Routines help me accomplish more with less energy. Routines remove decisions and thinking, which reduces the need for willpower. Daily willpower is limited, it’s important we preserve it for the hard stuff.
Routines form habits. They're challenging at first, but become automatic after a week or two. As routines become habit, I try adding new ones. Over time strong habits become a powerful lifestyle.
I plan routines for specific times daily. When I wake up, when I get home from work, when the sun sets, etc.
Without a morning routine I have many costly decisions to make. What to wear? What to eat? Do I pack a lunch? If so, what should I pack? Should I have a quiet time? What about journaling? Maybe some light therapy? Is my gym bag ready to go?
I think too much. I try to optimize in real time and get all flustered when things don't go smoothly. I forget things when trying to leave the house. I walk back and forth from my office to my truck misplacing things along the way, all the while my truck is running in the driveway.
I once left my truck running for hours in the driveway, forgetting I was supposed to leave entirely.
My girlfriend finds this hilarious. Sometimes she politely says "goodbye" and "welcome back" repeatedely as I acomplish less than nothing. I can't even...
Making decisions uses finite brain power, willpower and time. When possible, make the best decisions ahead of time and relieve yourself from making them in the moment. The less decisions, the less chance you have at making the wrong one.
Instead, build an automatic routine. The first 10 steps of my morning are predetermined. No wasted energy. I perform them like a robot in auto pilot.
Here’s my current morning routine:
1. Wake up early, walk straight to the kitchen and start the electric kettle.
3. Walk to the bathroom to brush and floss while the water heats.
4. Pour hot water into French press over coffee grounds and pull my lunch out of the fridge setting it on the counter under my keys.
5. Pour coffee into mug and thermos, adding MCT powder, rinse the French press and set on drying rack.
6. Sit under infrared heat lamp (in underwear), with bare feet on grounding mat, sip coffee and read a positive book.
7. Do my “Five Minute Journal” (takes 60 seconds)
8. Get dressed (outfit picked night prior)
9. Grab lunch (leftovers from dinner) or canned sardines and oysters.
10. Kiss my Son (if he’s awake) and Lady goodbye, go to work.
These routines satisfy the type A part of me.
Prep is an important piece to this productivity hack. The kettle is already filled with water the night before. The liquids I ingest and kratom are together in their usual spot and I don’t have to search for them. The coffee was ground and placed in the French press the day before, which sits in the same spot on the counter, next to my kettle, coffee mug, thermos and mct powder.
I use mental energy only for reading and my gratuity practice, “The five minute journal.” These steps give me a happy mindset. Me Likes Happie.
Simple books with a positive message are good for this time. Don't read something too technical or anything negative like tabloids or mainstream news. One of my favorites is "Striking Thoughts" by Bruce Lee. This book activates peacful warrior mind.
My gratuity practice amplifies my mood further. I write six things; three things I'm grateful for and three things that would make today rad.
Example - I’m grateful for:
1. My girlfriend’s legs
3. Double-blind placebo-controlled crossover studies.
Things that would make today rad:
1. Listening to music
2. Reading something interesting
3. Eating a steak
I list new things I'm grateful for every day. This trains the brain to notice positive things and over time increases happiness. I list simple ways the day can be rad that are in my power. When I easily make those things happen, my day qualifies as rad on a subconscious level and I feel good.
After work Routine
My after work routine preps the following morning: grinding coffee, washing thermos, mug and lunch container, picking out tomorrows clothing etc... It also ready’s me for some form of afternoon play or movement: Put on athletic shoes...take pre-workout supplement...smoke a bowl...etc...
I begin the after work routine the moment I step foot inside the house regardless of hunger or motivation. By the time I have my workout gear on I'm somehow in the mood to train...habit.
These routines are HUGE for winning daily, increasing free time and staying on track with health. I recommend them for everyone. I can't find a reason someone wouldnt benefit.
You might think, "But I'm a spontaneous person and I like variety." That’s great, so am I. By creating routines for the mindless things you do every day anyway, you free up resources for spontaneity.
Ifyou have an erratic schedule, set micro routines for what you can control. If A then B routine. If C then D routine. I use these for solid Dad'ing, the ultra task.
Do you use routines? Share your experience in the comments.