Uncommon Wisdom: Lubomir Shishkov
“Uncommon Wisdom” is about sharing those habits or stories that we wouldn’t normally think to share. There’s so much talk about morning routines and self-care practices these days but a lot of it can seem kind of superficial or maybe just predictable and repetitive. This is why we asked a bunch of high-performing creatives and entrepreneurs a few questions about awareness, energy, and productivity. We wanted to learn something a bit more unexpected, and here’s what we found out.
Who is Lubomir Shishkov?
Lubomir Shishkov was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and is currently a Software Product Manager in the fin-tech space. However, he doesn’t usually like to define himself by his current occupation as he has gained some broad professional experience in the IT space for the past 13 years. Lubo sees himself as an open-minded person who is pretty keen on challenging himself in a variety of aspects, especially when it comes to personal growth, health, and the art of living at large. He is drawn to visual arts, eastern philosophies, stoicism, and essentialism.
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
Floating and meditating for just 60 minutes in a total sensory deprivation tank is like a deep reboot for me. Every time I do it, noise gives way to mental clarity and my senses get a reset. I find it to be the perfect pre-requisite in case I want to step back from life in order to self-reflect, take an important or creative decision, or just practice being fully present.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
One very powerful approach for me is attacking a big or important task as early as possible. People often fail to start early and some even artificially inflate the size and difficulty of the task in their minds just by procrastinating it. This results in an energy drain every time one just recalls this pending task. On the contrary, when one makes even slight progress early on, momentum builds up and energy emerges. That’s why I like to start planning in my head, far earlier than action is even possible, and that sometimes means literally minutes after a task like that comes up.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
When it comes to productivity, my baseline is to extract information from my head and store it into systems which I use to plan, pre-make, and automate decisions and actions. For me, this means going beyond just task management and into areas like relations, health, nutrition, personal finances, assets, documents, etc. These are important aspects of life which regularly require attention, actions, and decisions. My experience shows that by owning them in a structured and proactive way, I am able to do much more with less effort.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
As an early bird mornings represent the most valuable time of the day for me. For the past 15 years I’ve been continuously experimenting and refining my practices in that aspect. In essence, my current practice consists of the following elements: — Getting up early (i.e. 6am or earlier) – The important thing here is to use an alarm clock not in the morning but in the evening and give your body the time it needs to sleep. If you are consistent with that you will wake up on your own in the morning. I also apply this and the rest of the routine during the weekends as well and that way I can keep up the rhythm. — Mindful meditation (4-5 minutes) – I am following this practice for the past decade as described by Sakyong Mipham in his book “Ruling Your World”. — Track retrospectively & plan my day – This is part of a broader set of practices that I follow on different time intervals which stem from my approach towards owning better the important aspects of my life. — Water and vitamins – As I fast daily, these, along with a coffee, are the only things I consume until noon. Many people tend to substitute water for other beverages which, I consider, as a huge mistake and so I try to drink at least 1 litre before 9am. There are some noteworthy caveats here. One is that I tend to keep all this sharp and short, to make it easier to follow through thick and thin before the day fires back. During the years I’ve found that the most important thing is to experiment (finding what works for you) and to be consistent in order to gain from the compound effect of the entire practice. For me, this is also a way to embed familiarity in how I frame each day and start on my terms. This is very important and helpful when the going gets tough. I also avoid media, meetings, and entertainment (except music) when I transit out of my morning practice as I prefer to focus on the most demanding and important mental tasks until noon.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
I like to balance the heavy use of structure and systems during the day with the absence of such in the evening. I used to push myself with structure and work in the evenings too, but this is not a good strategy if you are in for the long game. With that in mind, I’ve discovered some themes that I often resort to during my evenings, namely – people, arts, and nature. — People – meeting family, friends or just new and interesting people in person is my substitute for social media platforms (which I avoid). It also completely changes the blue-screen context most of us are sucked in during the day. — Arts – I am not as good at producing art as I’d like to be, but even just discovering a new song (and adding it to the ton of other good ones), reading a good article or book, or consuming any form of visual art could improve my mood and spark inspiration or creativity. — Nature – being able to spend even just an hour outside in nature and silence after a busy day is a gift that never gets old. In addition to balance – the other benefit that I’ve found with such an approach is that it can turn the tide of information consumption and on-the-spot decisions that we are preoccupied with during the day and welcome more creative thinking and inspiration into your mind. I’ve built both sets of practices (i.e. morning and evening) focusing mainly on fundamental elements. This helps to continuously ground myself and isolate the distractive and sometimes toxic features of modern life.
You can find Lubomir at linkedin.com/in/lubomir-shishkoff
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