The Bezos way: sleep, puttering, and three high-quality decisions a day

One of the most successful business people in the world…putters?

Jeff Bezos has always been one of those people whose ideas and thinking make a lot of sense to me. When he talks, I listen.

So when I recently came across a fantastic interview with Jeff Bezos, I jumped right in. The entire interview is great and I really think watching the whole thing is worth your time. But there was one section that really stuck out to me: his prioritization of sleep, calm, and quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfY3uRCvEMo

It’s 2 minutes and 29 seconds of your day well spent, but here’s the basic gist:

  1. 8 hours of sleep a night. He goes to bed early and wakes up early. He thinks better, has more energy, and his mood is better when he gets the right amount of sleep, all of which contribute to making him an effective decision maker. The opposite can hold true too — being tired or grouchy can lead to bad decisions.
  2. Puttering (yes, this is an official Bezos term). Bezos’ morning routine isn’t manic or hectic, it’s quite the opposite — he putters around, taking his time and slowly ramping up. This is his time to read the paper, have coffee, and eat breakfast with his kids. It’s really important to him that he have a slow, calm start to the day, which is also why he insists on no meetings before 10 a.m.
  3. High quality decision making. He likes to do his “high IQ” meetings before lunch because that’s when he’s sharpest, and he knows by 5pm he’ll be wiped. Anything that’s important that pushes late into the day gets rescheduled for 10 a.m. the next day. He recognizes that he “only” needs to make a few key decisions a day, not thousands of small ones. If he can make three high quality decisions a day, that’s plenty good.

This is astonishing and inspirational for all the right reasons. For all we hear about how awesome it is that people are constantly “hustling”, working 20 hour days, sending 50 emails from bed, and squeezing every minute of the day for max productivity, we have in front of us Jeff Bezos — one of the most successful business people in the world— puttering.

Sleep. Calm. Prioritizing. Quality over quantity. Recognizing limits. These are the kinds of principles that have made him a wild success in the long run. I think we’d all do well to mimic these practices.

Excuse me while I go putter around for a while. 🚶


We agree with Jeff’s ideas on sleep and calm — so much so that Jason and David wrote a book about it! Check out “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work”.

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