The Importance of Routines
I’ve been reading the book, Daily Rituals: How artists work by Mason Currey, which has been meditative in a very unique sense. The book merely recounts the usual, day-to day routines and rituals of famous and acclaimed artists throughout history. Many of the rituals are quite insignificant, or as simple as eating breakfast and immediately jumping to the computer to write for three hours. Other rituals show a bit more complexity and unpredictability, lazing around on distractions, internet, radio, and communicating with friends until at last, procrastination pressures an artist into finally getting to work. Consistently, these geniuses seem to get in a good 3-4 hours of truly inspired and concentrated work. The rest of the day gets lost in side jobs, social obligations and interactions, eating and drinking (emphasis on the drinking for many), menial and dull tasks related to the administration or upkeep of creative work, just sitting and staring at the sky, and even long walking.
I found these accounts to be so encouraging. Gone are the days where I feel guilty because my inspiration isn’t leading me to 8 straight hours of productive practice. I see the importance of setting up a structure around which the work life depends. What you do in the morning, afternoon, and evening - the times in between work - dictates your quality of work. This might seem obvious, but the fact has changed the way I approach my days.
My routines have simplified over time, but here they are:
- Wake up between 8 and 10am, depending on the day.
- Mindfulness/Meditation for 15-20 minutes.
- Walk my dog, Beans (usually takes about an hour).
- 15 minutes of organization, get water, green drink, etc.
- 10 minutes to set my 3-5 main intentions for the day.
The daytime hours consist of taking class, doing admin work, exercise, reading, day job. Working hard, playing hard.
- Magnesium tea
- pre-bedtime hygiene rituals (brush and floss, rosewater/argan oil, cleanse, etc)
- Read fiction or something mindless. :)
None of this is earth shattering or particularly original, but it does create a firm structure for my creative energy to work around. All in all, I believe it is vital to maintain a fair level of flexibility in order to allow spontaneity to reign from time to time - just not always.
When I really think about it, life has so many routines, big and small. It's important to develop rituals that invite a higher quality of life not based on what others do, but based on our own needs and interests.
Here’s to a creatively productive week, friends!