Now this isn’t really a routine, it’s more of a list of things I try to incorporate into my day-to-day life. Given everyday is different and we are out and about, in meetings, on calls, etc., you can’t have set timings for things as easily as you can with the morning or evening.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t stick to doing certain things. This is where habits are important because it’s a lot easier to skip things when we’re distracted by other things around them. The morning/evening stuff is all bunched together so going from one activity to the next is easier than having random ‘must-do’s’ in the day.
I’m guilty of not doing all of these everyday but I try to do at least some. Again be patient with yourself and don’t get upset if you don’t do everything. That only causes more stress and guilt, neither of which are nice to feel.
Write a to-do list:
This is something I only started doing a few months ago but my god it has helped. I know they seem rather insignificant but the difference between having one, and tasks you can visibly see you need to do, and just keeping everything in your mind or randomly written in different places, is huge.
I, like many of you, have a hundred things to do everyday, some more urgent than others. Given most of us work to deadlines, the things most pressing will get put to the top of that list every time. Which means the less important things get pushed down and then you never really end up doing them, they just build over time.
A good rule I learnt was splitting tasks into ABC. A being the most important (no more than 3), B secondary, C least important. No letter should have more than 3 tasks and you should still be able to complete at least 1 task from each letter so if you know the 3 A tasks will take you all day, then that’s too many. The exception is obviously those 3 tasks are due that day.
A to-do list is one of the most repeated things successful people talk about having and there’s a reason for it, it works.
I never used to be a napper. I had too much energy as a kid and arguably still do now. But then I learnt about the benefits (and even importance) of them.
Up to 20 minutes can be really helpful in allowing your body rest in the day and making back any sleep debt from the last 2 weeks. That’s right we can carry sleep debt (ie every minute of sleep we lose from our required amount) for up to 2 weeks and naps are a great way to recover that.
Secondly if you are active and you do a lot of exercise or move around a lot in the day, it’s a good chance to allow your body, and your muscles specifically, to recover.
You don’t have to fall asleep, even just lying there with your eyes closed is enough. I’ve taken on Non-Sleep Deep Rest (credit to Andrew Huberman) which can be achieved either through Yoga Nidra (or Hypnotism). Look these terms up and try them out, they’re great.
1 page a day:
Small thing but I’ll try read one page a day from a book I keep in my bathroom, which changes but is always split into the days of the year. At the moment it’s A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy. Again better than just scrolling on the loo.
Learn a language:
I use an app called Memrise, so I try to do that for 5-10 minutes a day too. Currently learning Portuguese and French (and then also use it to maintain my Spanish and Italian vocab).
I try play one game of chess a day on the Chess app or do a lesson. Want to get good at it as it’s really good for improving your cognitive skills and increasing memory capacity & attention span. Plus think it’s quite cool to be good at it (which is so the opposite when you’re a kid strangely). And I enjoy it.
This is harder to consistently do (more of a weekend thing) but I try to do about 15 minutes of guitar (or piano if I’m in town), whether learning a new song or just practising. Again nice to be able to play and something I’ve done for a while so don’t want to give it up.
I have this app with daily entries so I will write in that when I feel there is something I want to write about. Another type of journal I guess but very unstructured, more just thoughts on a page in the moment, but then again that’s partly what journaling is.
Practice public speaking:
Also something I don’t do regularly but when I can I do try practising my speaking, I use this app called Orai but sometimes I just listen back to myself on various podcasts or videos I’ve done and learn where I can improve.
Wim Hof Method:
The WHM is an app that he created which gets you facing the cold. Obviously I love it and some things in there you can do quite easily which don’t require you to jump in a frozen lake (although looking forward to my first time I can do that). Don’t do it everyday but my cold water dips make up for.
Finally some everyday rules which I may have already incorporated into these routines:
Phone on airplane mode while working
No phone after 8pm, or after 6pm on Sundays
Lights out at 9pm
No snoozing (not at 100% yet, admire those who can get up without fail on first alarm)
No passive use of emails or social media (allowed to check them twice a day for active use ie posting or replying)
So this is a lot if you add it on to all of my routine stuff. You might even question if I get any work done and that I would never be able to do all of this if I worked in an office. That may be true which is part of the reason I left the 9-5. But as I keep saying, I don’t do all of this everyday. The morning and evening routine stuff I will prioritise. The daily stuff I do as and when but if I don’t do them nothing bad happens whereas I can feel a noticeable difference if I miss my morning or evening routine.
This may also change over time and I make it work for me. Start small and you can build on things quite easily. I’ve found sticking to time where possible (ie only doing 5-10 minutes of an activity) helps to then fit more in. Don’t get carried away and do things because you enjoy them not because you feel like you have to or someone told you to.
That’s it for the routine side of things, next journal I’ll be going into some of the science and benefits behind some of the things I do such as cold water therapy and meditation.