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(VIDEO) The Power of Routines: How They Can Transform Your Life with Jan Mühlfeit and Lisa Christen

If routines sound boring, you’ve been lied to! Routines are the ticket to thriving at work (and in life). Those who are doing routine right will swear by this gamechanger – go ask any athlete.

So why don’t most of us in the business world follow routines?

Because we’ve been encouraged to follow other people’s routines. Look at how Steve Jobs started his morning!

But what works for them may or may not work for you.

Instead, during this live event we’ll be discussing how you can learn to set up your own personalized best routines.

Join retired Chairman of Microsoft Europe / Olympic mental coach Jan Mühlfeit and top-rated CEO / Executive Coach Lisa Christen as they share their experiences with top athletes, executives, and entrepreneurs in setting up the right routines to make you feel happier, healthier, and more successful

For the full transcript:

Jan Muhlfeit 00:02
So ladies and gentlemen, good evening, good evening. We have a very interesting team routines. Laser is currently in Dubai. So if you hear some, you know, background noise a bit, so she is in the in the hotel and there is like three hours more. It’s just like 11. Right?

Lisa Christen 00:25
It’s 11 o’clock. So, you know, we have to keep the conversation going, keep myself awake, we will. And but don’t worry, I’m relaxed. I’m having a great time here in Dubai, and I’m here for five weeks. So we took a whole family vacation, my husband came over kids came over. So we’re having a blast here.

Jan Muhlfeit 00:44
If you can put in the comment lines, I can see you guys on my phone on LinkedIn. If you can put in the comment line that you can hear us both people on YouTube and on LinkedIn, that will be great. And then we can start okay. Because it’s taking some time for streaming to connect, because unfortunately, LinkedIn does not have native Broadcasting Service. So you need to use third party we are using streaming out. It’s always taking a little you know, with time, so if you can put in the in the comments that you can hear us and see us that will be good.

Lisa Christen 01:29
While we’re waiting, I have to say the number of people Oh, yeah. Okay, good. Yeah. So we’ve got everyone joining. And I just want to say the number of people who messaged me commented on LinkedIn says what a topic, this is so important, this has been life changing. We’re so glad that other people have discovered the power of routines as well, because it is literally life changing. And so we’re really happy to talk about it here today. We’ll also love to hear about your routines and you know, chat with us throughout, let us know,

Jan Muhlfeit 02:02
exactly, oh, maybe Lisa, you can kick off the theme, if you know some notes. And then we will ask for the q&a. And we can discuss also about your routines and you know, all the stuff. Yeah,

Lisa Christen 02:16
Absolutely. So I have to start off by saying I’m one of those people that hates routines. So I’m not the kind of person who’s saying, oh, you know, follow routines, and I love it to do lists. And I check it off, and my closets, you know, color coded, I am not that person. I’m much more of a creative type. I love to be free thinking free flowing spontaneous. Now Switzerland has taught me a few things about how to stay organized and on time. But by nature, I don’t love routines. And I had my first sort of aha moment with routines when I had children because guess what kids need the most routine. But that was the routine then. And I was like, yeah, it’s better to keep a routine because the kids don’t get tired and Bubba. But But I felt a little bit stuck. I didn’t feel enthusiastic about these routines. What I discovered and this is what I think is so important, what I want to actually discuss more with you Jan, and everyone who’s joining us here today. What I discovered is I love my creative freedom. I love to be innovative, I love to think of new ideas. And what I found out, especially after reading originals by Adam Grant, where he talks about how to be more creative and more innovative. What I discovered is when you have a base that’s really set you this part of your brain doesn’t have to constantly be using extra efforts to think through small things. Right? What time should I wake up in the morning? What should I do for my workout? What time should I eat? What should I eat for breakfast, where’s all that energy, you’re wasting on these things that could easily be a routine. So when I said oh my gosh, I want to be more creative, I want to have more fun, I want to learn new things, I want to go have adventures, the only way that my brain can handle it at that capacity is by setting routines. And I set a bunch of different routines, morning routines, night routines, work routines, workout routines, all of it as much as possible as automated, so that I have the freedom to go do all the other stuff I love and I will certainly share more about that later. But I would love to hear your thoughts on what do you think about the power of routines.

Jan Muhlfeit 04:26
and I will move couple of 1000 years, you know, I go when Aristotle and Aristotle said, you know, we are what we do are a glory. That’s the power of the routine and why mine he was not obviously neuroscientists because at that time, the computing power was not as strong as as of today. But what we know today that our brain is pattern recognition machine. Our brains actually likes very much certain that our brain likes brain Pretty much the things which we can you know repeat because you you have like your mental power for the day It’s finite. And imagine if you would spend time on some stupid thing how to handle your toothbrush for example every time we would need to think hey, how should I do it you know right now while you do once you take your toothbrush, the program routine in your brain into long term memory, it’s like release Hey, this is what I need to do. So the routines are very good because our brain likes predictability once you do some you know routines you have good amount of the time for creative work to be curious and stuff like that. In fact, I as you know, I quote some finest athletes in the world and some of them they are packing the bags you know in the same way for 20 years the same way to the tobacco sector a one you know right stuff like that. It’s made me sounds very stupid, but this is it. This is how you can say your mental power that’s number one. Number two, if we like finishing our routines you know dopamine is released and dopamine is reward hormone and you feel good like hey this is done you know I can check it out and I can you know continue it is a good time in fact now we have you know Olympic Games and obviously people asking me what kind of advice are you giving you know, athletes for the you know, the day the you know, top day when you compete and I’m always saying it’s all about the routines and plan of the day because your brain likes predictability, that’s number one. And number two, it’s like start your day with some activities you like very much so then endorphins are released and you are ready for the good day you know, once you start your day your you know competing day in a good in a good way chances are it’s going to be good day if you will start like negatively you know it’s gone basically right. So, what I’m saying I think if you want to be good in whatever activities, routines are key and routines are you know say wake us some you know mental power or some more important tasks is number one and routine is helping us to make the better cocktail in your brain okay good tell you tell you one thing okay. Whatever is your you know performance, it can be physical performance, it can be mental performance, your way you know or for you perform it’s like your brain is bringing you the experience through the senses okay. And then if you are 100% concentrated if you are here and now okay you have a good you know routines to keep you in the present moment, then your brain is reacting in the proper way. So, you are basically bringing the right picture if you will, from your long term memory whatever is there from you know, your experience and then you pair it with the reality and your brain will budget you know, sugar water sub whatever is necessary because each and every movement and each every thought to some energy, okay? And those you know, those routines can help you to be here and now because it should be alright and you are used to do it your amygdala the emotional part of the brain may leave you on your own This is the reason why Rafa Nadal is fifth the like, between the balls is doing like okay, then it’s like taking his shorts, you know, up. And that is like drinking the water between the games, you know, in some, you know, a particular way. This is not stupid. This is the way which is like he How is anchored into the back into the present moment because he needs to be concentrated all the time. And he’s you know, playing but that’s why those routines even in the sport. So that’s kind of the kickoff from my side.

Lisa Christen 09:23
Yeah. And what I love about what you’re saying is the routines people are very familiar with sports, people having routines and business people having routines, but actually all of us have a routine in one way or another, but we might call it something else. We might call it a habit, we might call it rituals. I’ve been doing a lot with my daughters around religion and trying to explain when we’re saying a certain prayer in a certain way when we you know, celebrate a holiday in a certain way is that we celebrate Christmas, right? That’s a routine that we have every year December 25. We you know, roasted turkey and that’s what we have And I think it’s really important for people to not feel a routine somehow takes away from what they have. I love what you said about the present moment, because young you and I often talk about how to get into the flow state, right? How do we get to the state where something is, you know, interesting, fun, exciting, but not so hard. So new, so crazy that we’re in stress mode, right? We want the right amount of stress and that it’s interesting. Having routines can then help us to be present, be focused, and then also to find ways to get into our flow states. And that’s where fun curiosity experimentation come from. Now, for me, I like I said, hate, hate hate routines. And so that’s why we came, I came to Dubai, I did not tell many of you, I haven’t announced it necessarily publicly yet. But actually, my husband and I, my daughters, we took after 10 weeks to be away, we’re going to do five weeks in Dubai and five weeks in New York. And that was exactly because I felt that we were stuck in Groundhog Day from COVID-19. For two years, it was more or less the same, the same, the same, the same. So we want routines to help give us a platform where we don’t have to waste energy, where we don’t have to, you know, spend extra time on things that aren’t important. But we need to almost have those routines, so we can break them. And that’s where we can get new creative inputs, new creativity, new ideas, new experiences, and new ways of thinking. But I always say you have to know the rules, you have to know the routines in order to know when you and what you want to break.

Jan Muhlfeit 11:52
No, absolutely. I absolutely agree with you. And the question is, obviously, when human beings, you know, are introducing new routines, okay, well, I guess the routine is about change. I mean, it’s funny, because it’s a bit contradictory, what you’re saying now, but your brain likes very much routines, because your brain likes predictability, hey, this is the way to save, you know, the energy, right? But if you want to do some, if you want to introduce routine, it’s about change, and your brain hates change in all right? So it’s a bit controversial now, why we are able to absorb this to change, there are two things you will change something, you know, if there is a pain, or it is a pleasure, and the best way is to combine pain and pleasure, okay? You may say, Okay, if I will not, you know, introduce this routine, now, it’s okay. But it will be very, you know, painful routine can be like sport every morning, you know, some exercise, whatever, I, you will be overweight, your energy will go down, whatever. So, you may say, Okay, if I will not introduce it, there’ll be a lot of pain, if I will, I will have you know, much more energy than it does the pleasure, right. And if you look into the history, how best leaders are motivating, you know, people to follow them, it’s always combination of pain and pleasure, saying, hey, if we will stay where we are, we can survive some time. But it will be very painful to change, we can, you know, move now. So there’ll be it will be painful the way but it’ll be a lot of pleasure, you know, at the end of the day, you know, right and, and this is it because, you know, leadership is not about your business. Leadership is about how many followers you know, will follow you because it clear, right? And, and this is it and is the same like you know, because we have our own routines, but then there are you know, routines in our work, okay? And there are like, you know, one routine one routine, for example, because I was teaching the class for the Charles University today, right, there was a seminar on unlocking human potential and how to work with the energies and one routine I recommended and because they are teaching their lectures, their professors, teaching, you know, students, right, I know that it is a very difficult, you know, when you teach online, okay, three, four hours a day, it’s very difficult, and it’s energy consuming. So one routine would be like after, you know, 45 minutes, one hour, maybe one and a half hour, let’s go outside and look around the horizon, you know, right, take you know, it’s a good for your eyes, and it keeps your amygdala you know, down basically right. So it can be one routine, which you did not do in the past before call it because they did this. I mean, before the COVID even me I was like hey in IT in software industry, whatever. I was doing some video conferences at that time, stuff like that, but not that often now, it was like, four or five, sometimes eight hours a day really. And it takes a very different, you know, concentration, as opposed if you are like lecturing in the room, you know, right. So it gave me one, you know, one routine. One example of your routine. Now, if you want to change something, you will not be able to create a routine immediately, it is about small steps, like step by step. Because your brain works like, okay, hey, I would like to change this, you know, right? That’s fine. You need to have this big hairy goal, if you will, in your brain, but then you need to create a process basically the plan, like if, if, for example, your routine would be okay, I would like to be or your, your goal would be I would like to be able to run marathon, right? I know that you you want to run marathons. Right? So then obviously, you cannot run marathon immediately, maybe you will start with like five kilometers, one kilometer run, it’s got Indian, you know, running one kilometer, run one kilometer walk. And step by step at every time you know, every week, you will add a bit right? Once you are finishing those, you know, process goals or steps, if you will. Dopamine again, dopamine is released and dopamine will say they’ll tell you hey, it’s good. You know, and I reward you. So you feel good. But the farmer will give you energy to continue in that activity. So yeah. Okay, go ahead. Yeah

Lisa Christen 16:48
Well I just want to add in here, because what you’re saying is so important, because we haven’t, you’re touching on what is the motivation to have a routine and to have a habit. And this is the most important thing that you’re saying, we need the reward center in our brains to light up, you cannot or you should not like willpower, your way through a routine all the time. Some days, you’re going to wake up, you’re not going to feel like wanting to do your workout. Doesn’t matter. Go do it anyway, unless you’re hurt. But like us go do it. Right. So but you have to always want to choose your routine. And so part of being able to set up a great routine is figuring out the real motivation. Everyone knows Oh, eat healthy, oh, I have a routine to eat healthy, okay, but, but like, I’m a female throughout my life, I’ve gone on diets, right? I go through a phase where I try to eat healthy, and I eat a bunch of stuff, like carrots and broccoli. And then at some point, I get sick of it. And then I want to go eat junk food again, and I fall off my diet, right? And everyone says, ah, it has to be a sustainable lifestyle. We will we all know that. But what’s the motivation? And here Jan even said it so well. If you’re truly motivated, then it doesn’t feel like a willpower. It’s not like every time I go out to a restaurant, I’m like, Oh, I really want that burger. But I guess I have to eat that salad. I’ve found so much pleasure and pain in the rewards that I get from eating vegetables now that I’m like, my god, I want vegetables. Why aren’t there vegetables on the menu. So it doesn’t feel forced to be in the routine. It’s a routine that I want that I’m motivated to have chosen that feels right for me.

Jan Muhlfeit 18:31
Exactly. By the way, my friend you know, my dear friend, Renee booty there, he works in Microsoft and is a very interesting, you know, person. And he put the link why we need to have a rest basically why we need to have a breaks. Guys, if you if you look into the history, our predecessors, they were like hunting, having arrest on thing cameras. We are like hunting, hunting, hunting, and there is a burnout or maybe exactly, whatever. So you need to basically the way the best athletes are working, they spend the energy and then there is a recovery and then they spend more energy there is a more you know, recovery. But recovery is so important. And unfortunately, we in the business very often overlook that recovery is so important, because your energy is finite. And that’s why it’s important to plan because if you talk about your routines, routines will save you energy. That’s absolutely because it’s like a routine you don’t need to think but you still need to have you know, good breaks and you need to have a recovery. I mean, you can have even like recovery routines or one of the routine can be like okay, like every week, Saturday or Sunday I may get the massage or my I may you know visit physio if I do some sport, stuff like that, or or you know twice, three times a week, I will have a really, you know, very healthy dinner, okay? Whatever. But and those once those routines are introduced, you will, you know, repeat them and your brain will, you know, used to use it and it’s absolutely fine. On the other hand, or what do we know now, there are some routines which are not very healthy David thinker by looking at it, look at a YouTube David Sinclair now is a Canadian professor. And he’s probably one of the best if not the best in longevity, okay. And his new research shows that, you know, sugar, in fact, is not very healthy for you know, your life, okay? I mean, if you take a sugar from the fruits, that’s fine. It also depends, if you are like top athlete, you need to have a sugar. But if you are like sitting, you know, all the day and maybe you walk a little bit, whatever, you don’t need to have, like, you know, tons of the chocolates or whatever, you know, right? So refined sugar, especially, it’s not good. Now, what he what he figured out in neuroscience that more sugar you have, your amygdala is more active, which means that sugar is drinking, you know, more neurotic and more, you know, stress, it is a little bit contradictory because you may hear, okay, if you if you have a good chocolate, you know, endorphins are released and depends, you know, right needs to be the right amount. Okay? If it’s like dark chocolate, it’s probably fine. But we are like, each and every person is different. But our like eating routines and habits are very important. Now I will touch something that’s very often I’m hearing like, but how everybody knows I ate three hours before you know, sleep, we should not eat because otherwise our you know, organism is not in a good shape. How can I you know, do it? I’m like eating all the time. So what if you if you try to introduce new routine in your life, what is what is helping to basically connected with some existing routine you like already give you one example. I’m like eating 636 45 latest, sometimes if I have a dinner with somebody outside, that’s a difference. And then I’m like, you know, I’m taking my electronic, you know, toothbrush, and I’m making my routine because I love it. I love this, you know routine. And after seven o’clock, there’s like no food whatsoever. I just have some you know, drink so you can connect and because I like really to use that electronic, you know, toothbrush, right? So it’s connected to the activity I like but for me, it’s like mental jingo, hey, this is it is an old way. You know, obviously, sometimes maybe once a month, I break the rule, okay? I’m a human being, but it’s helping a lot, you know, right. So you can you can, you know, create all of that in a different way. But it’s a very, you can do another thing. A lot of people admire me, Hey, I know you are 60 and you are still running or you don’t know the golden whatever. You know, how can you like get up in the morning and do it? Because I’m like, ready? I prepare everything all you know, close and everything. So there’s no excuse from amygdala Hey, you should not go there whatever. Today we were we were supposed to go with runner for nobody walking. But it was so huge wind basically right in the in I don’t know how was it in your prices, guys, but in check specially in Prague. There was a huge it was like 120 kilometers, you know, when really terrible, you know, so we did, we didn’t do you know, Nordic walking, but I was still on my bike on my stationary bike for one hour.

Lisa Christen 23:55
Yeah. Well, yeah, here’s the thing that I think is so great. It’s like, especially with routines that are hard to get into. Right, exactly. I follow the 100% rule, which is I don’t, I don’t do it 99% of the time. Because even if you say every once in a while I’ll take a break. I love you I love by the way that you don’t eat food in the evening. Same for me. I have a rule after dinner, no eating after that. But if you follow it 99% more for like sports or doing your fitness or wherever. Then every time you wake up in the morning, I’m kind of tired. I have a big meeting. Do I feel like going in? Do I not it makes it so much harder. If it’s 100% the alarm goes off, you get up you do it. It’s done. No need to think about it. No need to put any effort into it. And what that does is it removes any of this amygdala having power it removes any emotion and the drain. You just do it. I think that’s where Nike got

Jan Muhlfeit 24:59
this One good and interesting comment from Edward Edward BUZZA is our friend is here very often, routine routines influence up to the 50% of our final decisions, which I tend to agree absolutely, this is dangerous side and prevents evidence based sync thinking it is true, you know, but I may look at it from a different angle. If I do some, you know, routines, I don’t need to think about those routines. So I have more Process Time to make you know those decisions or to have more logic or you say evidence based thinking but this is absolutely true, because it’s the same you know, routines are good, but you need to be very careful, it should not be like think like routinely right? Because routines, there are very good thing with routines, there are some dangerous with routines, routines can kill curiosity. Right, Curiosity is very important for our creativity, because curious people are asking a lot of new questions basically, can we do it differently if you do things like hey, this is the routine routine routine or this is the rule right? So, you need to be careful what can you do routines and still keep you know yourself curious, right? To for example, you can you know, read some new articles about new subjects, whatever, you can run every time in a different you know, different way with with routines, it can be it can be very similar at work, like with emotions, because sometimes we are making decisions which are totally based on our emotions, not at all in our logic, because very often amygdala does, you know, emotional hijack. Okay, give me one example. Okay. Today, Sparta, Prague is playing the match in the, in the continental League, okay. And that, you know, one of the player, I’m like, coaching him, Thomas Visionnaire. He’s not playing because he was, you know, basically kicked out during the last match because of the fall. He was, the other guy was provoking him. And he, you know, he decided, hey, I really no, push him back. Right, I will push back immediately. So there was an emotional decision to push back. The judge didn’t see the other guy he saw, you know, he’s not enemies. And that was good out of the game. Okay, and how was he sitting on the bench? Right? If he would say, Okay, I would rather like you know, breathe in, breathe out. So I think more logically, I will take more logical decision, logical decision would be, you should not like retaliate. If you retaliate. I mean, you are, you run into deep shit, right? So this is it. And I think more and more, because we have a shorter and shorter time, for our decisions, more and more, there’s a danger that emotions are, you know, influencing those decisions. And obviously, routines, because there is always like, there are pros and cons. So you need to think twice. Hey, is my thinking like, open? You know, enough? Right? For for that, you know, decision? Absolutely. Absolutely. Right.

Lisa Christen 28:14
And what I want to add here is Edward, first of all, I always love and appreciate your comments. This reminds me a lot of Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast and Slow. And I think do we want to make a distinction here is the way our brain has cognitive biases, meaning we have two systems, one that just thinks fast, and sort of an automatic process, and one that slows down and asks questions. Are we going to call routines this automatic process? Or and this is up for debate here? Are we looking at routines as something that we’ve consciously established? And then I would say, we’ve actually then thought about it, we’ve done the slowing down, we’ve picked what we want the routine to be. And I wonder if it’s really a routine or a bias that’s going to be changing how our thinking is or how our decisions are made? And if there’s a difference, I don’t know, I think this is a really interesting point. I’ve personally never thought about the distinction between the two.

Jan Muhlfeit 29:19
This is interesting and and some of the biases, it can be programs from the childhood, you know, created by our parents, and by are bringing up right and there is a there is a great test, I will put it into the comments. There is a there’s a choppa Danielle Arman, okay? And he’s a psychiatric nurse in the United States. And he got like 40,000 brain scans. And when he’s like talking to the patient, he’s looking at the brain scan and talking to the patient and he created some tests. It’s called Know your dragons. He figured out that there is up to the 13 programs which are dangerous, which can be in your subconsciousness. from your childhood created by the parents, I’ll put that you can do that that’s for free. Basically, it’s called Know your dragons. Okay. And and that will reveal what can be really something it can be, you know, your bias or it can be absolutely the wrong, you know, program. Right. And it’s good to go through that as exciting views, everybody. Absolutely. This is this is interesting what you said, I never thought about, like, you know, routine and bias. It’s really interesting.

Lisa Christen 30:44
Yeah, we’ll have to have a whole

Jan Muhlfeit 30:45
new session on that one. Because if you have, if you have a bias, I think amygdala is playing, you know, active role, they’re probably, right. Because there’s something there’s something which is called negative bias that our brain is looking for the negative things, because amygdala is you know, faster than our cortex and logical part of the brain, right? But here we are talking about a bias like, hey, if I will, if there is a some, you know, tennis match, so if I will have white socks, I will always win. Okay, so only my socks, white socks are good, you know, for me, and I have a bias for

Lisa Christen 31:26
wearing white socks.

Jan Muhlfeit 31:29
Right? So um, guys, I’m putting it in the death test I’m putting in in the comment line. Okay,

Lisa Christen 31:36
yes. As we’re talking about the difference between biases and routines, it is true that your brain can get stuck in a routine. This is what I was saying that I think is so important for all of us is to know which part of our lives do we want to put on automatic? Which ones? Which parts do we want to put on routine? And where do we want to spice things up? Right? I don’t know about all of you. But I have maybe 234 breakfasts that I eat. And that’s kind of it right? Unless it’s a weekend, but during the week, it’s it’s really not a large variety. It’s been the same way for many years. Although now I’m doing intermittent fasting, wish me luck. No more breakfast, soup breakfast. But that’s the kind of thing where I said, I want to automate that that’s easier for my brain. Right? I think the biases that we don’t we want to be careful of is when our brains are automating what’s normal, what’s the way things should work? How do we get you know, news echo chambers, where we hear the same news over and over. So we only think down one certain path. For me the best way to break out and learn how to stop letting those old habits, old routines, old thought patterns, you know, keep you now is the book Think again, also by Adam Grant, I guess I’m a huge Adam Grant fan today, because it’s the second book that I’ve recommended, but he really tells you how to slow down your thinking how to break it down how to ask really good questions, how to question yourself, how to help to question others, so they don’t feel threatened, how to get new thinking overall. And this is actually what we want. Again, we want to create routines that give us the stability, to let us them get to the next level of playing business success, freedom and creativity and innovation. So we don’t want those to keep us in a box. We want it to be the pedestal step.

Jan Muhlfeit 33:38
You know, anyone remind me, Risa? Yeah, you got your that the video was like, you know, broken anyway, Edward, remind me one thing, it’s, it seems like, you know, your routines are putting you on the homeostasis, which is like status of your brain like, Okay, this is known, you know, and everything is fine. And like your new decisions, new thinking, it’s like you are out of the comfort zone, you are doing something, you know, new. And I think there needs to be balanced. But the real question Edward is rightly asking is, you know, how to figure out which routines can still keep us because, you know, you may think about homeostasis, I’ll draw something, okay. Like this, okay, you you, it can go you learn something new. And then you’re like, you know, on the on a stable level, then you learn again, something new, you move to the new level, right? The question is, what are the routines which are like helping you to move and what are the routines to basically throwing you do you know, back if you will, right. And when you when you can, you know, change those, because I’ll give you one example, okay. You mentioned and breakfast, um, eating probably for 10 years, they’re the same breakfast, which is like blackberries, blueberries, and some, you know, nuts and some yogurt. This is it. Okay, all the time, all that sometimes I, you know, change it a bit, but the majority of the time, but then when I, when I talked to, you know, one of the coaches, he told me, um, you should get you know, more proteins in it because then you are like hungry because you’re, you’re a lot of you, you’re giving away a lot of energy in the morning and your body and your brain is not ready. And he was absolutely, you know, right. So sometimes you can say, Okay, this is very healthy, and it’s eating very healthy breakfast. But, you know, in my case, when I’m teaching a lot of courses and do some coaching in the morning, I need to really get some proteins you know, now so not now I really, you know, combined it by the way, Lisa, what what do we know about about fasting? It’s not great to skip, you know, breakfast. There’s Italian No, no kidding. There is Italian guy who did some research. And basically rich research shows that it’s much more healthy, healthier to skip lunch or dinner as opposed to the breakfast.

Lisa Christen 36:19
Sold, I’ll skip dinner because I don’t even

Jan Muhlfeit 36:24
listen, if I do it, if I do it. For me, it’s much easier to skip breakfast. It’s I do it like that. The worst thing is dinner. And Canada in the middle is you know, lunch, right? But yeah, it is, I think one on one side it is a good for your body. But on the other hand, if you if you really need a lot of energy, look, if I’m not eating for a long time, or longer time, like, say, five, six hours, I’m losing my energy. And I’m getting no sleep basically, I have some you know, athletes like Patrick sheet does the guy from Bundesliga, he needs to eat like three hours before the match, he needs to get spaghetti or something light, but he needs to eat, you know, otherwise he’s not you know, able to play like full, you know, so but we are like, individual, it’s an individual yet.

Lisa Christen 37:16
But yeah, this is exactly what I was gonna say two things, which is first always be updating your routine. For sports, people will say 20 years I’ve done the same heretic fine, but I’m talking business, you know, times are changing technology is changing how much information we have about the brain and the body is changing. Your body’s changing your needs are changing what you needed when you were 40 is not the same as what you need when you’re 60. So don’t feel like you set a routine. And that’s forever, set a routine, have it solid, but then always be on the lookout for when is there new information coming in? That could make it even better and optimizing your routines as much as possible? Yeah, that for me has been the most important. That’s why I said Okay, I’ll try intermittent fasting. And, and maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t, I don’t know, it’s too early to tell it’s only been a week, although I really miss breakfast. And so, you know, you always test and maybe you go back to the old routine. But the point is, you should love your routines, you should want your routines, you should find your routines helpful for you, you should find them supporting you in creating the lifestyle and the life that you want. If they’re not serving you like smoking, cut it out.

Jan Muhlfeit 38:41
Absolutely. There is a one point I would like to mention and it’s called in psychology priming, basically, you can because the thing is that like your state, your of your you know, body and your brain depends on you know, different chemicals in your brain because your brain acts as a huge chemical factory. Okay. And that, you know, priming, it’s about couple of things. It’s about your body. It’s about your focus, and it’s about the internal story internal, you know, dialogue, if you will, okay. What do we know about body that if you know it’s called power posing is if you stay like trace, you know, right? After 30 to 60 seconds, your testosterone goes up by 20%. Testosterone is about energy so ever more energy then your cortisol goes down by 25% which is you know, stress hormone obviously, and your ability to raise it is going up by 33%. That’s why when you do for example, some decisions, I think it is a good to, you know, stay straight because your ability to raise is you know, higher, okay? Those numbers were Lower by then Amy Cuddy did some new research that’s the Professor Amy Cuddy. And those are the those are the numbers especially like, if you do sport or before the presentation before, like teaching class, it’s good to your body can, you know help you to feel you know, good, then where your focus goes, your energy goes, okay? So you need you need to be like concentrated, hey, this is a, you know, this is the one thing be in the present moment. That’s why as Lisa said, If you are here, now, your brain if you are in the flow, your brain is pretty much in eight to 12 hertz, which is called alpha level or even the level below which is the data for to aid you know, Hertz, okay. And then you are like, absolutely focused focus is important, because only if you are totally focused, you are mentally tough, you are like, able to basically perform well even, you know, when there is a huge pressure, right, you are able to take what they do best information, best knowledge, which is your long term memory, and use it to because your brain is not reacting immediately, your brain is predicting, based on what you what you learn. And last but not least, it’s your internal story. Okay? Because, you know, every word is great. Every words creating some thought, every thought is creating some emotion, every emotion is creating some, you know, state to save mo emotion is when your thought is touching your body, more or less. So, you may, you know, there is a tennis player, she is in, you know, top five, you know, top 10 And she’s she’s still saying I don’t like she wants to be number one. She’s still saying I don’t like you know, two numbers, which are longer than one week, which are all grand slams, which means like, I when whenever she’s playing Grand Slam, she’s like, saying herself a good tournament for me, you know, that’s absolutely contract productive. You know, right. Now, the question is how you can create best story, my experience is that people with the best internal story, are those people with a growth mindset growth mindset means it’s not like hey, I’m the, you know, hero, I’m the superstar whatever No, growth mindset means be more of who you are every day be better version of yourself. And even if you screw up some exam or exam or you know, some match or whatever, you can still learn we are learning the best from our own mistakes in our because our brain is creating like the peak of newer adrenaline saying, Hey, this is important, you need to remember that, okay? So every day, you can like, remind yourself what was going well, you know, you can learn from what was going well repair what was not going well, hey, what I need to do you know, differently. And basically, imagine how you will do it in the future. Because imagination, our brain, we are special species because of our imagination, and our memory. And because we have imagination and memory, we can memorize the future, you may think now Jan is crazy how I can memorize something which did not happen yet. You can. Because your long term memory behaves like a huge harvest. It does not distinguish whether it’s true or not. So you can visualize, you know, you can visualize in your mind, this is it and you can basically store it in your brain. This is it. It’s called, you know, imagination, right? So 99% of the Olympic Games winners are good visualizers you know, right? And even if you if you take again, if we go to the history, you know, to to both saying first, you need to win battle in your mind, and then you go and you win the battle on the battlefield, right? So I gotta go already. So yeah, you’re

Lisa Christen 44:01
right there. I love listening to you get excited. First of all, I have a question. How do we get one of those T shirts that you’re wearing? Be more of who you are. For everyone who’s watching? How do we get one of those?

Jan Muhlfeit 44:12
You can you can order it on the internet. If you if you go like T shirt with this name. There’s some company in Prague and they got me. I’ll look for you either. Today, you know what I

Lisa Christen 44:24
I thought it was yours. It’s not yours today. There

Jan Muhlfeit 44:28
is a story behind this slogan. 22 years ago, when I took over, I was my first international job in Microsoft. That was my slogan. I was like, Hey, I cannot change people. I need to use what is best in the people, you know, enabled and that’s why I’m talking about unlocking human potential. And there was a big gathering in Atlanta. And I said, there was like 2000 people from that region, Central Eastern Europe. I said, I’m not gonna to change you. I don’t want to change you. I want you to be more of who you are. And I was like the slogan for the day. politico region and then we were like four years in a row best performing region worldwide, right? So there’s a there’s a story and I, I really believe in that, that if you concentrate in your life on the journey, as opposed results are important, but results are like, you know, the score, okay? It’s like, you know, the the milestones, if you will, but if you love the journey, if you are inspired by what you do, okay? And you go, like, step by step, you don’t know where you are. Today, I was coaching one of the best, you know, guys in the in fencing in the world, Aleksandra Chapin, he was the third at the Olympic Games. And obviously, he wants to win, you know, in Paris, and I said, Let’s go step by step you don’t know, maybe you will do like three golden, you know, medals at the Olympic Games, you know, we will see, you don’t know what you need to love. What do you do you need to love the journey. That’s about you know, growth mindset. Because if you will ask, what do you do, then your amygdala is also like cooling down. Because what are you realize, if you do what you really love and have a huge emotional connection to that activity, you are authentic, okay? And that’s what is your authenticity, this is who I am, it’s cooling your amygdala down because amygdala is active only if it’s dangerous, if it’s very new, or if it’s chaotic, okay. But if you are on the journey, your amygdala is cooling down.

Lisa Christen 46:26
Well, and this is what I want to say on about how this exactly relates to the power of routine, because often we’re gonna get to, I promise, it’s our last 10 minutes, we will actually share our routines with all of you. But here’s the thing, what works for Jan does not mean Oh, Jan was successful, you should copy and paste it. Oh, Lisa, that’s right, that works for you. Great, I’m gonna take that and I’m going to use that to everybody’s routine needs to be different for them. You cannot just copy and paste. And I’m in right now. I’m in the middle of coaching an executive team at a startup. And one person I was coaching him individually. And he said, You know, I know exactly what I need. It turned out after some coaching, he needs two hours in the morning block time, so he can get his most important work done. Goes back to the team says I’m doing two hours of work great, perfect works for him works for the team. Everybody’s on board. One of the other people on the leadership team was like, Oh, shit, I need two hours in the morning for work that that, you know, that’s great for the other person. Are you going to make me do that too? I was like, Whoa, I didn’t make anyone do anything. And absolutely not. If that doesn’t work for you. What ended up working for him was a 15 minute warm up session. Just like when you go to the gym, like you know, you go on the elliptical or on the treadmill 15 minute warm up session every morning. And that’s when you can figure out the key things focus get the most important email out. One person needed two hours total concentration time one person needed. 15 minutes high energy fast pace, go, go go fun. Exactly. Everybody’s routine is different.

Jan Muhlfeit 48:04
Absolutely. There’s a there’s a one thing, okay. It is good to learn from the best in your specific field, find the best people and learn from them. And because you know, emotions are contagious, you can learn a lot, you know, we have those, those so called mirror neurons so you can learn a lot, but don’t copy them. Because you’ve got different set of the genes. Okay? It’s like, you know, I’m really working very hard on my six pack. I wanted to have a six pack like Ronaldo, but He’s younger. He’s got a different constitution. So so far, I have the same like underwear like like run out or not, not not necessarily. She has seven is the name of the band. Okay, she has seven not necessarily go to you know, six pack, but unfortunately there is still a little bit you know, fatty. Okay. I’m like six years old. It’s like horses. I don’t know. So this is it. So don’t copy right? I tell you what I do for example with those people if they had some, you know, interesting routines and so on. I tried to figure out what is it and then I like hey, yeah, those are like my talents. How can I use it? How can I localize it for me? How it how it can work for me, you know, right? Because we are very much obsessed by Hey, because he’s doing that he’s doing that there are people who think if they will do those you know routines with the with the water like no doubt that they will be you know, going on so I’m gonna need to play so yeah, let’s go there are some you know, well

Lisa Christen 49:45
Everybody wants your T shirt. Jan. So,

Jan Muhlfeit 49:47
Oh, yeah, guys, give me you know what, at least I continue to talk and I will put the link to the to that company that they are producing it. Okay, just give me a message. Just talk and

Lisa Christen 50:04
And my internet seems to be cutting out a little bit at this time. Do you question up and then we can answer that.

Jan Muhlfeit 50:12
Okay, I Yeah. I’m looking for the link. So try to, you know, answer that question, Lisa, please. And

Lisa Christen 50:25
as I Jana wrote, As I get older, I feel like little things take more time and my day does not have that many routines, how do I pick the most effective ones? For my optimal mindset? Great question. I think what we have to do is start with the end, begin with the end in mind, Jana always loves to talk about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. So I thought I’d bring that in. Start, begin with the end in mind, what’s the most important thing to you? What are your value, what is the most important for your family or for what you want to do with your time, start there, don’t let other people’s requests decide what you’re going to spend your time on, you decide. And then when you say, Okay, it’s wellbeing is fitness, its success in the career, it’s family with whatever it is that you choose, then you go back and you build the routine that’s going to help support you there. Sometimes little things take more time, you have more things to do, obviously, I have to cook I have to clean, I have to you know, whatever sort this out schedule this and that. It’s so easy to fill our days with junk. It’s much harder to have the routine of when do I say no? And when do I get things off of my plate, so that I can make space for the important time and energy for the important stuff. So my routine answer for that Jana is get really good in your routine of different ways that you can very politely decline when people ask for things from you that don’t serve your purpose and aren’t actually that helpful to them also, right? Yeah, so start there.

Jan Muhlfeit 52:05
Yeah. I agree with Lisa. Because for me the major question I, you know, I do a lot of things for free, like, you know, online and so on, and I do seminars, I have a books, you know, it’s like paid for the companies and so on. And I, if I do like one on one with somebody, like really meeting on a one on one basis, it’s it’s the least efficient way to communicate, right? So there needs to be reason. And if it’s really like supporting my meaning, which is like unlocking human, you know, potential, I do it, but I rather I would say, okay, maybe we can meet like, five made the same no problem. And let’s talk that today, in fact, we agreed that we will do some roundtable on mental health, or the of the athletes like 10 people together, so I don’t need to talk to each and every, you know, person but to say no, it’s really key. And it’s not easy, because our brain, we are basically wired to help each other, okay. But at the end of the day, if I, you, you need to, you need to, at some point, you need to, you know, say no to somebody to, you know, help maybe 10 other people, you know, what I know, it’s maybe it, it sounds like it’s not fair, you want to do everything that you are not able to everything and if you will try to please everybody, you will end up in the mental hospital, like Yeah, you know, I was deeply depressed, one of the reasons why I was depressed, that I did not have enough, you know, mental rest, and the reason was that I was working too much, you know, right. And I did not have enough like mental recovery, I got enough recovery in terms of, you know, my physicality, but not in terms of my, you know, thoughts, guys, you know, what, Lisa, let’s talk a little bit now about our routines and you guys, if you can put in the in the chat, what are like your, you know, routines and I one or two, you know, good routines, right? That will be will be good. So maybe I’ll start Okay, so what I try are in that, you know, priming, I call it not priming, necessarily by like mental cocktail. I really do. Like in the morning, I do some you know, breathing exercise, it’s called breathing in the box. Like for for breathing, holding for for breathe out for for holding for for and you go like, three, four minutes, maybe that’s one, then I try to visualize my day, like what is the ideal day I know that there are two three things which are, you know, happening that day, so I try to visualize it in that way. Then I have on my phone because I’m very much visual. So I have like every year five different fields. I would like to move. It’s not necessarily Oh, I wanted to do like 100 You know, lecture somewhere or whatever. It’s not necessarily that bad like five fields, where I would like to move a little bit on my journey, one of my field for this year. If it’s for example courses in English, which we did, recorded, with my friend Miko, and now we are working like, you know, cutting it and maybe, you know, start to market it. Okay? So this is another thing, interesting, you know, routine I have, I’m not online till like nine o’clock after I’m getting you know, online after my breakfast, obviously sometimes, you know, I do like, I need to post eight o’clock that I will do some live whatever, but I don’t do like emails, whatever can distract me. After nine o’clock. There is a one exception. I’m like downloading my podcast, which I listen, if I if I go with Renner, he was here today. So we are talking to each other. But if I’m alone, I listen to some podcasts. So those are those are the things I do in the morning, then there’s a day. And in the evening, do usually I do like, you know, meditation, and the three be exercise. I like remind what was going well repair what was not going well. And then like remind the next day Yeah, so those are a couple of you know, routines I do.

Lisa Christen 56:07
Yeah, and I apologize if I’m cutting out a little bit, but I’m going to share my routines because it’s in some ways, like Jan in some ways completely different. So the first thing that I do when I wake up, I usually wake up around 536 o’clock in the morning, I always need quiet time in the morning. This is something that I know if I wake up at the same time as husband, kids or wake up and have to jet off to work, it doesn’t work for me, I need time to wake up with quiet and my thoughts, then I wake up my routine is to have a cup of coffee, because I just love coffee. And then I go and usually what I’ll do is my most important work for the day. So I spend about 45 minutes to an hour making sure the most important stuff is done. The reason is, if I don’t do it, even if I’ve planned at the night before I know what I have to do, I have so much anxiety for the rest of the day, when am I going to do it, I don’t know when I’m gonna get to it. I’m not sure when I have time, and then it’s always on my mind. So I figured out for me, the best thing that I can do is 45 minutes knock out the most important stuff. Oh, that’s my calm time. Then I wake my kids up, I guess my morning time with them because family is very important to me. And but I get them ready for about an hour. And then I make sure I have the ability to do this because I run my own company. I try very hard almost every day not to have a meeting before 10am. And then after the kids are out, that’s when I do my sports. That’s when I’m ready. I’ve done my work, I’ve had my family time I get my sports and I either go for a walk or a jog sometimes a bike ride, almost always outside. And I hope I never hit wins like Yun was describing but usually in Switzerland, it’s not so bad even when it’s snowing, it’s beautiful to jog in the snow in the woods. And only from there then I shower, you know I have my hot shower and then a little splash of cold to wake me up, wake up my immune system. And that’s when I get ready and I have my day. And that for me is the ultimate routine because I’ve hit the most important stuff, the important work is done, the family’s done, the fitness is done, the clearing of all the junk or the anxiety is gone. And I’m fully focused fully present with wherever I need to be. So that for me is the ultimate routine that is

Jan Muhlfeit 58:31
from from Thomas Farina when I’m struggling with creativity or business activity simply leave everything as it is and go for and sit on the bike and run away from it when come back usually with solution to the issue or at least with the energy to continue with the task Absolutely because you know if we are stressed if we just did in general or maybe della would still tell you everything is important everything is origin which is not the case at all okay. So we we try to do very often things which are important but origin you need to do it sometime you know you need to do it. But you know, most efficient and effective way is to do things which are not urgent but important, you know, right? That’s the way how you can use full capacity of your brain because if you are under depression like struggling with the creativity, the chances are that your brain is tired you know because as I said your you know mental capacity mental energy is finite for the day. Okay? And if like it’s you know, you use it you need to you know recover and and sport is a great way to recover your you know, mental energy because you are like on the fresh air. If you are moving you know the movement in general is helping you to create new neuroplasticity. You connect Choose between your neurons. That’s important if you learn something, you know, new, so new synapses are created. And then if you are like getting back from the run or from the bike, you have like, you know, clean brain more or less. And you you can, you know, you basically restarting your brain, that’s great. Absolutely.

Lisa Christen 1:00:20
And Tomas, I’ll even take that one step further with you is, I often do that when I’m coaching teams, when they’re in meetings, and they’re, they’re having a session or they’re doing business as usual. And I’m just watching as a coach, in the middle of something, we’re all down one track, we’ve all somehow headed down this track without really realizing it. And I’ll pause and I’ll say, You know what, let’s take a five minute break, go grab a coffee, take a walk, go to the bathroom, whatever. And just see if there’s something you notice about what’s happening. Right. So to sort of take the balcony view what’s going on in the meeting, we come back, and then we say, How’s the meeting going? Is it on the track we wanted, and just taking that break, and being able to think about it in a different way of the space means that you’re thinking about it differently, and you can come back with a renewed way of looking at it a renewed way of noticing, but it’s hard to do in the moment, you have to have that pause. So this applies to really anything that any of you are doing when you’re noticing you’re here, take a break, take a minute, pause and reflect.

Jan Muhlfeit 1:01:28
And that is to be like to have you know gender diversity and gender you know, balance. There’s a one from Liudmyla super walk with the dog even that is bad, where a cleaning mind from the stress of you know, even if you walk with a dog, it’s a it’s a form of meditation. Because you’re you know, puppy or dog is always here. And now this is it. That’s how the dogs are working. You know, that’s why if you if you go with the with the trash, you know, the trash bin, you know, you’ll end up returning back after five minutes your DocuSign welcoming UAE, you know, I? You are not there for you know, maybe one month? Absolutely. Doc is always in the present moment. So it is a good, you know, it is a good it is a good way to basically clean your, your mind and your brain. Absolutely,

Lisa Christen 1:02:23
yes. Yeah. And we’ve almost run out of time, and we haven’t even shared most of our routines. I don’t know, what do we do? Do we stay late? Tell them about our evening routines? Or do we keep it for another session? Put it in the notes.

Jan Muhlfeit 1:02:36
We may keep it for another session? Yeah, you know, because I don’t wanna you know, our friends to keep them out of the family. So whatever, are they, you know?

Lisa Christen 1:02:46
Good, so, we’ll have another session soon on evening routines. Everybody focuses on morning routines, but guess what daytime and evening routines are just as important, if not more important.

Jan Muhlfeit 1:02:56
Exactly. Okay, guys. Thanks very much. Take care and see you soon. Yeah,

Lisa Christen 1:03:03
We’ll see you in two weeks right here. Have a great one, everyone. Take care.

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