So you can spend $10,000,000 a day for the next 40-years and still have change left over — how would you spend your mornings?
How about waking up early after 8-hours of sleep, doing some reading (newspapers included) and then having breakfast with you kids before your first meeting no earlier than 10 o’clock?
Well, that’s exactly what you would do if you were Amazon Founder & CEO Jeff Bezos.
‘I like to putter in the mornings, it’s important to me.’
You’d think being in control of a 500,000+ people company, mornings would be a little more hectic.
Alright. Alright. So what can we learn from the $147 Billion USD (at time of writing) man?
‘I get 8-hours of sleep, I prioritise it.’
This one might seem surprising. Sleep deprivation has been worn as a badge of honour in the past.
We’ve all heard that person say they can function off less than ideal sleep.
They may be right too. Functioning, sure, but how well?
‘I need 8-hours of sleep, I think better, I have more energy, my mood is better.’
Sure, there will be times when ideal sleep isn’t a possibility, with things like timezone changes and deadlines. But for the majority of cases, best to take on your biggest challenges well rested.
‘I like to have breakfast with my kids before taking them to school.’
Bezos doesn’t mention what he eats of a morning but after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, you can probably guess what kind of meal it is.
If you’re going to eat in the morning, especially if it’s with your kids, start the day off right with some quality food. And if you don’t know where to start, remind yourself of the company Amazon recently bought. You don’t have to shop there but eating whole foods (fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts) is your best option.
If you’ve heard Bezos speak in the past, you’ve probably heard of his regret minimisation framework.
If not, its another of saying, choose your actions by imagining yourself 20-years in the future with no regrets about the past.
Back to the breakfast quote.
‘I like to have breakfast with my kids before they go to school.’
Can you imagine a 20-year future Bezos saying to himself, ‘I wish I spent more time responding to those emails instead having breakfast with my kids so often.’
Of course, I’m using an extreme example. But that’s where the most value is.
Create your own regret minimisation framework and stick to it. Your future self will thank you.
‘None of the people who report to me should really be focused on the current quarter.’
Bezos continues on discussing how Wall Street loves the results of the current quarter, ‘those results actually came from the preparation done years ago.’
‘Right now, I’m working on a quarter that’s going to reveal itself in 2021 sometime.’
Amazon are focused on the future.
They’re in the business of putting themselves out of business. Why? Because if they don’t someone else will.
The best step you took this year isn’t your most important. It’s your next. Where do you want to be 2-3 years from now? Work towards that.
‘I like to do my high-IQ meetings before lunch,’ Bezos says, ‘anything that’s going to be really intellectually challenging, that’s a 10 o’clock meeting.’
If you wake up close to sunrise, your brain is most active a couple of hours after. And brain activity slowly tapers off towards the end of the day.
So it makes sense when Jeff says, ‘By 5 o’clock, I’m like, “I can’t think about that today.”’
If you have a list of things to do for the day. Do the hardest one first.
What would Bezos do?
It’s clear much of Bezos’ effort is directed towards making better decisions.
‘If I make 3 good decisions a day, that’s enough.’
Of course, there will be times when more is inevitable, like when you’re in startup mode and your company of 4 employees is trying to grow.
But ideally, the shift should be towards less.
Less but better.
Bezos is setting an example we can all learn from. Looking after his health, spending time with family and attempting to build a brighter future.
So the next time someone tells you to sacrifice sleep or your health to work more, remember to ask yourself, ‘what would Bezos do?’
PS you can watch the video that inspired this article here.