My Current Routine and Habits (aka What Keeps Me Alive + Thriving, Feb. ’13 Edition)

tai chi in Kauai


The daily routine.

As a traveler, and with my environment constantly changing, I really like that I always have something to come back to, something to keep me grounded, and to keep me sane.

If I didn’t do this stuff (like eating right, meditating, exercising)—you know, the stuff that I know keeps me going—I would have gone insane a loooooooong time ago.

Travel can definitely be a challenge, and I’m not immune; I’ve just learned ways to take care of myself amidst the craziness, and how to cope with what comes along (and how to mitigate the disasters).


But have I always been a routine ninja?

Um…. no.

Way back in the day, instead of meditating, usually the first thing I did when I woke up was to turn on my computer with my foot (PC desktop FTW!) as I passed my desk to enter the bathroom.


What did a basic day look like?

Four years ago, before I started traveling and was acting in LA, I pretty much got out of bed around 9 am, checked email and surfed online, then went to my survival job for 5-6 hours, came home, ate, and then either went to rehearsal or watched a movie.

Occasionally, I’d use the elliptical machine in my guest house. Went to bed around midnight or 1 am pretty regularly. I wasn’t eating horribly, but I still had a lot to learn about nutrition.

Cut to 2011…

Two years ago, I was meditating daily, exercising more regularly, making green smoothies every now and then, and  journaling occasionally.

Right around this time was also when Jacob and I embarked on our six hours of fundamentals routine every morning! We were getting up at 5:45 am to begin with meditation, then a walk outside, smoothie, journaling, creative work, and so on.

Intense, and I think really showed to both of us what is possible when you commit to stuff like this.


So what’s the CURRENT plan for each day?

Here’s the February 2013 version…


Morning Routine:

  • Wake up at 7 am
    • I recently started *not* setting an alarm, and this seems to be working out well—I tend to wake up right around 7… and now I just need to actually get out of bed at that time. ;)
  • Drink 2 cups of room-temperature water, preferably with fresh-squeezed lemon, and cayenne pepper/raw honey, if available
  • Creative work for 1 hour: writing, brainstorming (could be related to this site, the show, or another project)
  • Exercise for 20-30 minutes (check out that page for videos), usually while listening to a PhilosophersNote; one of the following: yoga, tai chi, balance, strength, hips, energization
  • Meditation for 30 minutes using Blissitations
  • After meditation, say 5 things I’m grateful for, along with my current mantras/declarations
  • Green Smoothie Time!
  • Dive into more creative work (or time-sensitive client work – virtual assistant stuff) for 2 hours
  • I may have a small snack in the late morning: maybe nuts or a piece of fruit


Afternoon Routine:

  • NO Facebook/Twitter/Youtube or Gmail before 12 pm. This is a recent addition and really glad I finally committed to this! (The exception is for time-sensitive work that requires email, but it’s still up to me not to be pulled into a rabbit hole).
    • For this to work, I needed to really accept that I have to accept that whatever is in there, will keep. If it’s really important, someone will call. Otherwise, it can wait a few hours.
    • So yeah, right around noon, I tend to catch up on this stuff, working as quickly as I can, and noting anything I want to read for later.
    • It very much DID take effort to *not* check email in the morning—using these other sites are often what I use as a distraction, and when I feel that resistance during creative time (“don’t want to keep working”), I need to consciously choose to stay focused and on the task at hand!
    • If I feel absolutely compelled to share something on FB/T, I can use the OSX Notification system to publish without going to those sites – sweet!
  • Spend 20 minutes outside in the sun
  • Make lunch, usually a giant salad.
  • Work for another 2-3 hours: usually virtual assistant work, and on my blog
  • Before the sun sets, I like to go out for a walk, but this doesn’t always happen


Evening Routine:

  • 15 minute Meditation around 6 pm using Blissitations (though I’d like to push this to before the sunset—I’m not a fan of opening my eyes to complete darkness outside)
  • After meditation (while still sitting), and focus exercises
  • Prep dinner: usually some cooked vegetables or maybe something more creative
  • NO eating after 8 pm—rarely am I eating because I’m starving; it’s usually snacking that I can do without, and my body will thank me for it! (Another recent addition and doing pretty good with this one! Surprisingly, I haven’t died from starvation!)
  • Perhaps a bit more work on the computer, maybe some reading (online) or watching something (current faves are Breaking Bad or Deadwood)
  • I’ll also update my iDoneThis report for the day with current status on all fronts (Health, Creative, Work, Travel)
  • Brush teeth and floss
  • Playing some ukulele and/or a bit of reading (on Kindle) before lights out, hopefully around 11 pm


I also like to hit Inbox Zero once per 24 hours—that means a clean Inbox (no unread or pending messages—either everything is acted upon, responded, or boomeranged for another time).

And I use TimeOut to help me take breaks throughout the day (though I’m still hitting “snooze” more than I’d like—I’m outsmarting myself!).


What would I still like to have in my daily routine?

  • Implement OmniFocus into my life; I have systems to record stuff, but it’s not all centrally located.
    • I’d love to have one system for EVERYTHING, instead of Gmail and Workflowy and TeuxDeux, and my daily @Today text file.
  • Have a digital sunset, where all my electronics power down at the same time the sun does: so no computer or television after sunset.
    • Most nights I’m still on the computer after 10 pm, checking email, wrapping up stuff, etc. Probably unnecessary, but I don’t have as strict a habit as in the morning—yet.
    • I’m keen on this one because I want to unwind and relax at the end of the day as my energy wanes, and I think it’s unhealthy on my eyes to be taking in all that external (and unnatural) light.
    • I do still feel like there’s work to do at night, and I have energy, so not sure how I’ll tweak this, but it’s still on my radar.


So am I perfect? Do I hit this every day?

No way, Jose. (And I’m not just talking to my current Couchsurfing host).

Often I do need to get on email in the morning, or I’ll have to skip exercising, or my evening meditation, or I’ll eat after 8 pm, or… you get the picture.

I would say more often than not, I am sticking to this routine, and being SUPER PRODUCTIVE in the process.

The 80-20 rule is really key here (simply, I shoot for doing this stuff 80% of the time—and usually it’s more). Again, there’s no prize for being perfect.


Again: I adhere to this not because I want to torture myself, but because I feel this system serves me. As things change and evolve, parts may need to tweak and the best thing I can do is be flexible with it.

But for right now: it’s great and I’m excited to keep rocking this routine!


How’s your routine? :)


From the road…