One of the biggest inspirations for Project Renaissance was my realisation that I do many things habitually. Some of these things are good things: I clean my teeth, I shower, I eat breakfast.
Other things – not so much. I have a lot of bad habits around internet and media consumption, which is a huge time and energy suck. I have some bad habits around work and procrastination, which probably started out as avoidance tactics, and have become habitual.
Habits are powerful things: we do so much unconsciously, and having a habit for something allows you to bypass the decision-making part of your brain, leaving more mental bandwidth for other things. The habits we develop, therefore, have a huge impact on how our life works on a day-to-day level.
I think there’s a lot I could do to increase my happiness and satisfaction in life if I change some of my habits. So the first thing I want to tackle is to break down my daily routines and look for things that I do every day, both bad and good, and how I can shift my routines to incorporate more good habits and eliminate some of the not-so-good ones.
My current daily routine (such as it is), looks something like this: (this is for weekdays)
- Getting up: this has wildly fluctuated recently, but my alarm goes off at 6.50, and I am normally out of bed around 7.20. I would really like to reclaim this half hour from the snooze button to give me more time in the morning.
- I wash my hair every other day, otherwise it’s just a quick shower or a wash, dress, apply a touch of makeup (5 minutes only!). If I’ve washed my hair, drying and styling takes about ten minutes extra.
- I head downstairs, feed the cat if my fiance hasn’t done so already, put on a pot of tea, make my lunch, and have breakfast. Sometimes I watch BBC Breakfast while I’m finishing my tea.
- I clean my teeth, and am normally ready to head out of the door to work any time between 8 and 8.45.
Because of the nature of my work, I don’t have defined office hours, but my fiance normally stops by the office to pick me up around 5.30 to 6.00 pm. I would really like this time to become a bit more consistent, but at the moment, that could be tricky.
- Once we’re home, normally around six, the cat gets fed and watered, and we normally have a cup of tea straight away.
- I do all the cooking in our house, which normally occupies me for anything between ten minutes and half an hour on a week night.
- By the time we’ve eaten and cleaned up, it’s normally about eight o’clock.
- Bedtime has varied wildly recently as well – if the TV is on, I normally can’t help watching the new at 10 pm, and go to bed after that. It’s a rare night that I get to bed before 10, and normally is any time between 11 and midnight.
Typing it all out like this is enlightening. There are lots of issues to address, but the first things that strike me:
- Getting up and going to sleep: I think I would feel a lot more settled if these times could be a bit more consistent, at least during the working week.
- Ditto for leaving for work and arriving home. I think I need to define a morning, homecoming and pre-bed routine.
- My main chunk of interrupted leisure time is after dinner. I want to use this time better.
- Similarly, there is often a little bit of time between coming home and starting dinner. I actually have no idea what I normally do here, but it’s time that could perhaps be used more fruitfully.
We don’t have many regular evening commitments, except for a Wednesday evening dance class, and a bi-weekly German conversation group I try to go to when I have the energy.
There is a lot I can work on here: time to ponder where to start!
What about you: what’s your daily routine like, and how would you like to change it?