Portrait written on March 23rd 2018
Dan is coach, entrepreneur, speaker and author of three Amazon best-sellers on time management. His life hacks are in productivity and maintaining life’s balance. Dan is founder of 5AM Club, a community of people who wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning. “October 2nd 2009 was the first day I woke up at 5 a.m. as part of an experiment. So, from my own experience I realized what a fantastic resource early morning time can be,” says Dan. “Productivity for productivity’s sake does not exist. Productivity only exists to help you get what you want from life: to feel accomplished, to have more time for your hobbies, to keep your health, to spend more time with your family. So, productivity is a means, it is not the final purpose. It is important to take this into consideration!”
We asked Dan how can productivity be actually helpful: “productivity, simply put, is to do more, faster and with fewer resources. What I noticed is that you can indeed obtain more things with bigger efforts or consumption of resources, but at the expense of health, relationships or other important aspects. So, the optimal case is to be productive, while keeping your life in balance, not to be productive instead of being balanced. Productivity is a continuum. Productivity is not something that happens once you sit at your office and start working. Everything you have already done, from when you went to sleep, how you slept, how you hydrated yourself, what you have eaten, what sport you have made, how you got all doubts out of your head… and during the evening, how you returned home, how you managed to relax, how is your relationship with your family… everything matters! What you do before work counts, what you do during work counts and what you do afterwards counts. So, productivity, actually, never starts or ends because it is a continuum.”
Whenever he talks about what he does, it is easy to realize that Dan has a holistic approach to personal development and he does not limit himself only to waking up early in the morning: “more important than waking up at 5 a.m. is the principle of reserving the first hour or two of each day to yourself. The first step in creating any kind of change is to allocate dedicated time to that change. One option is to plan that time during evenings, but you are left with little energy, during evenings, because it has been depleted throughout the day. It is a landing energy which seeks to round things up for the day, not start new ones. However, change is about starting new things. So a better way to do all this, is to start in the morning, when we have take-off energy, when you enjoy starting new things more than just rounding them up.” Allocating time each morning for personal development has yet another benefit, according to Dan: “I call it enlightened selfishness. It is that kind of selfishness through which, you give to yourself first. And doing this actually increases your capacity to give to others. You do not give from an area of self-sacrifice, you do not diminish yourself or consider yourself less important, but you give from your surplus – you have so much, that you can offer a lot, very good, often and to many people. And this allows you to offer in a sustainable manner, on the long term. When you sacrifice yourself, what happens is that at one point it will end. This is also a very healthy way to educate our own children – taking care of ourselves before taking care of others. Children copy us, so if they see that we sacrifice ourselves and give from a place where we don’t have anything to give – even though it might be possible to have more – then they do the exact same thing and this unhealthy paradigm gets passed on from generation to generation. We are living in a reality which does not require this type of sacrifice, any more.”
Life hacking means change and very good management of change, so we have asked Dan what he thinks about this topic: “when implementing any new habit, apply the small steps technique. If you want to change a lot, fast, than this requires consuming a lot of will. Will is finite energy, so it will run out. And when you don’t have will anymore, you don’t get a new behavior. We have, inside us, a radar which looks for significant changes which we want to implement in our lives. Usually we have a homeostasis system, meaning a system which keeps us from producing change. So, any change produces a reaction. The same way in which we want to change something, there is a reaction which wants to stop that change due to fear of uncertainty. And in this case, what works best is flying under the radar of internal resistance, as I call it, and implementing small, incremental changes over longer periods of time (weeks). Thus, personal development is not perceived as an effort or as a dramatic change.”
Learn directly from Dan Luca during LifeHax #1, on March 23rd 2018, at Cinema PRO.