Understanding Your Day

William Law
7 min readOct 17, 2019
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Grade six was my final year in elementary school and it was also one of the most pivotal moments. Realizing the importance and value of my time early on certainly changed my mindset.

However, I would argue that it shifted in the wrong direction.

From grade six up until now, my mindset has always been to ‘work hard’. Sure, I’d heard the phrase “work smart, not work hard”, but this never made sense to me 🤷. I had no idea what ‘working smart’ meant. It was completely subjective!

As a naive student, I continued adopting this mindset and tweaking it every once in awhile to fit my schedule. But, I always noticed there was something wrong about this mindset and it showed through my personality. Growing up with this kind of mindset created a more toxic and competitive personality.

The extreme of this mindset varies depending on who you ask, but I would say I took this wayyy too seriously. Being competitive is one thing. But, being toxic added unnecessary weight to my life, which made things 10x worse.

Also, did I mention that my ‘working hard’ typically meant staying up late? Now, that I’m looking back, it made no sense to flex staying up until 12 to study for a test or studying for the entire day 🤯.

Like I mentioned before, until now, I’ve changed my mindset. I realized the 🔑 is this:

Getting stuff done = working hard + working smart

Yes, I know it took me this long to figure out, but it’s easier said than done.

How did I do this?

By waking up at 5:30 am.

Why did I even bother with this?

After going through my second big realization (which was last year), I started to explore my boundaries and look for new perspectives. I liked and feared the idea of failing and discomfort but I tried it anyway. I would work 12 hour weeks and start doing side projects because I wanted to understand my limits.

But, for me, waking up at 5:30 was a different challenge. I did this challenge for 30 days because it takes a lot longer for me to notice the improvements from these systems that I’ve implemented. There was definitely a lot that I’d learned throughout my 30-day challenge, and…

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William Law

swe // trading — prev: @MLHacks, eng @ early-stage startups | Twitter @wlaw_