This week we are exploring philosopher Brian Johnson’s idea of creating masterpiece days. Brian suggests we focus on the beginning and end of our day because this is where we have maximum control.  

Today we begin looking at our evening habits and practices, what Brian calls our “PM Bookend.”

Which starts with this insight: how we end yesterday will directly impact today.  Brian encourages us to make the connection between our nighttime habits and how we start the next day. By being awesome tonight, we will “high five” ourselves in the morning.  

Step one: get a good night’s sleep.  Brian has summarized over 500 books with his Philosopher’s Notes. So, it would be wise to pay attention when he tells us of all the books in his library, his #1 recommendation is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker PhD.  

Matthew tells us getting a good night’s sleep is not just a pillar of health, it is the foundation on which all the other pillars rest.  E. Joseph Cossman says: “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”

Simply put: life changes when we get enough sleep.  

We humans need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.  That’s not time in bed.  That’s asleep time.  Which means we likely need to be in bed another hour.  

What gets measured gets done.  So, purchasing a Fitbit, Apple watch or Aura ring to track our sleep is certainly something to consider.

Brian suggests we ask ourselves: What game am I really playing?  Do I want to be energized or fatigued in the morning?  Do I want to be optimized or entertained?  Am I focused on other people’s fictional dramas or on actualizing my potential?  Am I going for the good mood or the good life?  

We want to make these decisions consciously.

What virtue does science tells us is most correlated with a deep sense of happiness and flourishing?


And, sleep is the #1 practice which impacts zest.  


Reflection:  Am I happy with my overall level of energy?  What nighttime practices would I like to alter or delete?  

Action:  Take inventory of my current PM routine.  What’s serving me well?  What isn’t?

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