The paradox of daily routines
“For discipline is imposed not just on oneself but on those in one’s orbit.” — Philip Roth
There’s a paradox with routines: on the hand, they’re stultifyingly boring, and, yet, when we turn up every day — same place, same time, same routine — we (often) get our best work done.
If you’ve studied the science of habits, then you’ll quickly realise their success rests on deliberate practice. That way, in effect, you give yourself no choice.
Right now, I’m revisiting my habits, particularly those first thing and at the end of the day. With a paid job to do (I’m still freelance), I’m acutely aware that if I don’t, I’m going to waste great swathes of time messing about online, doodling and not being productive. In essence, if I want to ship more of my work, I can’t afford to waste a single moment in this mode.
But, at the same time, I need to be mindful of not stifling my creativity. Too much routine often leads to fatigue both spiritually and physically.
One thing that I’ve learned, over these past few years, since stepping away from my former life as a lawyer, is that fresh air, nature and exercise not just has massive health benefits, it’s hugely restorative in keeping things in perspective. Not just that but it quietens my mind — Resistance is never far away.
What about you? What daily rituals have you adopted that have made a difference in your life?