Meet Demir and Carey Bentley, an entrepreneurial family traveling the world and helping people get more done.
In this interview, you’ll learn about their habits and routines that allow them to focus on what matters, set and achieve goals and live a fulfilling life.
Demir and Carey Bentley
Demir and Carey Bentley are the husband and wife team behind Lifehack Bootcamp, the productivity and lifestyle design company for high performing individuals who want to bring sanity back in their lives.
They’re known for their no-BS, no excuses coaching style and passion for creating huge transformation in each of their clients. They’re also known for pushing the boundaries of lifestyle design, traveling around the world and experimenting with different ways of living.
Their work has been featured in Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, WSJ, HuffPost, and on podcasts like Forbes 30 Under 30, Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy, The ONE Thing, and Don’t Keep Your Day Job.
Carey and Demir live the nomadic lifestyle, living up to 3 months at a time in cities around the globe.
What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?
Weekly pre-planning has been a game changer. We spend 2 hours every Sunday sitting down and planning the details of the week.
We used to have weeks where we would work incredibly hard, but yet collapse on Friday night having not gotten to the true priority! It felt like we were working hard and getting absolutely nowhere.
So the pre-planning game is: how can we find every possible thing that could possibly sabotage our #1 priority, before the week has even begun? And by Friday, we’ve effortlessly gotten our #1 priority done and then some.
How Do You Set Goals and Manage Time?
We’re productivity coaches, so we’re full of time management information… in fact, we’re writing a book about it now!
But the best way to manage your time is to know where your time is going. We have every client do a 2-week Time Tracking challenge before suggesting how to optimize their approach (check out our how-to video).
Each one of us is so different, that time management isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The best place to start is to gather crucial data on where the 168 hours of your week are going, and match up our perceptions of time with reality.
The bonus? Our average client finds 8-15 hours of wasted time in their week, just by time tracking.
How Are You Modeling Your Life?
We surround ourselves with what we call The Committee, which is our self-selected circle of wise men that call us forward to be the people we need to be to achieve our vision. Right now, some of the members of our Committee are Ray Dalio (Principles), Jocko Willink (Extreme Ownership), and Ariana Huffington (Thrive). When we find a book that’s particularly juicy, we read it 3 or 4 times to make sure it sinks in.
We also make it a priority to interview 25 of our heroes every year at our free Lifehack Summit. This event has been invaluable for helping us grow and shed old ways of thinking that don’t serve us, and connect our heroes with our audience.
Can You Describe Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?
We have a 4-step work (really, life) process that has guided us from our overwhelmed days working on Wall Street to our current freedom lifestyle. It’s a long-term planning process, and also a process we refer back to daily.
- Set a vision
- Master yourself
- Master your systems
- Unlock freedom
Setting A Vision is about dreaming big, and setting a compelling and specific vision for how you want your life to look in 12 months.
Mastering Yourself is arming yourself with the hard skills you’ll need to reach that vision. This is where you create new habits, learn the best ways of running your day, level up your mental game, and experience the power of taking extreme ownership for your circumstances.
Mastering Your Systems is where you leverage the power of automation, delegation, and outsourcing to help you get the work of 4 people done in a 40-hour workweek.
Unlocking Freedom is about exploring unconventional ideas for how you could solve the Rubik’s Cube of your life. We love sourcing ideas from our community of Lifehackers who are answering the question, how can we have our cake and eat it too?
What Do You Eat for Breakfast?
Demir: I’m carb cycling right now to get leaner, so pretty much every meal looks like protein + spinach + a delicious salsa made by our cook.
Carey: Our cook is always up before me, and I’m a very predictable (read: picky) eater, so she makes me a latte, fresh toast, jam, and a scrambled egg every morning.
Everything we eat is freshly prepared from scratch by our cook, because we believe the best way to care for yourself is to eliminate processed foods.
How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?
The practice of being with yourself and your thoughts is something so rare in today’s world. So we create an hour of Solitude Time first thing in the morning, where we can read, meditate, and think. The only rule is we can’t work and we can’t use technology. This has been dramatic in reducing our stress and increasing energy.
We also get to the gym or take a long walk every day to stimulate our bodies and give our brains a break!
How Do You Meet and Connect with People?
We love going deep with a very small number of people. These are people we’ve curated on our travels who inspire us and challenge us to be our best selves. Once a year, we plan a Power Couples bucket list trip somewhere in the world with 15-20 of our best friends who we’ve met around the world. It connects us even more closely and has led to the most satisfying friendships we’ve ever experienced.
What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?
We’re like old people. We get up at 6 am, we take a nap every day at 2 pm, and we’re in bed by 9:30 pm!
What Are Your Investing Habits?
Whether we’re investing time or money, we’re always asking: Where’s the ROI?
If the ROI is there, we’ll probably do it.
If not, it’s a hell no.
As a result, we’ve said no to a lot of things in our business that were super cool, but for whatever reason didn’t serve our top priority or didn’t create ROI for us. We also spend money on coaching and travel, but you’ll never see us buy a full-priced car because for us there’s no return on investment there.
What’s One Question That Helped You Understand the World Better?
When we’re facing a difficult decision, we like to ask “What choice is the bigger life?” which immediately refocuses us on our values. This quick and easy mental hack has shed light on otherwise tricky issues. For example, if you’re trying to decide if you should get a puppy, just ask yourself “What choice is the bigger life?” and the answer will pop into your head right away.
Another one is “What would it look like if it were easy?” from Tim Ferriss, which is fantastic for asking when you’re in the thick of a crazy week and you just want it to be Friday already.
What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?
We’ve both had the misfortune of being hospitalized for stress-related illnesses. Carey has had ulcerative colitis her whole life, and Demir developed a hernia and chronic condition after overworking on Wall Street.
It taught us that the conventional path of “work hard, reap the rewards when you’re retired” wouldn’t work for us, because there was a good chance we wouldn’t make it until then. And we’re so glad we had this experience because we might not have taken decisive action to forge a different path otherwise.