I'm obsessed with routines. Other people's routines. I will scour the internet for famous routines of highly successful people. I will ask friends what they do. I will fantasize about my ideal routine in my ideal world. I'm obsessed with this idea of routine because I believe it's where creativity gets born. The fewer distractions, the fewer choices, the more freedom your mind has to discover something new. I still haven't found my perfect routine yet. But I'm committed to figuring one out in the month of November. As I get started I'm going to share the tools I'm using to get there. And selfishly, I would love for you to let me know if you have any that really work for you - from breakfast recipes to iPhone apps. This month is about slimming down the bullshit to beef up on what counts: making awesome stuff.
So here's the list of tools that I'm working with so far:
1. Make boring meals. I'm choosing my meal plan at the beginning of the week to save money, time, and wasted energy on figuring out dinner five nights in a row. Yesterday I baked eggs, ground turkey, and avocado into a muffin tin and wrapped them up in the fridge for the week so Husband and I could have an easy jolt of protein to start our days. This was his brilliant idea and I take no credit for it.
2. Oprah and Deepak Meditation Experience. I've done their guided meditation programs twice before and I've looked forward to it every time. I have been meditating recently without guidance and just my meditation beads, but I know I get deeper into my practice when I have a little mindful nudge. This Energy of Attraction Meditation Experience starts today so you can still sign up. I'm going to try to put this at the beginning of every day before writing and most definitely before emails.
3. Finally batch the emails. This is one that I have been needing to do for over a year now. My relationship to email is haphazard at best. This batching technique is simple - answer your emails twice a day and set up an auto-responder so people know when to expect to hear from you. The key for me is deciding when those times are since my daily schedule varies, and then sticking to it.
4. Podcasts + whatever. The whatever could be walks, cleaning the apartment, playing with Aggy. Cultivating the art of listening is a big one for me. I know I always need to get better at it and there are so many great podcasts out there like The Tim Ferriss Show, WTF with Marc Maron (a Husband favorite that I listen to by default, but love), The Accidental Creative, and essentially anything that NPR produces.
5. Finally batch my work. I tend to work in fits and starts wherever I can find an open moment. This does not necessarily produce a happy home because I find myself overworked. I need to find a set amount of time to sit down and work and when it's done, I need to stand up and walk away from it. This is a tough one.
6. A journaling system. I love morning pages (a handwritten free write for three pages first thing in the morning) like Julia Cameron suggests in The Artist's Way, but for a quick mid-afternoon burst, I like Grid Diary on my iPhone to keep myself focused. The app lets me set up questions to ask myself ranging from how much money did I spend today to what made me laugh today. I have found it helpful to check in with myself throughout the day.
7. Create a physical relationship to my work. This one will definitely be figured out over the long haul. A lot of my work is writing or preparation which both require vast amounts of sitting. I'm active every day because I personally train others and teach group fitness classes, but to create a physical relationship to my work means allowing my body to get in its own zone and allowing my thoughts to be absorbed into that moment. Sometimes it's yoga, sometimes it's a run, or even just a walk. But I have to give myself time to be physically absorbed to free my always-thinking head.
What tools do you use to create structure and routine in your days? This is one of the most interesting topics to me so even if it seems mundane, please let me know in the comments. I want to steal all of your brilliance.
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