Self Care

How To Not Hit Snooze in the Morning

Someone messaged me the other day on Facebook and asked me about sleep and productivity.

Here was the question:

“I try to get 7 hours but I always snooze and end up sleeping 8, and sometimes 9-10 just cause it’s hard for me to get out of bed. So basically I lose about 2 hours of sleep every day which really adds up.

S, my question to you is how do you/did you manage your sleep while you had a million things to do?”

I thought it was a great question so I figured I’d share my answer here.

The biggest “hack” I’d say I had was that I had a packed schedule. 

So for example, I had meetings starting at 9 am every day (on purpose). My schedule was also rigorously outlined every day. There was no open space. I scheduled everything. All the typical things like work meetings, but also everything else: meditation, gym, soccer sleep, work tasks, and even “relax / off time”. There was 0 open white space on my calendar by design. 

So that meant if I wanted to get to the gym, meditate, etc (whatever my other important things were), I had to wake up at 6 am per my schedule to get everything done. 

And those things were very important to me, so I’d get out of bed for them

If something isn’t important to you, you won’t do it. 

It sounds obvious but it’s true, and probably the biggest difference I see between people who are very high achievers and others. 

They are driven by something that pushes them to keep that routine. 

Think about your end goal. Visualize it every day. You succeeding at it. Then think: what do I need to do to make this happen? 

What would help me remove ANY doubt that I will get there? 

It’s a psychological trick essentially. 

For me, I never wanted to leave anything on the table or any possible doubt that I could have done more. And for me, part of that was waking up at 6 am. Every time I woke up at 6 am is was like I was one step closer to achieving a larger goal. 

And then day after day, once you start doing it, it becomes a habit. 

And sometimes when it would suck, I would think of others around me. What are they doing? I’m going to push more than them. 

In NYC, it was super competitive. I’d think about that, and then push myself further. I loved waking up early, working on weekends, holidays, etc bc that meant (at least I told myself this) I was getting an edge on everyone else sleeping in or sitting around watching TV. 

Now, there is a balance with this. 

Too little sleep and you’re not effective at all. 

Every person is a bit different from how many hours they need. 

But for example, I know if I only got a few hours of sleep, I’d be operating at like 75%.

And those extra hours of sleep were extremely worth it, even if it meant 1 or 2 fewer hours awake. 

It’s more about what you do when you’re awake than HOW many hours you’re awake. 

If someone is awake for 18 hours but only 50% effective vs someone awake for 14 hours but 100% effective, who wins? 

If you REALLY need 9 hours of sleep to be in your optimal state, that’s better than only sleeping 8 hours and operating at 75% for the whole day. 

But if you really only need 8 hours, and you just can’t get out of bed, then everything I said at the start of this post applies.

Decision Making

The Time I Made $100k by Answering an Email at 10:30pm

On February 23, 2015, I received the following email at 10:30 pm:

“Hey A.T.,

I am consulting for a hedge fund, [redacted], and they have a time-sensitive project that they need help on. It is a website for one of its portfolio companies.

It is a pretty standard site: overview, mission statement, management, board members, investors, products. There might be design work for logos. However, no eCommerce or other functionality.

Since the project is on an expedited timeline, they are willing to pay for that consideration.

If you are interested, can you come tomorrow and meet with members of the fund? Please let me know as soon as you can.



There are a number of factors at play here that can be uncovered from this email.

First, the project and decision timeline was clearly time-sensitive. The email clearly says this.

They also wanted to know if I could meet with the members of the fund (i.e. the decision-makers) tomorrow. My read on this was that it was indeed a serious project and given they were emailing me at 10:30 pm and wanting me to meet with the decision-makers (members of the fund) the next day.

Because of the email at 10:30 pm and wanting a meeting the next day, my guess was also that they weren’t really evaluating any other options. Another point in my favor.

Also, if you notice the intro it says “Hey A.T.” 

A.T. is a nickname that only people who know me would say. The person who emailed me was someone I knew and therefore was effectively my “champion” here. He was the one bringing me into this opportunity. And a referral means a lot when trying to close a deal. 

After reading this email, I immediately knew this was:

  • A real, serious project
  • A project with budget (the client was a hedge fund – hedge funds have money)
  • A good chance of me winning it if I showed up the next day because of the time-sensitive nature and the personal referral

I responded 13 minutes later:

Yes, definitely interested. I’m free from 11-1 pm and anytime after 4:30 pm tomorrow. What time should I come?”

If you notice in my reply, I gave concrete time slots that were big enough such that at least one time would probably work and asked: “what time should I come?”

I always like to make it easy for someone to reply and limit the unnecessary back and forth.

I used the word “should” on purpose to highlight that I was coming in tomorrow, you just name the time and I’m there.

I heard back that the meeting would be at noon.

I then back-channeled with my contact to try and get a bit more context around pricing. I specifically wanted to know if they had any expectations around rates. I told him since it was a rush job we’d charge more and he replied “That works. Go with the higher figure. They will most likely go with you bc I recommended you.”

Ok, awesome. I’m feeling great before the meeting. 

So I show up at noon.

I met with some of the members of the fund. Note: My contact is not there at the meeting. But he has teed it up great. He must have pre-sold me very well because the meeting couldn’t have lasted more than 30 minutes. It wasn’t a typical sales meeting where you have to win over the client. It was really more of a “let’s just meet in person, make sure he’s a real person, ask him the rate, and get this started” type of meeting.

I left the meeting having a verbal “yes” and just needed to send over the engagement letter.

We ended up signing and over the next couple of months it resulted in over $100k in billable work.

So why am I telling this story? 

Well, there are a few key takeaways I want to highlight:

  • Speed can be KEY in sales.
    If I didn’t reply until the next morning, I may not have closed the deal. I don’t know that for sure, but I didn’t want to take that risk. I will say that I have had similar cases of time sensitivity and when I have replied quickly, it was a stated factor by the client that our response time helped close the deal. I have also had the reverse where being a bit too slow on reply has resulted in the Client moving forward with someone else.
  • Language in email matters.
    Every interaction you have with someone matters. You can learn a lot from emails. You don’t want to overthink or overanalyze things, but I do believe there is an insight to be gained from the language used in emails. And conversely, the words you write to someone in an email can move things one direction or another. I am constantly refining my email skills because of how important I believe it to be.
  • Having an internal champion is very helpful.
    People trust referrals much more than a random person. If they do much of the selling for you, you may find yourself in a position to just have to show up and not screw it up. The above is not a one-off case; this has happened to me a number of times over the years.

I feel it’s also important to address the fact that I was emailing at very late hours of the night. This was one time when being “on” and working all day/night turned out to be positive. Now, I want to be clear that this article isn’t meant to say working 80+ hours a week is what you must do to succeed. This is just one data point that I found interesting to share. I also have other times where being “on” all day/night ended up being detrimental — particularly to my physical, mental and emotional health. But those are stories for another time.


Personal Finance

Personal Finance Trackers

Many people go through life wondering how they seem to never have enough money, complaining about how much debt they have, and getting upset at those who do have money.

While there may be a number of reasons for this, I’d argue one contributing factor for many people is that they are not tracking where their money is going. They just work, keep swiping their credit card, and hope they have enough money this time at the register.

But that’s a complete guessing game. Maybe over time, you will make more than you spend and have some savings, but maybe not. 

To me, guessing at your personal financial situation is just plain irresponsible. 

Money can be a great stressor in life. And so what do many people do: they ignore it. This coping mechanism only hurts them more in the long run.

So what’s the alternative? 

Understanding your personal financial position at all times, and systematically working to improve it.

As Peter Drucker famously said, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

There are a few key things I like to keep track of to manage my personal financial position.

  1. How Much Do I Spend vs. Save?
    I like to track how much I am spending each month and if that is more or less than I make. By tracking how much we spend, we can see where the leakage is happening and make adjustments to help us work towards our savings goals (whatever those might be for you).
  2. Net Worth
    How does my net worth change over time? Am I adding to it or subtracting from it?
  3. Am I Financially Free?
    Does my income from investments surpass my living expenses? If so, I am financially free and do not need to work. If not, how much more do I need to get there?

I track these in a simple Google Sheet. I update the sheet once per week based on any changes that have happened and reflect on what could be adjusted. Over time, it’s not a guessing game, but rather a methodical march towards my financial goals.

If you want the template for the personal financial models I use myself, you can grab a copy below.


Personal Finance

High Interest Savings Accounts

If you’ve been following along my journey to $100k per year from investments, you’ll know that while I’m waiting to deploy my cash into higher-yielding investments I have been earning a nice interest rate in the meantime.

Some people have asked me what accounts give good rates, so I figured I’d make a list to share. These are listed in no particular order. The interest rates listed are as of 1/11/2020. Please note that they may have changed since then.

Marcus (created by Goldman Sachs) – 1.7%

American Express Online Savings – 1.7%

Betterment Cash Reserve – 1.83%

Ally – 1.6%

Wealthfront – 1.82%

Citi High Yield Savings – 1.85%

Enjoy your returns 🙂

Decision Making Self Care

Something Is Missing

Six months ago I sold my business. 

I started the business when I was 22 and sold it 7 years later, a couple of months before turning 30.

Running the business was pretty much all I knew in my 20s.

It’s where I spent virtually all of my time. Days, nights, weekends. I was obsessed. I cared for it more than anything. Perhaps too much. 

At times, my identity was so tied to the success of the business that it became unhealthy. If the business had a bad period, I would feel awful — at one point falling into a deep depression for many months.

In the last couple of years, I tried to move my identity away from the business.

I would be “Anthony the CEO” not “Anthony the founder”.

I was playing a role in the company now, not the parent.

And this definitely helped.

It took time for my identity to slowly shift. And in the months leading up to the sale, I was pretty removed from the day to day operations of the business. This was by design — we had set up the company so that it could run without me — but also because internally I felt I needed to separate myself.

When the opportunity was there to sell, I took it.

I felt that this chapter of my life had run its course, I’d learned everything I wanted from it, and it was time to move on. Selling the business would be the final chapter and I’d be able to close the book on “Anthony, the founder”.

For the first few months, I felt amazing. I was able to walk away from the business right away, and I moved from New York City to Miami.

I rented a beachfront apartment and woke up to the sounds of waves hitting the sand each day.

I had zero responsibilities — no employees, no business, nothing.

And I had enough money now to not need to work for at least a decade.

Sounds like a dream right?

Well, it’s been about six months now.

And something I didn’t expect started to happen.

I started getting a bit depressed. But I had no idea why. 

I have zero responsibilities and zero money issues. 

When I was a kid, I thought these would make me the happiest person around.

So then I got to thinking and really started to examine why I was feeling this way because it didn’t make any sense.

And I started doing some research.

What I found was fascinating.

One article I came across was called “Dealing with the Emotional Fallout of Selling Your Business” by Jeff Giesea, published in the Harvard Business Review.

The article starts like this ‘“Congrats on selling your business,” a longtime mentor said the day after I signed the paperwork. “Now get ready for a depression.”’

He goes on to say how entrepreneurs who have sold their businesses often feel “isolation, a lack of purpose, a sense of drift. It seems obvious in retrospect. When you spend years architecting your life around business and suddenly it’s gone, you’re probably going to have an identity crisis and some post-partum depression.

Then there’s the issue of purpose and motivation. Without the constraints of money and responsibilities of your business, what will be your ‘reasons to keep trying’…The freedom of being unanchored sounds great, but it comes with the potential of drift and lack of motivation.”

This was speaking to me.

Without the responsibilities of the business or any real worry for money, I was lacking any motivation to really do anything. 

I no longer had a reason or purpose to do anything.

So I started spending hours and hours watching TV. Which is something I pretty much never did when I had the business. But I needed to fill time, so that’s what I did.

The article goes on to say “When selling your business, it’s natural to think of other major life changes to make — like moving to Montana or buying a new home. Selling and leaving your company is enough to change to handle at once.”


This was literally what I did.

Turns out I’m not alone, which is nice.

In retrospect, I might have rushed all these changes. I shifted my identity so quickly and drastically, I’m not sure I was able to fully process it.

And 6 months later, it hit me.

That feeling of “something is missing” started to make sense.

A report called “Life After an Exit: How Entrepreneurs Transition to the Next Stage” summed it up well “the reality of selling a venture often represents a loss of identity and community.”

I started to miss the team and leading people. I missed the day to day interactions. I missed the challenges, the problem-solving. I missed having a company. I missed having a purpose that drove me every day for years.

And so now I realize and admit, something is missing.

It seems obvious now that I’m writing this. 

Something that made up such a part of my life for 7 years was gone. 

And without anything to take up its place, it makes sense that something is missing.

I’m missing a greater purpose, meaning, and community that I had with my last business.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do moving forward, but I think this is a step in the right direction.

Before you can make a change, you must identify the problem. 

So, this is me identifying the problem.

And now I’m going to work towards solving it.