In this post, we’ll be taking a look at something called the 20/20/20 formula.
How I came across the 20/20/20 Formula:
It was about a year ago, and I was on a hunt.
I did this every once in a while – visit my favorite local bookstore and hunt for the next great thriller to devour on my sleepless nights.
After about an hour – of pacing up and down the thriller aisle, picking and flipping through books, putting them back down, and then picking them up again to sniff the pages as if that did anything to help in the decision-making – I finally decided on two paperbacks that looked exciting.
I brought the books over to the counter. The cashier took my debit card and while she was processing it, something to my left caught my attention.
Well of course, it was a book. (It’s a bookstore. What’d you expect?)
Maybe it was the angle at which I chanced upon it. Or was it the way the bright lights fell on the clean white cover, making it seem angelic?
Something about it stood out, like diamond in a field of sand.
But it wasn’t like I was going to buy it. No, I had already spent too much, as always. I came here for one paperback and now I was going home with two plus a Stephen King hardcover. So yes, I was just looking at it. Nothing serious.
I picked the book up, and across the cover was elegantly sprawled in brownish-orange:
Own your morning, elevate your life.
I flipped through the first few pages, didn’t know what to make of it. The cashier was already waiting for me to put in the PIN, and a few customers were lining up behind me in a queue.
I had to make my mind up. And fast.
I was a proud night owl at the time. In my world the 8 am sun was like a unicorn – I never saw it. But like all proud night owls, there was a little part inside of me that secretly craved the early hours of the day when birds sang merrily and the sky was a cool, refreshing blue.
How nice would it be to be able to sit out on the porch every day, watching the sun rise between the mountains? I would drink out of my favorite Mickey Mouse coffee mug, play my guitar, breathe in the fresh air of dawn…
I swallowed hard.
Without thinking further I handed the book to the cashier and told her to include it in the list.
The cashier strained a smile and pressed some buttons, and I went home with three blood-curdling psychological thrillers, an empty wallet, and a book called THE 5 AM CLUB.
The rest is history.
The 20/20/20 Formula:
The 20/20/20 Formula is a morning routine designed (and backed by science) to help you kick-start your day the right way. It is a takeaway tip from the book, THE 5 AM CLUB.
The author Robin Sharma has sold more than 15 million books worldwide, and is considered one of the world’s top leadership and personal optimization advisors.
The formula comes in three 20-minute pockets within a span of 60 minutes – the first hour after waking up. The author calls it “The Victory Hour”.
Robin suggests waking up at 5 am for maximum results. However, if that’s too far off from your lifestyle, you can tweak the timelines to suit your needs.
Now let’s get technical.
How the 20/20/20 Formula works:
1. 5:00 am to 5:20 am (The First Pocket) – MOVE
You must begin your day with intense exercise. As per Robin, this is non-negotiable. Otherwise, the formula won’t work. He also says he’ll take back your membership in the 5am Club if you don’t follow this rule. (Yikes!)
When the alarm clock goes off, it usually wakes us up. But how many of us actually stay awake?
Most of us wake up just to hit the snooze button, and then we slip directly back into sleep. Even if we do try to stay awake, maybe by sitting up on the bed or a chair, often times it’s not enough.
The eyelids get heavier every passing second, then comes the yawning, then the crawling back underneath the blankets to re-enter dreamworld.
Why does this happen? It’s because in the first few minutes after waking up, your body is not yet fully awake.
That’s why we need to MOVE first thing in the morning, shortly after the alarm goes off.
Moving vigorously shortly after you get up will generate an alchemy in your brain which will wake you up fully. It will eliminate the intense grogginess that usually lures you back to bed.
Now it doesn’t matter how you exercise. You could go for a run if that’s your thing. You could jump rope, take a spinning class, do your grown-man version of Gangnam Style for 20 minutes while the neighbors watch – it doesn’t matter. Just remember this, though:
Make sure you sweat.
Exercising first thing in the morning will significantly lower your cortisol – the hormone of fear. Scientific data confirms that cortisol levels are highest in the morning, so you want to get those under control right away.
Sweating from a powerful workout also releases BDNF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor – which has been shown to repair damaged brain cells and accelerate the formation of neural connections. It simply helps you think better and process faster.
Now who wouldn’t want to get themselves some BDNF? If only it came in 2-dollar-packets at the grocery store, right?
No. Just exercise!
Exercising also releases dopamine and serotonin – both popularly known as the “feel-good hormones.”
So that’s it!
By 5:20 am, while your competitors are still snoring in their beds counting sheep, you’ve already primed your body for peak performance, ready to achieve excellent results.
2. 5:20 am to 5:40 am (The Second Pocket) – REFLECT
“In so many ways, reflection is a main source of transformation because once you know better, you definitely can do better. During this twenty-minute segment of the Victory Hour, all you need to do is get serene, stay silent and enter the stillness. What a gift you’ll give yourself in this era of such scattered attention, worry and noisiness.“Robin Sharma, the 5AM CLUB
The second pocket of the 20/20/20 Formula requires you to REFLECT for 20 minutes, after you’re done with your exercise.
You might be wondering: But how exactly should we “reflect”?
Although there are no strict rules, Robin suggests what he calls a Pre-Performance Blueprint. This is simply a written statement of your ideal day ahead.
Researchers confirm that pre-commitment strategies increase your focus and discipline to get things done.
“Of course, nothing in business and life is perfect. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to pursue it.“ROBIN SHARMA, THE 5 AM CLUB
So take at least a few minutes to write out your perfect day. Think about all the things that would make that day perfect, and just write them down.
Aside from this, Robin also suggests the practice of journaling for at least a few minutes as well. The key is to just write and not think too much. The grammar police are not going to come and get you. So just write!
Write down your goals and ambitions. What’s good in your life right now? What are you grateful for?
But don’t write only the positive elements but also those aspects in your life that are causing discomfort and pain.
“Difficult feelings that you don’t find a healthy way to remove become repressed, which creates stress, poor productivity and even disease. Most of us have so much fear, pain, anger and sorrow built up over our real selves, we have no sense of the opportunities that sit right in front of us. All that dark energy blinds us from seeing them and blocks our access to our primal genius.“ROBIN SHARMA, THE 5AM CLUB
You can also do other peaceful and mind-clearing activities like praying or meditating within this 20-minute period.
Again, nothing’s written in stone as to what exactly you should be doing. What matters is the end result, which for this pocket is clarity of the mind.
This pocket is especially important in this era where our lives are overly saturated by digital stimulation. Most of the time, we spend our days in this trance-like autopilot state. It is quite rare that we actually stop to think about and really assess what we’re doing in our lives and where we’re going.
So write down your ideal day for a few minutes in the morning. Then use a journal to pen down all your thoughts, both good and bad. Also meditate, pray, or do whatever makes you feel calm and at peace.
You could do all of these for a few minutes each in the 20-minute pocket. Or you could pick just one or two of these if you think that suits you better.
Twenty minutes of REFLECTION at the start of each day to flush out negative thoughts and prepare the mind for the day – that is what this second pocket is all about.
3. 5:40 am to 6:00 am (The Final Pocket) – GROW
“”The final segment of The Victory Hour, is when you deepen your base of knowledge, increase your acumen, improve your expertise and outlearn your experience.“ROBIN SHARMA, THE 5AM CLUB
In this final pocket, we work on becoming more valuable, to our industry as well as to society.
That means the final 20-minutes of the 20/20/20 Formula should be devoted to learning.
The author mentions that one of the traits all his billionaire friends have in common is that they absolutely love to learn. Well, no surprises there, right?
But again, you might be wondering: Then how exactly should we “learn”?
Robin’s suggestion is simple:
Read a book.
“Study the lives of the greatest men and women of the past by consuming their autobiographies. Learn about the latest advancements in psychology. Devour works on innovation and communication, productivity and leadership, prosperity and history. And watch documentaries on how the best do what they do – and grew into who they are.“ROBIN SHARMA, THE 5AM CLUB
You can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your topic of interest. Go with whichever mode you feel most comfortable with. The key point here is that you bring yourself to learn something that increases your value.
So there you have it!
The 20/20/20 Formula – a morning routine designed to help you kick-start your day the right way.
The author suggests we follow this routine for at least 5 days a week to get real results.
So two days off, that’s not so bad…
All we have to do is try to keep this up for 66 days – the number of days required to form a habit as per research . After that, it’ll become a lot easier to get up early.
So what do you think about the 20/20/20 formula? Will you give it a try?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Buy the book on Amazon:
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