Routines

5:28:00 PM


"Most of life is routine - dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration, you'll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street."
Ben Nicholas

I'm a creature of habit and I'm proud of it.

I like that (despite what we all try to prove with our highly-curated Instagram feeds) most of life is mundane and spent doing repetitive things. Routines are comforting—I’m always comfort over anything—and, if done right, can bring great productivity and a sense of peace and stability to one's life.

And I have no shame about keeping a comfort zone, even though the cardinal rule of being a creative is to break free from it and thrive in the lack of systems.

We tend to associate creativity with freedom and chaos (to me, that's the real irony tbh), so when someone starts talking about routines and being habitual, we creative types are often taken aback. And it's a silly thing, if you really think about it.

Far from stifling, routines in fact allow creativity an even greater freedom to run its course. Giving our days a sense of structure:

  • ensures productivity even if the magical unicorn drug that is inspiration is nowhere to be found (read: things get done no matter what), 
  • kills half of our distractions (read: chores that creep up the harder we try to ignore them),
  • keeps us in check and on track with our goals (read: hi-ho, to a succesful adulting we go), 
  • and gives us more time (read: the time that gets buried in the chaos and confusion of our disorganized lives) for rest and to do actual enjoyable things. 

Routines only become unprofitable if it's: made up of bad habits (DUH), overly structured (I mean, don't schedule the day down to the last minute) and not made to play on one's own strengths or personal culture.

Of course, routines are hardly perfect and non-formulaic. It's not meant to look the same way for everyone and it's okay to fall behind every once in a while. Even the most compulsive people I know have off days—pathological procrastinators such as myself have them frequently—which isn't too big of a problem (spontaneity is a much needed spice of life) as long as one stays disciplined for the most part.

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So for the start of this year, I want to focus on creating a daily routine that's made up of healthy habits, activities and chores segmented into certain parts of the day, depending on level of priority, urgency and when I'm most efficient to do each activity.

I already designed it—the goal is to be consistent with it. (When it comes to routines, you have to understand that the "creating" is in the doing—writing it down is just writing it down.) After much [objective] introspection, here's what I got:

Routines | Awesome in Manila

A few things:

  • My morning routine mostly consists of spiritually, physically and mentally stimulating activities. This is because I have an obsession over starting right. Sometimes I'm thrown off-game when I wake up too late for one or two activities in my schedule, and those days usually progress as some of the worst if not unbearably "meh" days of my life.
  • I didn't assign specific hours for each activity, simply because the time it takes to accomplish them may vary upon external and internal factors. And I don't want to have to go through each task in a robotic manner, as if it's a matter of life and death to follow a rigid schedule. Ideally, I'd have a set time for both waking up and sleeping but the rest of my day should be naturally lived out.
  • I didn't include an afternoon routine so as to allow myself a breathing room and a space to be creative. I usually write in the afternoon—if I'm not napping, brainstorming, attending meetings or whatever else there is to do.

Important to note that this isn't set in stone, and my daily routine is subject to improvements as I too change (hopefully for the better).

There you have it. Even though I have not the slightest idea how I even want this year to turn out, I find peace in knowing that I have something that can help keep me productive and [somewhat] organized.

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How about you?

1- Do you follow a routine or are you against the concept of structure? Don't be afraid to state your opinions, there is no right or wrong answer!

2 - Have you started working on your yearly goals? Or are you baby step-ing your way through 2016 as well?

3 - And lastly, would you like to be a contributor? Tell me what you have in mind, so we can work out a schedule!

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Quote of the Day

"Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."
CS Lewis

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