This will be a page dedicated to experiments that I will be doing directly related to online selling and the lifestyle it allows.  The first experiment began February 1st, 2014.

Experiment #1: No alarm clock

Start Date: 2/1/2014

Experiment details: I will not be using an alarm clock for the month of February 2014.  There are a few reasons I am going to be giving this a shot:

  1. I watched this TED talk, HERE is a link if you have 20 minutes.
  2. I haven’t had a schedule that allowed for this for an extended period of time since high school.
  3. It may increase productivity.
  4. I want to see what happens.

Here’s what I think or am hoping will happen: after a few days of being on this schedule I will find an “equilibrium” amount of sleep that is right for me on a night basis, most likely in the 7.5-9 hours per night range.  This will then lead me to be more productive, happy, and healthy in my waking hours, as I don’t have an alarm clock influencing my sleep cycle.  I am going to try to avoid any early morning meetings, or any commitments in the early morning, but will make exceptions if a ridiculously good reason to wake up early presents itself.

I will post an update in early March 2014.

RESULTS posted 3/23/2014: 

I really enjoyed doing this experiment of not using an alarm clock.  I recorded each day what time I woke up at and when I went to bed.  The go to sleep time will not be the actual time that I fell asleep, I normally read for at least 20-30 minutes each night before bed, plus it will take some time beyond this reading to fall asleep.  So the actual number of hours slept per night would be 30-60 minutes less than the totals shown depending on how long I read and how long it took to fall asleep.

Here is a break down day by day of when I went to bed and when I woke up each day (click to enlarge): Sleep Experiment Results


As you can see, I am quite a “night owl” and normally go to bed quite a bit later than much of the population.  There are close to 4 hour swings in both the wake up and go to bed times, which is basically because I go to bed when I am tired and wake I when I wake up.  There were a couple days I used an alarm clock when I had places to be, but the rest of the days followed my body’s natural cycle.

Conclusion: I slept for an average of just over 8 hours per night after factoring in reading and time to fall asleep.  I think this is a healthy range for me, and I plan to continue to not use an alarm clock except when I have appointments that require it. I will say that I am going to try to shift my schedule to waking up between 9 and 10 AM, as I find that waking up after 11AM I tend to be a little less productive early in the day.  I consider this experiment a success and will continue to leave an alarm clock out of waking up for the foreseeable future.

Experiment #2: Checking email less 

Start date 2/3/2014

Experiment details: On weekdays in February 2014 I will only check my email twice per day during working hours.  Due to experiment #1 above, I will not have set times, but rather will check email once 3 hours after waking up, and once 8 hours after waking up.  Checking email after I am done working for the day and on weekends is allowed.  Here is why I am giving this one a shot:

  1. I read the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and it is recommended in that book to reduce the number of times per day we check our email.
  2. Occasionally, I allow myself to check email constantly and this is an obvious distraction from any other task that I am working on.
  3. I believe it will increase productivity without any real negative effects.

I will post an update in early March 2014.

RESULTS Posted 3/23/2014

I really enjoyed this experiment as well. It really helped me to consolidate the times that I am looking at my email and allowed me to be more productive.  I found not checking my email right when I wake up to be particularly helpful, as I was able to get the tasks that I want done without anything else providing a distraction and getting me off track.

I don’t have any hard data to share here, but I felt that I was much more productive during February.  I have noticed that in March I have not been following this same schedule of checking email and as a result find myself checking email when I have a down moment.  This ends up being an interruption to my focus, and I get less done.

I would recommend anyone to do this and find out how it works for them.  Due to the noticeable decrease in efficiency in March compared to February, I will be conducting Experiment #3, see below in this post.

Experiment #3: Checking email less than Experiment #2 & less social media

Experiment Details: I will be checking email ONCE per day, including weekends.  I will also be limiting social media usage as follows:

  1. Personal Facebook: Once per day
  2. LinkedIn: Once per day
  3. Selling Related Facebook Groups: 3 time per day max

The reason for this change is that currently when I find that I have a few minutes of downtime, I will mindlessly scroll through social media and really add no value to my life.  I want to force myself to find positive things (such as meeting up with people in person or working on my entrepreneurial activities) to fill my time with rather than just observing what others are doing with their lives.

Allowable Exceptions:

  1. Sending emails, Facebook, or LinkedIn, messages for business purposes is allowed at any time during the day, but I will follow the same strategy of responding once per day unless it makes business sense to respond sooner.
  2. I have setup a separate email address for having stores promotional messages and possible inventory opportunities sent to.   Checking this email is allowed, as it is only for the purpose of being notified of possible revenue generating opportunities.
  3. Responding to comments here on the blog.

The other component of this is that I will respond to emails or messages received immediately upon reading the message.  I occasionally will read through several messages before beginning to respond, which I find is not very efficient.

Here’s why I am doing this one:

  1. Experiment #2 went well, and I felt a noticeable lapse in the weeks since so I want to really focus on spending my time wisely.
  2. I can’t remember a single instance where not responding to an email within 24 hours resulted in me losing out on a significant opportunity.

Now, I know many of you have sent me emails with questions/comments, etc.  I assure you I will still respond to your emails and comments on this blog in a timely manner during my once per day checking email.  If you need a quick response, leaving a comment on the blog post in question is probably the best way to go.

This experiment begins March 24th, 2014 and will extend through April 30th, 2014.  I will post an update in early May 2014.



6 Responses

  1. Rob
    Rob / 2-4-2014 / ·

    You’d be amazed at how little you can get away with checking email. During my off-season I check once every other day and it’s fine. During the busy season I check twice a day but have things queued in my outbox and they only go when I hit send, that way I don’t end up in ping-pong conversations with people. It’s good to reply to all the emails and then get out of the client (Thunderbird for me), it sucks to reply to all my emails only to see that someone’s already got back to me and I’ve now got more to deal with. It can usually wait.

  2. Ellen
    Ellen / 4-7-2014 / ·

    I’m curious what type of stuff you’re selling. I’ve just started selling used and vintage clothes and housewares, but I’m wondering about what else to sell, and what research you’ve done on which products are best to sell. I love your blog! Thanks for giving me so many ideas! Ellen

  3. Rocco
    Rocco / 9-16-2016 / ·

    Hey Ryan,

    I feel like I’m late to the party judging by the dates on the responses, so I hope you’re still active. I recently became very interested in trying to start myself an online business. How long would you estimate it took before it started generating a livable income for yourself? My biggest fear is that I am fortunate enough to have a pretty good paying job. However that comes at the expense of having zero personal time, vacations are like pulling teeth, etc. I don’t expect to become an overnight success, but if through hard work I can create a viable income, I’d love to become my own boss and start enjoying my own life rather than allowing someone else to enjoy theirs.

    Thanks you,

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