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Mental Game & Life Strategy

The ability to set goals and the discipline it takes to achieve those goals without letting the rest of your life suffer are two of the most important things you need to master in order to improve as a poker player and begin getting serious about becoming a pro. One of the best parts of playing poker is getting out into the real world, playing in person, meeting new people and going on crazy adventures. This is also the riskiest part of the game because it takes you away from your comfort zone, and leaves you playing without your safety net. The solid footing of any healthy lifestyle depends balance and control, and a thriving poker lifestyle is no exception. Set realistic goals and learn to govern yourself so that you’re always working towards achieving your goals without letting the other, more glamorous things hinder your success. 

Table strategy is great to know, but you'll also need to understand how to manage yourself off the table to maximize your edge - and here’s where things get personal. I invite you to keep up-to date on my life and times as a poker player, and learn from my experiences so that you can learn from my triumphs and avoid my mistakes.  Any pro poker player will tell you your  mind is your most powerful weapon. Sharpen it, nurture it, rest it and give it peace so you can take to the tables - and your life - with killer confidence. 

The Art of Scheduling

Evan Jarvis

Photo Credit: Lindsey Turner | Flickr

Photo Credit: Lindsey Turner | Flickr

Want to amp up your game on and off the table? Then it’s time to embrace your inner Type-A and start scheduling.

This is the best thing you can do to be more productive, focused and successful. Scheduling also keeps you motivated and accountable. I do it. In fact, every successful person I know does it – and it works.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Set your schedule for the week on Sunday to ensure all your key tasks will be completed
  • It’s OK to change the game plan, but avoid doing this first thing in the morning, when your mind is a bit hazy and suggestible
  • Identify your HIGHEST VALUE activities and put them in the schedule first

Let’s look at an example and some more tips: 

  • Meditation + Breath Work. This is typically the first thing I do after stretching.
  • Eating + Hydration. Planning your meal times and things you will eat saves a ton of time.
  • Post-Chow Downtime. Make sure to schedule some brief relaxation time after the meals for optimal digestion. I typically do very light movement in my time after eating, like tai chi, or ZONE exercises.
  • Take Breaks. Work in 2 hour blocks, taking 5-10 minute breaks in between minimum.
  • Divide and Conquer. Don't do more than 3 work chunks in a day. 2 is ideal for most people. 
  • NAP! Schedule a 20 minute lay down or nap time in the afternoon. This will recharge your batteries and keep you from getting depleted. Naps are the most underrated thing in the western world. The body also has a natural drop in energy mid-day and you need to honour that. 
  • Wind Down with the Day. After dinner you should be cooling down and doing restorative/relaxing activities (e.g. time with friends, loves ones, watching a favorite show, listening to good music, journaling, meditating again, etc.).
  • Night Hygiene. Keep your nights clean by getting to bed at a good hour.  Ideally, you should be in bed by 10pm, lights out by 10:30pm. As you drift off, think about all the positives in the day so your mind can clear and sleep easy

Think BIG Picture

By looking at your weeks and months ahead of time - rather than just your days - you can ensure your key tasks will get met in a reasonable time frame and won't feel rushed. If they’re rushed, the quality will suffer. 

It’s about taking care of your mind…

I usually use tracks from iAwake Technologies, depending on what my goal is for the month, my favorite has always been Deep Delta, but that's because I need the relaxation most. (I'm a workaholic when not in a prime state.)

It’s also about taking care of your body…

I do yoga on the days I feel I need a good session, but you don't need to do everything every day. Look at doing shorter exercises, meditation and stretch sessions (20 minutes instead of 1 hour) to free up more time.

Remember, your dream and your passion come first, so prioritize those, then schedule in the other activities that work to support that dream, and go from there. 

It really is that simple.