Vladimir Putin intrigues me. So do people’s routines and habits. Thus you can imagine how delighted I was to stumble across a Business Insider article on Vladimir Putin’s daily routine. After reading through it, I came up with five self-development lessons we can learn from his lifestyle:
1. “I don’t have time” is a terrible excuse to avoid exercising.
Putin is the president of a superpower, yet he somehow finds the time to swim two hours each day and lift weights afterward. You’re probably not as busy as Putin, so never ever tell yourself or others that you can’t find the time to exercise. We all know it’s hogwash, and you do too.
2. Schedule tasks based on your energy levels at various times of the day.
Putin rises late, eats breakfast around noon, and doesn’t get to work until early afternoon. He compensates for this habit by working late into the night. Don’t listen to those in the self-development community who insist you wake up at 5:00am every day. By all means try it for a couple weeks, but if it’s not working for you, don’t force yourself to do it. As Craig Ballantyne says, it’s not about what time you get up, it’s about what you do with the hours that you’re up.
I find I’m most creative in the morning, so I start blogging right after waking up. I’ve never enjoyed exercising in the morning, so I do it in the early evening. I like staying up past midnight, so I never get out of bed earlier than 8:00am (with rare exceptions). Maybe you’re most creative at night and most willing to exercise in the morning. Figure out what works best for you.
3. Cut the alcohol (and the cigarettes and the drugs).
Putin is an abstemious man, which may surprise you since he’s the president of a country suffering from widespread alcoholism. He only drinks during formal receptions, and I bet it’s not very much. Social drinking is fine, but the less alcohol you consume, the better.
I shouldn’t have to explain why it’s a bad idea to smoke or do drugs. If you’ve begun your self-development journey and still struggle with either of those, I’m not your resource, as I’ve never even gone so far as to experiment with them.
4. Make time for cool activities and hobbies.
Raise your hand if you’ve done this before: You come home after a hard day’s work and feel tired, so you end up watching TV for six hours before calling it a night. I’m guilty myself.
As Arnold Bennett writes in his book “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day,” you’re not as tired as you think. So instead of being a couch potato, immerse yourself in your favorite hobbies (or try new ones). Take a martial arts class, read amazing books, go to the gym with your girlfriend, learn how to cook or paint or draw, etc. Pretty much any hobby you can think of is significantly more fulfilling than binge-watching reruns of “The Big Bang Theory.”
For his part, Putin likes to spend his free time hunting, fishing, and playing ice hockey. Now that’s cool.
5. Stay disciplined while traveling.
Temptations to throw your self-development practices out the window lurk everywhere on vacation. It’s all too easy to splurge on mediocre airport food, sleep in at the hotel (or worse yet, hit the snooze button), and neglect exercise altogether. Putin is not only disciplined during episodes of travel, but perhaps even more disciplined than he is back home. On the road, Putin refuses milk products and he doesn’t accept food that hasn’t been approved by the Kremlin. I bet he manages to stick to an exercise regimen too.
So there you have it. Can you see why Putin remains in such amazing health—both mentally and physically—at age 64? Regular exercising, working hard, limiting alcohol, partaking in cool hobbies, and staying disciplined on the road are the keys to long-term energy, productivity, and satisfaction.