It was a year ago, February 4th. The group of men were gathered around the TV looking shocked and forlorn. I couldn’t see the screen but was imagining some sort of horrible breaking news story. I elbowed my way to closer look at the screen. It was a sports channel showing Super Bowl highlights.

“What’s wrong?”

A stoic weightlifter looked on the verge of tears. “Football is over.”

An unshaven buddy shook his head and choked back a sob.: “There’s nothing left but winter.”

Hoo Boy. Here we go again.

I’ve heard it called Febrrrrruary, Funkuary, and the only month on the calendar with 90 days.

But, before we all start medicating ourselves with Cheetos, let’s remember February is not a What month, but more importantly a When month.

My wife, Libby, gave me a book by the same title for Christmas, When, by a guy named Daniel Pink, and I’ll rank it as the Number 5 Must-Read for Those in a Winter Funk (the first four are written by me;)).

Mr. Pink contends, with many studies to back him up, that the secret to getting the most out of your life is figuring out not just what to do but when to do it. As a self-employed person who (theoretically) can do whatever I want, whenever I want, let me tell you, February is an excellent when month. Here are some tips from Mr. Pink’s book and a few others I’ve picked up on the way:

The Day Starts at Nine. As in 9 pm. As in the night before. Life coach, trainer and author Jim Rieffenberger uses this method in his business. “If I am to give my best to my clients at 4:30 am, that means ending my day with plenty of time to plan tomorrow and getting the rest I need to serve them,” he says. It seems true for all of us—we tend to waste more hours at the end of our day than at the beginning. Maybe in February, exchanging one of those wasted-at-the-end-of-the-day-eating-ice-cream-while-watching-Ninja-Warriors-hours for sleep may give you the motivation, rest and energy to leap to your feet the next morning and become a Ninja Warrior!

Drink Well. No one can get through a work day without drinking something. So, of course you need hydration after a full night’s sleep. A tall glass of water right after you get up is a habit that is surprisingly easy to get into. And if you have a little afternoon slump, I have added Pink’s suggestion that really works: a nappuccino! Drink a cup of coffee and follow it with a 25-minute nap chaser. By the time the alarm goes off, you’ve knocked the edge off your fatigue, and the caffeine has reached your bloodstream. It is awesome!

Start well. We all know that New Year’s is a common starting place. Well, so is Monday. So is your birthday. So is any holiday. If failure is common (and in my experience, it certainly is), the secret is to start more. If we need to start 100 different diets before you find the one that works, I guess that’s what we need to do (I’m with you, buddy!).

Dream well. One winter I spent time each morning in a chair, daydreaming—imagining what my life could be. I found the exercise so pleasing that had no mid-winter depression that winter. And I’ve done it every winter since.

Change well. We first gave up watching TV during Lent when the kids were little, deciding instead to read stories or play games. These peaceful, quite evenings were amazing for our family and helped us eventually kick our TV habit. Now that the kids are grown I now start many big projects in the same season. All four of my books I started on Ash Wednesday and finished by Independence Day. In fact, I will start writing my next crime novel, Dead Line on Ash Wednesday (shameless plug) and plan on having it published by November.