The Bench Theory- How To Get The Most Out of Each Day.

By- Tom Kubrak

“Take a breather. You need a rest. I can see you slowing down out there. Take a seat on the bench.” Has a coach ever said that to you? Or has a parent ever said to you “Calm down you crazy child. Take a time out.” Do you remember how you felt in that moment? 

Sometimes you and the coach are on the same page, but the one time when the coach benches you and you think you should be in the game still, well… it isn’t usually the best feeling. But at the end of the day the coach makes the calls. 

Too bad right? Well the coach wants you for the whole season and you might not understand it then, but the longer he keeps you in the game and as you get more tired, the higher the risk there is for injury.

Start thinking of your days like a sports game. You only have so much time during the game and so does your day. When the clock strikes zero the game or your day is over. There’s no such thing as a mandatory overtime.

So many people are out there saying, “If you want to make it out there you have to Hustle!” Which I agree with… in a sense. My definition of hustle differs from others though.

The Common definition of Hustle… Work, work, work. Stay up until 3 in the morning and wake up at 6 in the morning. Call people all day long and make as many sales as possible, no breaks, skip lunch… in translation- Forget about your personal health and wellbeing and work until you drop essentially

Is this sustainable for a long period of time? If you continue to do that to your body, your going to burnout. I do believe there are times when you need to stay up late, but if you do this over a few months or even a few years you will find yourself losing your drive and passion. The scariest part, you’ll start to lose yourself and the relationships you have with people.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of the United States of America, one of the worlds greatest inventors, one of the wealthiest people in America and the world during his time in the 1700s, and one of the most celebrated and well known names, did not work like this. 

“What do you mean?” You may ask, “Did Benjamin Franklin Hustle?” Yes, they probably didn’t call it that back then, but Benjamin Franklin did work hard, but in his auto-biography he outlines how he scheduled his day and how he stopped working at 5pm and made time to develop relationships in the business world and hang out with his family and friends. I encourage you to read his autobiography as I think you’ll benefit greatly from his ideals, stories, his own strategies, and how he “hustled.”

I fell asleep once, on a phone call with a really good friend that I hadn’t talked to in a long time, he was a talker so he didn’t recognize until I woke up after 15 minutes and asked what he had been talking about! I was so embarrassed and apologized continuously. Fortunately, he just laughed it off and we continued. After the call though I was really worried and asked myself, “How did I just fall asleep during a phone call?” I looked at my days over the past few months and prior to that call I had been consistently been going to bed at 2am and waking up at 6 or 7am for months. I needed a change…

The new definition of Hustle… During the time slots that you plan to work during the day WORK block out all distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. Make sure to take breaks, remember to replenish your body with plenty of water and 3-5 meals a day(breakfast, lunch dinner and snacks)food and water, develop new skills, make time for friends and family, at the end of the night relax, plan out your day, read a good book, and go to bed at a good time. Then wake up recharged and ready to take on the day.

Is this sustainable over a long period of time? Compare the two and you be the judge.

During the day it’s important to do your best and accomplish as much as you can because if you want to tackle the next day the best way you can, then you have to go to bed at a decent time. The metaphor for the bench is sleep/your bed. If you didn’t accomplish what you needed to during the day and the clock strikes zero(when you should be going to bed) then you need to bench yourself by going to bed at a good time. 

Yes, there are nights that you may be tempted to stay up because you got into a “workflow” but if you can master the idea of cutting your day off at a certain time you won’t have any days where you find yourself falling asleep at your desk or worse falling asleep at an important meeting with the executive team at your company. You will start to become more efficient during your days and accomplish more.

Everyone’s days are different and everyone has a different career with different time commitments, but it’s important to set up your day with time slots signifying exactly what you intend to accomplish. When you don’t know the structure of your day and what you intend to accomplish, people tend to fill those times with unproductive things and procrastinate by scrolling through online newsfeeds, netflix, or just eating anything in sight(currently something I’m working on). Check out my post about the “I Will Strategy” to help you get over your bad habit,  

Below I have my schedule for a day when I am able to fully concentrate on my business.’ When I’m working one of my part time jobs my schedule looks a little different. If you’re working a full time job Monday- Friday 9-5, I still encourage you to schedule what your doing in the morning, during your lunch break and in the evening(otherwise known as the 5-9pm. 

For example… my day looks something like this usually…

5am wake up

5-9am morning routine- go on a walk(get the blood flowing and your mindset right)pray, read for an hour, workout for 30 minutes, shower and breakfast

9-12 work(break for 5-10minutes if needed in the middle)

12-2pm- lunch, review, skill building, meet with a friend

2-5pm work

5-6 read, connect with people(around town or online

6-7 work

7-9 dinner(with a friend if possible), phone calls to family friends, 

9-11pm(evening routine, do your best to stay away from tv and phone, review the day, plan out the next day, glass of wine, a decaf tea/cocktail, book(I like to read fantasy books before I go to bed to settle my mind and allow myself to dream and imagine all the possibilities out there).

Be patient. The results you desire will come soon enough. But in the meantime, so you can make it to the end, take a seat on the bench.
“If a player isn’t doing the things he should, put him on the bench. He’ll come around.” -John Wooden

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