I promised that I’d check in halfway through my Hell Week experience. Today is Thursday, which means it is the day where I don’t get to sleep! That’s right, by the time I next go to bed, 41 hours will have passed with me staying awake! But more on that later.
Today I want to discuss the actual rules of Hell Week and how I’m finding them. Let’s get into it.
The rules of Hell Week are written right on the back of the book. You can see them before you even buy it in stores or on Amazon. They are simple and straightforward, and when taken on their own, they don’t look too difficult. But when you think about it – doing every single one of them EVERY SINGLE DAY for a week, it can feel really daunting. Since I began, I’ll tell you straight that the single hardest thing for me has been the very first rule!
We’ve all heard the adage, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And the even simpler, “The early bird gets the worm.” So it’s no surprise that Erik Bertrand Larssen‘s first rule of Hell Week is to revamp your sleep.
Rule One: Early to bed, early to rise
For me, sleep is ever elusive. While I go to bed at a decent hour, I don’t get a lot of sleep, so I count on being able to sleep in a little later each morning. My husband gets up with the kids, feeds and dresses them and then takes the baby to daycare while the older two quietly play in their rooms. But that is not allowed during Hell Week! Instead, it is in bed at 9 pm with a book (NOT a phone or tablet) and asleep by 10 pm. The day begins at 5 AM! No matter whether I have had any sleep or not, I am jumping out of bed sometimes before the sun!
This sleep deficit is actually a benefit to me. I’m actually more tired at night now, which makes it easier to fall asleep! Obviously it’s only day 4 (and I won’t be sleeping tonight!) but I am not struggling to sleep quite so much.
Rule Two: Look your absolute best at all times.
Okay, this one isn’t quite as hard. After all, being up at 5 am, I have extra time to get ready! So I’ve actually made more of an effort with my appearance. I stopped wearing yoga pants everywhere, and I’ve been in full on hair and makeup each day.
I have even gone so far as to get full on manicure and pedicure to make myself feel good and drive forward my enthusiasm for each day. After all, looking good makes us feel good. And I know that when it comes to making a living, people respect you more when you are well groomed and take care of yourself!
Rule Three: Exercise to the Extreme
Did you know that I can run for seven minutes before I feel like I’m going to die? Yah, I didn’t know either until I pushed past the two minute mark where I usually give up and kept running. I’ve made exercise my first priority each day, ensuring that I reach my 10,000 step goal before noon so that I can feel that huge sense of accomplishment that sees me through the rest of the day. And while I could get those steps done by walking gently, I have taken Erik’s advice and pushed myself to improve my physical (and by extension mental) fitness.
Rule Four: Stick to a Healthy Diet
On Sunday, before I began my Hell Week, I took the family to the Farmer’s Market. We stocked up on fresh, organic produce and lean meats, and that’s what I’ve been sticking to this week. Erik suggests eating five small meals a day rather than three big ones. No junk food, no soft drinks, no sweets, and definitely no alcohol. It’s not a big sacrifice for me, honestly, and I don’t eat much junk food. However, when you suddenly tell me I can’t have them, I find myself craving them!! Still, I have had no real problem following this rule to a T.
Rule Five: Take Charge of Your Digital Life
This is Hard with a capital H! Erik allows that many jobs entail using social media at work, but unless it is pivotal to your job role, you are not allowed to have access to unnecessary information streams. No facebook or twitter, for instance. For me, since my entire livelihood is online and entails using Facebook, Twitter and every other social media stream available, it has been a nightmare. But I’ve definitely cut back this week, giving myself just 30 minutes a day to be online and show my stuff.
Rule Six: Get hyperfocused
This is another tricky one for me. This rule is all about being in the moment. If you’re at work, you give 100% of your concentration and effort to work. But as soon as you walk through the door at the end of the day, you make yourself 100% focused on your home life. I don’t work a traditional 9 to 5 job, though. There is no set cutoff time where I can say, “Okay, I’m done with work, it’s family time.” Similarly, since I work from home with three young kids, I can’t 100% focus on my work since I am a mom first.
My workaround here has been a bit of trial and error. I’ve actually switched my days around a bit so that I work in the evenings instead of during the day. That way I can give my kids and home 100% attention until my husband gets home. Then, I spend a few hours in the evening working, knowing that my other half is taking care of the kids and I can totally concentrate. The last hour or so is spent chatting with my husband so that we have some quality time together.
Rule Seven: Step up your game
Of all the rules, I love this one the most. This one is so broad that it will mean something different to each person. This is the one that reminds you that Hell Week is a test of your will. You have to be in it 100% and take charge of every situation. This is the one that forces you to ask yourself, “Could I do more right now?” And it is the one who makes you answer, “Yes, I can!”
Stepping up your game means going that extra mile to be your own agent of change. It isn’t easy – none of this is easy. But by pushing yourself to do 100% in all things, you realize just how amazing you really are.
So there you have it. My mid-week check in. I seriously think you should go and buy yourself a copy of this book and see for yourself the amazing results you can get in just a few short days. I’ll be back to update again with closing thoughts at the end of this journey.