#78 AM + PM Bookends

How to Create Masterpiece Days: Start Here!

In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy makes the important point that we have more control over the very beginnings of our day and the very ends of our days than we do over the middle of the days.

He calls those “Bookends.”

If we want to create a template for a Masterpiece Day, we’d be wise to start with those bookends!


What would your optimal AM bookend look like?

How about your PM bookend?

Think about it. If you could wave a wand (within the constraints of reality), what would you create?

Some tips:

Start with your PM. If you want to wake up early (without an alarm?) feeling supercharged and ready to rock, craft your PM bookend beautifully. Make it a work of art.

That’s what I try to do. I’m so committed to getting up as early as I can so I can crank before the family gets up that I’ve made a sport out of seeing how early I can go to bed. (Hah! Seriously. 😃)

In the process, I’ve decided that a lot of things just aren’t that important to me. I don’t watch TV (ever) or use my computer or phone at night (pretty much ever).

I go to bed. (lol)

I know that my morning basically starts the night before right when the sun goes down. I finish my day around 5 with a Cal Newport-inspired ceremonial “Shut-down complete!” The computer leaves the desk and is stored in the closet for tomorrow. The smartphone is turned off.

Sun goes down, all electronics go down. I call that my “digital sunset.” It’s a simple yet phenomenally powerful way to let my brain cool down as I transition into family time and get ready for a great night of sleep.

Then, it’s time with the fam. Regular night-time rituals. And, bam. I’m in bed shortly after reading my son his bedtime story.


Up before dawn feeling great and ready to rock.

It’s pretty much always (!) the same. 20-minutes of meditation. 5 minutes of simple yoga/stretching. Super quick journaling on vision. Then Deep Work. All before the Wi-Fi goes on and I check in for a little Team Work before I bust out for a quick trail workout while the family’s still in bed.

My days are deliberately extreme. I like that.

And I love Gustave Flaubert’s gem: “Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

In any case, you’ll have your own wonderfully idiosyncratic style.

Today’s +1 practical reflections: What’s your Masterpiece Day look like? How can you use the power of bookends to Optimize just a little more today?


What’s ONE thing you’ve been wanting to implement? Today a good day to begin?!

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