person I’m going to be

Things that I’m going to do

Things that I’m going to have as a result of the way that I’m living on that particular day.

That’s how I start my day, every single day.

Then, I go for a workout.

I use the time in between my meditation and workout to power myself up for the morning; the only thing I put in my body are 2 bananas and a liter of water. That gives me the carbs, energy, sugar and the water that I need for the morning.

Whether I go to a gym in my building or one that I signed up for, I go straight to my workout; my workout can be lifting weights, playing basketball, running, riding a bike or doing cardio inside the gym.

When I get home from the gym, I shower and eat.

I rarely eat breakfast and since I get my meals delivered by My Health Rush, they usually send me 2 lunch meals and dinner, or a lunch meal and 2 dinners. They actually do offer breakfast as one of their meal choices, but I don’t prefer taking any breakfast foods and, instead, get regular food which is something that you would eat for lunch. Their meals are different every single day and you’ll see snaps of those meals if you follow my Snapchat. I also eat 4 – 5oz of either baby spinach or regular spinach every single morning.

Those are my morning meals. I heat up my meals for about 12 minutes in the toaster oven and, as my food is heating up, I usually do a basic 10 minute yoga routine. You can easily search a 5 or 10 minute yoga routine on Youtube. If you have 30 minutes for yoga, there are over thousands of routines that you can follow right from your device. There are also different videos made to work on special areas of the body. They have yoga for lower back pain, strength, relaxation or stress. You can go find the yoga routine that you need.

While I’m eating my food, I take that time to go through my social media platforms, check on my emails, catch up on sports. I look at tweets from the previous night, seeing how my post on Instagram is doing. Then, I look at my emails to see if there’s anything urgent that I need to immediately take a look at or I can just browse through and respond to them later in the afternoon.

During the basketball season, I look at the NBA game time app and watch the 2-3 minute video highlights because I usually go to bed before a lot of the games end.

Usually, while I’m traveling or after my workout in the morning, I do a live stream where I’m talking about whatever topic that happens to come across my mind; I post a few snaps on Snapchat, and post a couple of tweets after 8:00AM; sometimes, I use a tweet scheduler and I schedule a couple of tweets out. I get all of that done in the morning.

That’s my entire list of what I get done before 8:00AM every single day.

That’s my way of having a routine to get things done every day.

Anything that you’re good at in life, you probably have a routine for it. You are probably doing it all the time and you have great reasons and justifications for why you do it. These are the things where you can explain to somebody else exactly how you do it and where you will feel really weird if you went an entire day without doing it.

***

Why did I start this 8:00AM routine?

The No. 1 reason why I like to get up early in the morning is because I realized that most people wake up between 5:00AM and 7:00AM and I knew that if I was getting up then, I would be doing the same thing as everybody else — I didn’t want to do that; so, I said,

“I have to start getting up earlier than other people are getting up. Let’s make it 4:00AM.”

I did have a little period in between now and over the last 10 years where I wasn’t getting up there at that time but, once I decided to get my discipline back and get focused on being an entrepreneur, then I started taking more control of my time.

It started back in 2006, when I was living in Philadelphia at an apartment complex called Presidential City Apartments. Back then, I was working at a gym, The Philadelphia Sports Clubs in Society Hill at 5th & Spruce Street, and while I was working there, I knew that the gym had multiple locations in the city; one of their locations had an indoor basketball court, which was perfect for me because I wouldn’t have to spend money to have access to a basketball gym and I didn’t have to pay for a gym membership.

I worked in Society Hill, which is about 20 to 25 minutes South of where I lived, and the Philadelphia Sports Club that actually had the basketball gym was an hour North from me. Every morning, I woke up at 4:00AM and I would drive to the gym that had the basketball court and I would go in there and work on my game. This was before I started YouTube and before I owned a camera.

Working on my game meant that nobody was watching and nobody knew who I was. At this point, I had already played in three places: A traveling team in the USA, Lithuania, and Mexico. I was waiting on whatever my next basketball playing opportunity was going to be. It wasn’t until, almost a year and a half later, that I ended up going to play in Montenegro.

The reason why I wanted to go to the gym early in the morning was because it’s completely impossible to work out or practice alone on a basketball court after work hours, especially in Philadelphia. In the North, people go to the gym after work every single day, and that’s when the pickup games happen. If you want to play pickup basketball, that’s a perfect time to go. But if you wanted to go to work on your game and practice on your own, then you have to go during “off-peak hours” when nobody was there.

I had to go to the gym at 4:00AM because I had to be at work at Philadelphia Sports Club at 9:00AM. I am the type of person who likes to always get to places early — “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is to be forgotten”. I wanted to get to work at 8:30 and that meant that I had to leave the gym with the basketball court at 7:30AM. In order for me to leave the gym at 7:30, I had to get off the court, take a shower and put my business casual clothing on — it would take 15-30 minutes to do that which meant that I needed to get off of the basketball court itself by 7:00AM.

The gym opened at 5:30AM, and since it was a 45-60 minute drive just to get to that gym every single morning, I would have to leave my apartment at 4:30 to get there when it opened. For me to leave my apartment at 4:30, I had to get up at 4:00.

My morning went like this:

4:00 Got up in the morning

4:30 Ate my breakfast in the car while driving to the gym

5:30 Worked on my game

7:00 Took a shower and got dressed

7:30 Drove to my job at Philadelphia Sports Club.

8:30 I would work there until 5:00PM or 6:00PM

Then, I would drive up to Lansdale to go work out with my guy, Jay Jameson, who owned and ran a gym where we played leagues. On other days, I would go right back to Philadelphia Sports Club with the basketball gym to play in the leagues there. I was doing a ton of driving in 2006 or 2007.

I’m playing in a lot of leagues and working on my game a lot because I didn’t have a choice. I knew that I wanted to do something with my life other than work at that gym and sell gym memberships to get my commission. I knew my life and my worth was much bigger than that. But I knew that if I was going to do that, there was something that I needed to sacrifice during that time period to get there. I couldn’t sacrifice having a job because I needed it.

The only other thing I could trade in was sleep; so, I did.

 

I would get home around 10:00PM and get to sleep at around 11:00PM or 12:00MN because the body needs 3 – 4 hours to wind down from a workout to actually be able to sleep, rest, and relax. I would be getting to bed at that time and then waking up at 4:00AM. The universe demanded that rest was gotten so I was falling asleep at work. I’d be sitting in my desk where I’m supposed to be working but when it gets to those dog hours in the afternoon, I’d be falling asleep and dozing off.

My boss and the assistant manager would catch me dozing off. The assistant joked about it, but my boss did not find it funny and would get upset if I was falling asleep. I almost got fired once from my job.

One day, the area manager, Brian, was mad at me because we had an area meeting where all the sales people from all the clubs in the city had to come to a central location where we learn about new things going on with the company, such as new products and new promotions. They would supposedly “motivate” us or try to get us to do better and make more sales. Nobody wanted to go to the area meeting because our entire job was based on commission and while we were at that meeting and listening to them, we weren’t selling. Nobody wanted to be in that meeting.

The meeting was in a room with about 20 – 25 people. This included other salespeople and managers from all the clubs. There were not that many of us because there were only about 3 – 4 salespeople at each club and there are only about 4 – 6 clubs in total.

Brian caught me dozing off during the meeting. He didn’t say anything when I dozed off, but he pulled me aside when we had a break in the meeting, and said,

“Dre, I see you dozing off during the meeting. You can’t be dozing off during these meetings. These meetings are important.”

I try to explain myself, only to be told to “not let it happen again.”

We get back to the second half of the meeting. Sitting on a different seat, I doze off again.

This time, Brian stood up in the middle of the meeting while the person in front was still talking and he says, “Dre, get your stuff and come outside.”

Everybody in the room just stopped and looked at me while I get up and go outside. Everyone who worked at my location knew why I was being called out because I was notorious for falling asleep at work. My boss was in there and I knew that he was super embarrassed, because if his employee is falling asleep, that actually looks bad on him because this is a corporate company.

“Shit flows downhill”, is what they say in corporations.

If Brian got mad at me, that means that he’s also going to get mad at everybody in between me and him; including my boss, Gary.

Outside, Brian told me,

“Hey, I told you not to fall asleep in this meeting again. Listen, take your stuff and go home. Don’t go back to your club.”

The reason he told me not to go back to the club was because it would have been a bonus for me, because I would have made all the sales while everybody else was at the meeting.

“Don’t go back to the club, go home and I’ll have Gary reached out to you tomorrow and let you know what we’re going to do.”

The person who reported directly to Brian was Gary. The way Brian said that was cryptic enough to make me wonder,

“Am I going to lose my job between today and tomorrow?”

The whole time I’m walking to my car, I’m thinking to myself,

“What if I actually get fired from this job?”

“What if I don’t have this job anymore tomorrow? I wonder what is going to happen now.”

At that point, I was reconstructing my mind,

“Where else can I get a job?”

With my background as an athlete, I knew I could get a job because a lot of employers like to hire athletes, especially for a sales position, because many people have this preconception that athletes are disciplined, hard workers, and are competitive.

I just started thinking to myself,

“Where am I going to get a job once I get fired from this one since the area manager caught me falling asleep in the regional meeting twice in the same day?”

So, I got home, and I took a nap because I needed it. Gary called me after the area meeting but he wasn’t angry; he was more in a desperation mode when he said,

“Man, how are you going to fall asleep in the meeting?”

Brian had chewed him out because his employee, me, had fallen asleep. The next day, I come into work and nothing happened. I didn’t get fired. Brian had yelled at Gary, and Gary gave me a little bit of a talking-to. He said,

“Hey, you can’t be falling asleep at work. Is everything cool at home?

Do you need to get more sleep? What’s going on?”

I told Gary that I was going to the gym every day so I could work on my game because I was not trying to work there for the rest of my life.

About 3 years ago, I heard from Gary and found out that he’s still working for that company. He had moved onto a different position, but he was still working in the corporation, which I didn’t think he would be. I left Philadelphia to actually move to Miami and I told him about that and he said,

“Man, I envy you. I wish I could do something like that.”

I asked him, “Why don’t you do it?”

One of the things he said was,

“Because all the things that I love doing don’t make any money.

So, I’m stuck here in the corporate.”

That is my 8:00AM list

  • Why I started doing things early in the morning;
  • How I got into that discipline;
  • Exactly what I do.

The main takeaway from this is:

Try to come up with a consistent routine for how you tackle your day.

Try to be consistent with what time you wake up and what time you go to sleep.

Research has shown that you get better results with your energy and the way your body is timed when you wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day – not just Monday through Friday when you have work or school, but every day, including Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, I am unable to be consistent with my schedule on the weekends.

If you get up at 6:00AM Monday through Friday for work,

you should get up at 6:00AM on Saturday and Sunday.

However, a lot of us have been conditioned to get up early on a weekday, when there is school or work, but then sleep in on the weekends or holidays. We justify this by saying that the body needed to rest. This just means that you’re sleep deprived. If you sleep without an alarm clock and sleep until 10:00AM then that means that you’ve been depriving yourself all those days when you woke up at 6:00AM.

Those are the reasons why I started the 8AM list, that’s how I got into it, and those are the benefits that I got and continue to get from it.

2 Comments

  1. Have a consistent routine. Love the first thing, look at and immerse yourself in your goals, vision, purpose to start the day on a positive note. End it that way too. Getting yourself mentally and physically prepared for the day.

    Glad I’m going over the episodes in order, picking up tips all over the place. The first ones I’ve noticed are about getting yourself ready. Consistent routine, knowing your purpose. Then it builds on itself.

    Always packed full of value Dre.

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