Striving in Chaos: My Daily Routine

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  • “I bring the joy. I’m always trying to bring joy into any situation or any experience. It’s a dominant mental frame for me. It’s not just a mindset, it’s a dominant mental frame. Everything is seen through, ‘How can I add joy or summon joy in this experience?’”
  • If you’re looking for a routine to bring you stability in chaotic times, these 14 tips will help you ground yourself in your daily rhythm!
  • “I always reach out to five people every single day to stay connected in the world, especially when I’m locked at home. It’s hugely important.”
  • Having a routine that grounds you and keeps you moving forward is so important, especially during times of uncertainty like now. If you need tips on maintaining momentum, this episode is for you.
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How I’m Thinking Through This Crisis
Reclaim Your Life’s Agenda
When You Feel Horrible (Tired, Bored, Sad)
How to Deal with Stressful Situations
Optimize Your Health and Productivity




[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

Hey my friends, it’s Brendon. Welcome to a special episode of The Brendon Show. In this episode, I am starting a new series I’m calling Striving in Chaos. I know that we all desperately want our lives to continue moving forward even though some of us are locked down, but some of us are locked down but we’re still fired up. We still want to lead and serve and contribute and do our art and make our difference and run our businesses and be great to our family and our friends and those that we love. And yet, that’s even more challenging than ever because of all of the uncertainty and all of the fear and all of these unknowns that drive all this endless speculation and you logging in 500 times a day with your phone just to check on the news or social media or what’s going on. I know that can be all very distressing, overwhelming—creating stress and anxiety.

So this series on The Brendon Show Podcast is where I’ll be posting ideas, strategies, hopefully inspiration that will keep you going, that will keep you centered and strong even amid this storm. It will help you find and access greater confidence and focus and clarity even when it’s difficult. Because right now, we’re all making grand choices about how we show up in the world and listen, we can’t judge how anyone ever copes but we can always recognize healthy habits. We can’t judge whether or not someone wants to spend all day on Netflix, but we can gauge whether that person becomes happy over time. We can’t say “Hey, you shouldn’t be so down,” to anybody but the truth is, we’ve all felt it and we’ve all been discouraged and so we have to be compassionate.

And my question is ultimately how do we cope, but also progress? Because you can do both. And so often, we think these are binary, like either you’re coping or you’re getting stuff done. And I’m like well no, that’s not how it really works. Coping can be incredibly active, that we can deal with trauma, grief, sadness, anxiety, fear, and we can still be happy and productive and centered and good to our siblings and kids and those that we lead and serve. True?

And so I’m going to hold you at a high level of standard in this series because what you don’t need from me is placating. You don’t need me to be just the encourager. “Hey, we’ll all be fine! We’ll all get through and it’s okay that you’re so down and it’s okay—” all the “it’s okay” messaging. A, I believe it but B, I believe it’s out there enough for you. What I don’t believe is out there is a message that has an edge, that has demand on each of us to still lead and show up. Because I believe in the months, and certainly a year from now, we will look back to this time and either we will be proud of how we showed up for our families and those that we led and that we served or that we will think, “Gosh, what was wrong with me? Why didn’t I try or why didn’t I adjust or learn or experiment? And why didn’t I get my mojo faster?”

Listen, everybody has been knocked down, locked up, sent home, everybody’s had that experience of being very displaced from what we know to be our comforts or our regular routines. And when that happens, we must grasp and build healthy routines, no matter whether we’re at home or we’re at work or whether we got the job or we don’t have the job. It still rests upon each of us to be disciplined in how we show up and thoughtful. And I am the person who’s not going to say, “Hey, it’s okay if you want to spend the next eight weeks just watching television.” That’s not me. I’m not going to—hey listen, if you blew off a weekend because you were overwhelmed, maybe I can understand that and maybe I’m like, “Okay cool,” but on week by week by week by week, if it carries on weeks and months, then I’m the person to say, “Hey, that’s a mental health issue. Please seek therapy. Please seek professional guidance. And if therapy or professional guidance and this way or that way isn’t for you, then let me be your coach to demand something higher from you as well.”

Because I believe the most important thing right now that we can all do is the hardest thing. And that is to adopt the role model mindset. The mindset that says, “You know what? I’m going to be a role model through this so A, I can be proud. When I look back, I say, ‘You know what, I was a role model then, I really showed up when it was tough.’ And B, because the kids are watching, because the community is watching, because the world is watching us right now and how we show up right now man it matters more than ever.”

So I’m going to be that guy who’s going to demand a high standard from you. And if that’s not your vibe, pause, quit, bail, don’t listen. I’m okay with that, but for those who are here willing to say, “You know what? Yeah, let me summon some strength and willpower and fire right now because if we don’t do it now, when will we do it? If we all stop striving when it gets difficult or scary or uncertain, what does that say about our real values and our real capabilities? “

I say we march on. I say we continue on. I say we adapt and we develop new strengths, we skill up. We’ve got to do whatever we’ve got to do. But we recognize that the first major domino to major life change is to say, “I expect something from myself again. I expect something from myself again. I demand something from myself again. Let me challenge myself, let me learn, let me skill up, let me grow, but this is my time, I’m going to shift into a different gear, I’m going to face these things, I’m going to gauge these things, I’m going to own these things, I’m going to work through these things.”

That big domino in our life that falls is that role model mindset that when we decide to be a role model, we summon something different from ourselves, we get stronger, we care about how we treat people. Role models are kind, they are compassionate, they are thoughtful, they are collaborative, they are helping people through this crisis when everyone else wants to go home, hole up, hide, distract themselves in show after show after show, not consider themselves, not consider their lives, and not be disciplined enough to get better and stronger right now when it really matters. Because if you don’t get better and stronger right now, when it really matters, then months from now you’ll be so behind the curve and so incapable of dealing with the new world that you’ll be left behind. And no one likes when I say that and I understand, it’s not popular but again, I’m not here to be popular.

I’m here to demand something from you because I believe in you. I’m here to demand something from you because I know you. If you’ve been in my community, on my YouTube show, here on The Brendon Show Podcast, you know deeply in my heart, I believe in your capability of transforming your life, of changing your life, of improving other people’s lives. I believe in your capability to live fully, to love openly, to make a difference. I believe in your willingness to try and get up over and over and over again when you have so many reasons to quit, especially right now.

So I thought I would begin this very first episode with that reminder to adopt the role model mindset, to expect something from yourself and to recognize a year from now you will be proud of how you engaged this moment of crisis because that really showed your character, your strength, your willpower and your desire to serve others.

Now I’m going to start this first episode. Forgive me, I’m going to do a little bit of reading and a little bit of references of what I have here because I want to answer the question I’ve gotten asked the most and that question is, “Brendon, what are your routines right now to stay healthy, to stay sane, to stay productive when it’s so easy not to be?” And here’s the truth, right now, I am just deploying with greater discipline the same exact habits that have made me successful over the last two decades of my life. And when I say successful, I don’t mean “look at me”—I mean I’ve been happy, I’ve been engaged, I’ve been creative, I’ve been productive, I love my family and my wife, the people around me. I’ve lived the best life possible that I can live by following some very simple basics. I want to tell you about them.

I want to tell you about my entire daily routine for the first time really ever at this comprehensive level, and I hope this helps you in whatever way craft your own because right now, when the world has gone into uncertainty, you need to have a rock solid routine about who you are and how you show up. Here’s how I do it:

1. Morning Routine

I wake up in the morning, I lie in bed and meditate for five minutes. I do the Release Meditation Technique which is where I close my eyes, I repeat the word ‘release’ to myself several times for about five minutes: just release, release, release. It’s my mantra just to release any tension in my mind or in my body and kind of just zone, just find a place of release and freedom at the beginning of the day. It’s just for five minutes. Then I get up, I immediately drink 20 full ounces of water, I refill that thing and I’m going to drink that next 20 ounces of water in the next half hour easily.

What I do after is I immediately hit the floor and I do anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes of mobility work on my body or yoga or calisthenics stretching. Basically, I’m just opening up my body. I’m just stretching out and being very mindful of my breath for 10 or 20 minutes as I’m moving on the floor doing some vinyasa flows in yoga to open up my body, open up my radiance, just get woken up to my body. Then, I spend 20 minutes reading. And for me, I read either spiritual texts, psychology texts, self-improvement texts or philosophy texts. Those are the main things I read in terms of books. It’s almost always spirituality, philosophy, psychology or some type of self-help, self-improvement. For 20 minutes minimum, I just sit and I read.

Then I get up, and for 20 minutes I plan with my High Performance Planner, which I know most of you guys have, or I hope you do. The reason I do that for 20 minutes is because there are 10 prompts in the morning section to help me anticipate my day and create a strong mindset and create a healthy way to look at the day. I ask myself questions like, “One thing I can get excited about today is? If one word would describe the person I need to be today it would be? Somebody who needs me today to show up is? A situation that might stress me out or trip me up could be this situation today and the way I’ll deal with it is? Somebody I could surprise with a note of appreciation, a gift, a gratitude, something beautiful is?” I’ll talk about one action I could do today to demonstrate some excellence. I’ll talk about a bold action I could take and I’ll think about the big projects I have in mind. Then I’ll fill out my goals, I’ll figure out the tasks that must happen today, I’ll detail the people I need to reach out to this day and then I’ll look at whatever I need to do that day. I’ll maybe have my planner or my calendar from my phone or my computer and I’ll write it down, always write it down, and I’ll look at what are the major tasks and activities through the hours of the day.

People are always like, “That takes you 20 minutes?” I’m like, no honestly, filling out my planner might take five to seven minutes in the morning but then what I do is I look at each of those things and I ask myself, “How could I do that thing with excellence?”

For example, today I knew I was going to film this for you and I said, okay, right before I’m going to make sure I move my body, I’m going to get my mind ready, I’m going to be alert and really serve with gratitude and with fire for people. When most people want to be placated, I’m going to challenge people. And what I do is I visualize the whole day, every meeting, every conversation, just walk it through what would make that successful and excellent and be of value, and I just think about that. So it’s like a visualization basically for 20 minutes. I’m planning the day, I’m visualizing the day, those are huge.

Then what else? I work my mission every day.

I’m aware of what my mission is and what are the major things that I need to do to move that mission forward.

Again, I’ve detailed that in my planner and those are the things that I do.

2. Block Time

People always say, “How do you work, Brendon?” I practice what we’ve taught the whole world now. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “block time,” that was something that we really pioneered, at least at a scientific level. It means I work in 50-minute blocks of time. At the end of that 50 minutes, once my butt hits the chair, I set an alarm on my phone for 50 minutes. At the end of that 50 minutes, alarm goes off, I stand up and I do this thing called release tension, set intention.

What that means is after 50 minutes, I get up, I just close my eyes and release tension from my body. I’ll close my eyes to release tension from eye strain, I’ll stand in place, I’ll kind of bounce in place taking 10 deep breaths standing up. I might do some body movements or Qigong or yoga. I’ll drink an entire glass of water again. And then when I come back to my work station, I’ll set my intentions. What is my intention for the next 50 minutes? What must be done in the next 50 minutes? So I get clarity on the next 50 minutes of time. And that is game changing for me.

People ask, “Okay what else do you do in the mornings?” I will tend to take a walk in the morning if I feel I need to do that. No matter what, I take two walks every single day, either morning or afternoon and then one at night, preferably after dinner to just settle myself down. It’s good to just move my body around, get outside in the dark and just feel that evening come on me so that I’m ready for bed.

3. Eat to Nourish

People ask about meals all the time or supplements. My meals are:

Every morning, I have a shake. What goes in that shake is usually 25 to 30 grams of plant-based protein. Then I put in avocado, chia seeds, blueberries, spinach or kale, almond butter, and coconut milk.

And then I take two of my Optimized supplements. I hope you guys all have that, Optimized is a supplement for mental focus and energy. It’s what gives me a creative edge, it helps me focus for hours at a time without the jitters you can get from caffeine. So I take two with my morning shake and I take two with my afternoon lunch. And you can get Optimized; it’s called HPX Optimized.

Lunch for me is usually late. At around two or three o’clock, I get a plate of greens and protein. So it’s usually just like some spinach or kale or some leftover roasted vegetables that my wife has made and then it’s usually like fish or chicken and then sometimes if it’s crazy I’ll have a sandwich with some kind of plant-based protein in it.

Dinner for me is usually around seven or eight o’clock. It’s always some veggies, most often fish that my wife loves to make, some butternut squash or some quinoa or sweet potato or something like that, very basic simple meals. My cheat meals are like a steak sandwich, something usually with bread. My wife, Denise, makes this amazing cauliflower crust pizza.

4. Reach Out to Friends

What else do I do during the day? I text five people a voice text every single day. I pick up my phone and I send them a voice message and all it is is encouraging them, showing appreciation, showing gratitude.

I always reach out to five people every single day to stay connected in the world, especially when I’m locked at home, that’s hugely important.

5. Maintain Workout Routine

People often ask me about my workouts. I do five workouts per week. Usually, they’re all the same format, they’re five to 10 minutes of active cardio, then maybe about two to five minutes of stretching. Then, I usually do three sets of some kind of heavy lifting that’s more complex. I might do some squat thrusters, pushups, lunges, and abs. That’s four exercises. And I’ll do three sets of those. Pretty much until exhaustion each time. And that’s basically it. If I don’t feel like working out super hard, I might go for a walk, I might go for a bike ride, or a swim five times per week. In my book, High Performance Habits, the world’s largest study of high performers, they were 40% more likely to work out five times per week. I was probably at three or four, so I stepped it up.

6. Meditate Daily

I meditate once per day—a full 20-minute session, usually for me about 4:30 in the afternoon. I’ll do a 20-minute full Release Meditation Technique, again, just closing my eyes. I’ll usually lay down for that meditation. Lay down, close my eyes, repeat the word “release” over and over and over. I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes. Half the time I fall asleep and have a nice little nap as part of that, which re-energizes me for a productive evening.

7. Say “No” Often

Other practices? I say “no” to pretty much everything. I’m always saying “no.” When you’re first starting your career to get any momentum, “yes” is really good. When you develop rhythm, when you develop an understanding of what you need to be prolific at, when you understand your mission, then everything else that doesn’t align with that becomes a no. So I say “no” a ton. That helped me.

I keep a very tight circle of friends. So I’m not, “Can we hop on a phone, can we do this or that?” Nope, it’s like, I’ve got my friends, I’ve got my mission, I’ve got my family and my industry peers, I don’t go outside of that too often.

8. Stay Educated

Let’s see, if Denise isn’t around for lunch or my family’s not around, what I will often do for lunch is usually greens and some kind of meat or plant protein and then what I’ll do is I’ll watch a TED Talk or I’ll watch an online course or I’ll watch a Master Class or I will watch, if I need some inspiration, those “Best Of” American Idol scenes where somebody comes out, you don’t expect anything of them and they soar and I get all emotional and I cry into my sandwich. It’s beautiful.

9. Limit Social Media & News Intake

This is a real key one. I drastically limit my social media and news consumption. And when I say drastically, I mean I only do it twice per day and only 15 minutes each time. That’s it. I only spend 30 minutes on news and social media per day in terms of consuming it. Obviously, I create for you guys but I mean like consuming it, that’s it. And usually, what I do is, I’ll look once in the morning after my first major 50-minute block of time. I might look at that point. So I’ve already worked, I’ve got up, I’ve moved, I’ve read, I’ve planned, I’ve worked for 50 minutes or an hour, got something really good done and then I’ll just check in to social media, my voicemail, my text, or the news and I limit it. I set a timer, 15 minutes, that’s it.

Then at night, I’ll do the same thing. Usually for me, just before dinner I’ll look again for 15 minutes. And then it’s dinner and the rest of the night, I’m out. I don’t look at it. And people are like, “What about people asking about emergencies and stuff like that?” I’m like, “I’ve trained people to realize I’m not their emergency provider. Don’t go to me.” It’s like, “What about family texts and stuff?” They’re cool if I text them tomorrow. If someone urgently needs to get ahold of me, I’ll hear it from Denise or I’ll see it on my phone, usually maybe an hour before bed. I’ll check just for texts or voice messages, but not social media or news. So again, social media and news, limited to two 15-minute blocks each day, that keeps me sane.

10. 3, 2, 1 Sleep Routine

For sleep, what do I do? I practice the 3, 2, 1 sleep routine. I’ve taught you all. 3, 2, 1, sleep—what is that? Well, it means that three hours before bed, I do not eat anything. Two hours before bed, I do not work. One hour before bed, I have no screen time, no social media, no television. And that helps me wind down at night. I set my room temperature in our bedroom at 67 to 68 degrees. So it’s chillier, which helps a lot. And before I get into bed, I do another round of stretches and I also lay on the floor for a bit so my back can kind of realign after a long day. And then I crawl into bed and none of your business after that.

11. Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones

Everyone asks how Denise and I stay healthy and happy and in love, well every 90 days, we disappear from the world for four to seven days together. So basically every quarter, we go away for four to seven days together. Sometimes, twice per year, we’ll take a longer vacation. That’s really important. It keeps us fresh. I told you I take two walks per day. Denise is almost always on those walks with me. So we take a ton of walking together.

12. Set Attainable Work Goals

What do I do every single day for work? I do a couple things. One, I create four new pieces of content every day for 14 years. So all those quotes you see from me on Facebook or on Instagram, that’s me. I write four new quotes every single day. Sometimes you might see a recycled quote that I might post because it’s relevant or my team might post but I still create four new quotes every day. Why? Because I’m a writer and writers need to be writing. So maybe I’m not writing a whole book but I’ll write a thoughtful quote and post every single day.

I also, during the course of the week, will also create a video like this for my YouTube channel and I’ll post a longer format similar to this on YouTube, I think that’s important.

13. Spend Time with Great People

What else do I do? Well, I just surround myself with awesome people. Iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen friends, team sharpens team. So I keep high performers around me. So I only hire high performers. I hire great people to be around me, to support me, so I can do my mission and my work and I would say that number one, two and three things I do that bring happiness and fulfillment and striving to my life is one, I adopt the role model mindset. I demand a lot from myself.

Two, I bring the joy. I’m always trying to bring joy into any situation or any experience I’m doing, and it’s a dominant mental frame for me. It’s not just a mindset, it’s a dominant mental frame. It’s like everything is seen through, “How can I add joy or summon joy in this experience?”

Number three, I honor the struggle. When it’s difficult, when it’s hard, I meet that with honor. I face it, I recognize it, I try to be strong or courageous through it or just respectful of the fact that God or the universe put this in front of me, so let me accept it, let me face it, let me allow it, let me trust and have faith that whatever the struggle or difficulty is, it was meant to make me better, it was meant to happen at this time in my life, even if I’ll never understand exactly what that is.

14. Reflect on the Day

When I go to bed at night, right before I go to bed, I ask three questions. “Did I live today? Did I love today? Did I matter today?” And the truth is, it’s not always “yes” to those and I go okay, “I’ll do better tomorrow.” So I don’t get hard on myself, I’m not mean to myself, I just go, “Could’ve done better.” And the next day I go about it with that intention to live, love and matter and that’s been my life for almost 25 years. It’s crazy. So that’s kind of what I’m thinking about.

And I just want to give you guys a good sense of—a jolt of goodness today, as I call it. So I’m going to ask you, let’s all keep that role model mindset, let’s keep a positive attitude, let’s serve as role models through what’s going to be a wild and crazy year. Let’s all be thankful for those who are on the front lines, who are supplying us, who are taking care of us in the hospitals, who are still out there working amidst this crazy pandemic. Let’s be really thoughtful and grateful and compassionate in caring for those who are caring for us. Let’s also make sure that we are consuming things that are positive and empowering right now versus divisive and controversial or something that is like in any way a conspiracy theory stuff. You know what, no, let’s face the day, let’s be positive, let’s be self-reliant, let’s take care of each other, let’s serve each other because you know what? It’s going to be a long haul. This is going to be a long struggle, a long, difficult time, and so let’s each of us decide how we are going to show up in this.

I hope by sharing my routine, it helps you understand a little bit about myself. I know there’s more in there, not exactly how much time I spend with family or Denise or something like that, but those things might change during the day of where family is and what’s going on. But those things I shared today, those are my rock solid. Those have been a part of my life, those have served me for so long that I hope it helps you, inspires you a little bit. I’m going to be here for you in this new series called Striving in Chaos. I hope you will listen to every single episode. They will be on The Brendon Show Podcast. So please make sure you subscribe to The Brendon Show Podcast. It’s available at Spotify, it’s available on iTunes, it’s available on Google Play, it’s available on Stitcher—anywhere you listen to your podcasts. That’s where you want to be with The Brendon Show Podcast for this new series Striving in Chaos.

I’m going to be here with you through this time, through this uncertainty, to help you develop strength, to help you find your center and to help you lead and serve as role models. I hope this message found you well. I’m wishing you and your family safety, security, strength, optimism, wellness and health through these times. I’ll talk to you soon. Love you guys.