Three Seemingly Crazy Changes

I’m constantly trying new things. Here are three I have rolling around in my mind, all three seemingly crazy. What do you think?

Isn't this a strange sculpture? It reminds me of my old sleep schedule.

Isn’t this a strange sculpture? It reminds me of my old sleep schedule.

1. Edit and Forget It

I met Dan Hayes at Michael Hyatt’s Platform Conference in Nashville. We already knew each other through Michael’s Platform University because we both built a home office from scratch. I converted my garage into My Sweet Home Office Suite, and he built a yard shed he calls his World Shed Quarters. We hit it off.

He and his wife, Vanessa, have been doing a podcast since December called Simple Life Together. They emphasize topics that encourage simplifying and de-cluttering. Their discussions are fun and practical, and I have even been listening to them with my family.

I’ve taken their 2013 Edit and Forget It Challenge. In 2013, be rid of 2,013 items that clutter up your life. I’ve been focusing majorly on paper, trying my hardest to convert to a paperless life, and I have been loving it. Wendy and I sorted books and brought a couple hundred to Good Will. Talk about liberating!

Here’s what I love about Dan and Vanessa: they emphasize the goal. The reason to get rid of things is not to demonize technology or rant and rave about silly conspiracy theories (as if my paperless asperations will somehow lower the temperature of the planet). They emphasize getting rid of stuff so that you can focus on what’s really important.

I need that. Wendy and I are getting so into our own Simple Life Together. We’re even planning to get a dumpster when we spring clean in May.

2. Low-carb Eating

I’ve never been a big fan of dieting, but I married the author of Love in a Diet. In my house, the topic is tough to avoid. I also work for Ken Davis, author of Fully Alive that explains his love for healthy eating. I think the two of them send messages to each other, plotting against me, strategizing how to get me on some weird, depriving diet.

There are all sorts of diets out there. I’ve tried vegetarian, non-dairy, calorie counting, fat free, soups/liquids, and probably some others that I have subconsciously blocked from memory. Never enjoyed any of them.

But now I’m trying low-carb, and I’m really enjoying it. At first I thought I’d hate it because I very much enjoy chips and breads. Luckily, I am a full-blooded carnivore, a hunter, and I love meat. I’ve been eating protein and loving it.

And I haven’t missed the carbs as much as I thought. I have noticed how bread fills me up and gets me down. I have found it kind of fun to order the bacon cheese burger “without the bun” when on the road. The meals are much more satisfying without being so filling.

I have to see where this diet goes, though. I lost 20 pounds in 2012, but gained back 10 over the New Year. Talk about frustrating. I’m determined to get back down to that 20 lost, but the low-carb diet hasn’t produced the results. I may need to look into it more to gain the full benefit of weight loss.

3. Everyman Sleep Schedule

My daughter Cynthia came up with this idea, but let her dad experiment on it. Sleep schedules build from the idea that the traditional 8-hours is from agriculture age and even the industrial age, but not basic human functionality. So, we sleep in that pattern because, well, because we always have.

Ultimately, sleeping 8 hours and staying awake 16 hours is clunky. Once Cynthia mentioned the idea of changing it up, I immediately liked it. I am a nap-taker anyway, but seldom consistent. I find myself tired often, never satisfied with the amount of sleep I get, whether too much or too little.

There are schedules called Polyphasic Sleep Schedules (see Wikipedia article), meaning you sleep more than twice in one 24-hour period. Biphasic Sleep is the idea of one good night sleep plus a nap sometime in the afternoon. Polyphasic paces it out to maximize your time when asleep.

There are a few different types of Polyphasic Sleep Schedules, the one I have tried out is the Everyman Sleep Schedule. My night’s sleep is from midnight to 3 a.m. I then take three 20-minute naps throughout my workday. Result: I get 4 hours of sleep in every 24 hour period.

That’s 28 hours a week of productive work time that I did not have before! I’ve found myself less tired and groggy, too. I’ve been trying this for the last two weeks and will be blogging about it once I reach my 21st day.

To tell you the truth, I was skeptical of the Polyphasic Sleep Schedules. I gave it a try because this is a very busy time for me right now. I probably would have forced myself to a 4-hour sleep schedule anyway and hated every day of it. So, why not? But now that I’m on it, I’m becoming a fan of it.

Never a boring moment. That’s the way to live! What do you think of these crazy things? What “crazy” things have you been up to? I’d love to hear from you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Chris- Such a great post! What an inspiration you guys are…so busy, but breaking down all the typical excuses and barriers to being “too busy” to make changes. We’re so glad you enjoy the show and find something helpful from it. We sure have a blast recording it. It has a been a blessing to me meeting you and getting to know you.

    Like you, we are doing the “low carb” thing. For me it’s more Paleo and for Vanessa it’s more Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb. I don’t eat many veggies, so I get that through juicing. Vanessa ate vegetarian for about 6 months but found that she was actually eating less healthy because she craved carbs and ate those too much! So, it’s low carb for us! Beside, I’m kind of addicted to my Big Green Egg and love to smoke, roast, and grill! So, I end up doing most of the entrees and Vanessa does te sides.

    As you go paperless and are ready to take it a step further, you may want to try using QR codes and Evernote together for some things. I may have linked to it in our show notes but I’ll include a link to a video explaining how I put QR codes, Evernote, and my iPhone to work for me:

    So “anyhooos” (as Vanessa would say), thanks so much for mentioning the show, and best of luck with all the changes you’re making. And for goodness sake, GET SOME SLEEP MAN!

    • Thanks Dan! We’re still investigating the low carb diet, and your juicing enthusiasm may settle with us. We’ll see…still experimenting all three of these things.

      But as for simplification, we’re sold. We’ve got way too much clutter around the house. We’re all over “edit and forget it”…I have a file folder of auto history ready to be edited and forgetted into the ScanSnap and Evernote. I heard your QR solution on one of your podcasts…wow, that’s hard core, man. But ingenious!

      When you’re in Colorado sometime, stop by. We’ll put some elk steaks on the grill for you. Keep up the great work, my friend!

  • Loved reading about your ideas. The de-cluttering and simplifying I whole heartedly agree with! I have also known many who have been very successful with the low carb diet. Now the sleep ideas are interesting (I have not heard of Polyphasic and Biphasic sleep), and make some sense as far as what I know about our REM cycles of sleep. However, I do think you need more sleep for good health and for losing those 10 pounds you said you gained back. I have been reading and saving sleep articles for the past year and recently read a book called “Sleepless in America” that all would agree that 4 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period is not enough. Our bodies need enough sleep for our organs and systems to rest, repair and rejuvenate. Many of us who are so incredibly busy sacrifice sleep because we see it as a waste of time that could be better used for getting things done. It is estimated that 70 million American infants, children, and teens are sleep deprived. Until we find the value in sleep, we will continue to get less than we need. Here are several strong reasons for an adult to get 8 hours of sleep:
    Repairs our body
    Enhances performance
    Increases joy & patience
    Allows for storage in long term memory
    Keeps us thinner
    Strengthens our immune system
    Increases marital satisfaction

    Well, what do you think? Do the values of sleep outweigh the need to have more time for getting things done? I know it is a challenge for me to consistently get 8 hours of sleep a night but because I have embraced the value of sleep, my goal is not to make less than 8 hours a pattern. I do find that I feel better and am much more patient and joyful as a result. Sounds like a good topic for a platform speech to me!

    • Great comments, Kelly. From what I have read, there are few studies (I haven’t found any, really) that prove the 8/16 schedule is necessarily better for you than any other. There are studies that show sleep is healthy, but the amount isn’t contested. There are studies on sleep depravation, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. There are studies that show biphasic benefits, but hardly any for or against polyphasic.

      If you find something that specifically cites 8 hours of sleep as beneficial, I’m all ears. Till then, I must assume it is merely assumption because that’s what we’ve grown to accept socially.

      • I’ve enjoyed reading and learning more about sleep over the last few days. The information I found on polyphasic sleep was not convincing however, the info on biphasic sleep was persuasive. I’ve always thought the Latin Americans were onto something with the idea of a regular afternoon siesta!

        Below, I have included some links on sleep studies that I found very helpful.

        It is interesting that a study done in 2002 showed ill effects on both people who got less than 4 hours of sleep and people who got more than 8 hours of sleep on a consistent basis.

        In general, there is a consensus that 6-8 hours of sleep a night shows very positive outcomes and that 4 hours or less has negative outcomes. So although 8 hours may not be the exact magic number, numbers close to that (6.5-7) show this quantity is more than just a social assumption. In addition, insufficient sleep has become a public health epidemic today.

        Age and health play a large role in how much sleep one needs and many outside environmental factors like light and dark, diet and computer exposure impact our ability to sleep. Every individual is unique and we do know that sleep is important!

        Please pay close attention to the section on sleep duration and health consequences in the link above.

        Thanks for the discussion and I do hope you can get a bit more sleep!

        • Wow! This is awesome Kelly. Thanks for digging into this. I should hire you to write Blue Book Briefs.

          I’ll take this into consideration as I experiment. I sure appreciate you getting into this.

          • I always enjoy reading your posts, Chris, and I so appreciate all that you do for the kids involved in speech and debate. You are making a big impact on many lives!

            • Thanks Kelly! Very kind of you to say so.

  • A few thoughts today Chris: 1) Holy Cow, We do the same crazy stuff!!!

    2) My Paperless Office –

    3) My Favorite Low Carb Meal –

    4) My Biphasic Sleep Schedule –

    I’m glad you’re dong all the above, I think you’re going to really enjoy them all. I’d love to get your input on them all as you go forward. Please keep us updated, I check your blog often.

    • Awesome articles, Jayson. Great minds think alike! 😉
      I’ll keep posting on these things.

  • Love this. Taking on some big changes myself. I am a long time supporter of Bill Phillips. He was the originator of Body for Life and now heads Common sense advice. Reminds me alot of the ideas in Wendy’s book Love on a Diet. You should check it out.
    I agree with you on the fact that I don’t think everyone needs exactly 8 hours. I have found that I feel better when I do 6-7 (uninterrupted, if that is possible,lol) than full 8. I know someone who did an experiment where they started at 6 hours and tried out how they felt throughout the day. They too figured out they they worked best on 6 hours. Everyone is different I think. Hope you and your family are doing well! Blessings! 🙂

    • Sounds like you’re experimenting, too. I can’t wait to post on this when I feel confident enough with it.