My Current Routine and Habits (aka What Keeps Me Alive + Thriving, Feb. ’13 Edition)
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?
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…
- 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. ;)
- Tongue scraper
- 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
- 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
- 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), eye yoga 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.
- 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…