Establishing A Daily Routine

One of the essential practices in the vein of Slow Compounding is to establish a daily routine. Daily routine is essentially a set of activities that you do every day and have specific time market out or a specific goal chalked out. Most successful creative artists have a rigorous daily routine that they practice for decades.

One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now. – Paulo Coelho

Here are some tips for making this idea practical :

Identify the basic components of your goals

Let us say, you want to write a novel. The basic component of writing a novel is writing. Every novel starts with a sentence, and then another one. A successful routine in such a case would be to write.

“He said that it’s a very good idea that after you write a little bit, stop and then copy it. Because while you’re copying it, you’re thinking about it, and it’s giving you other ideas. And that’s the way I work. And it’s marvelous, just wonderful, the relationship between working and copying.” --- Morton Feldman about John Cage

Identify the basic minimum you can do EVERY day

It is very important to achieve consistency in a routine. The enthusiasm due to novelty makes one to try and do things excessively. It is not uncommon to see people jog a lot on the first day of the practice and then never do it again. It is important to pick up a goal that is doable for the next ten years. For a musician, it could to play the instrument every day for as less as 10 minutes. You can increase the time once you do it consistently for at least a couple of months.

“I think most writers would be very happy with two hours of concentrated work." -- Martin Amis

See if a consistent time increases your productivity

Many people report better success in their routines, if they do it at a consistent time. Authors talk about writing every morning when their mind if fresh. Some talk about composing late in the night. See if you are a person who benefits by setting up a regular time slot for a particular activity. If you decide to choose a particular time, try and stick to the same.

“Mornings are so precious because it’s when I’m most productive. For me, thirty minutes at 5:30am is equivalent to at least an hour at 3:00pm.” – Whitney Johnson

Track rigorously

I use a tracking software on my phone where I have set up daily, weekly and monthly routines that give me reminders every day. When I do not complete an activity it turns into an ugly red that reminds me to complete it. You can use any software or even a diary to track the routine. It gives you feedback on whether you are picking up the wrong activities, or wrong quantities of activities. Tracking also gives you the much needed confidence to continue the routine - a sense of success.

Modify based on feedback

The daily routine tells you what you really are interested in. By no means, it is set in stone - but it is today's reality of your preferences. If you are not able to carry out an activity for a long time, it means you are not interested in it. It means you are not convinced of its importance. And it really may not be that important to you or it may just be a fancy. Whatever may be the reality, it would set you thinking about what is important in the current scheme of your goals. If you feel something is important and you are not able to stick to a routine, you can question if that activity is a basic component of your goal or how you can make it more attractive to yourself. You can even reduce the frequency of the activity or eliminate it altogether.

Be kind to yourself

You are bound to miss some of the activities once in a while. We are not robots. Keep some leeway in the routine. Keep the opportunity of catching up later if you miss the activity one day.

In one minute you can change your attitude, and in that minute you can change your entire day. – Spencer Johnson

Reward yourself

Feeling happy about the routine is extremely important. A routine is a manifestation of your deep interests and a way to materialize them in the real world. It is not a punishment. Try to see the fun factor in the routine. Reward yourself once in a while for keeping up with the routine.

And last but not the least

Keep it dynamic

Everyone keeps changing and the goals keep changing too. If your routine does not reflect this, you have a problem. You are doing stuff just due the habit of doing it in the past. The whole process of tracking and reviewing should be done in the spirit of tracking the dynamic person that you are. Tracking your changing interests, your changing personality. It is important to see this dynamism in the routine or even capture it in the composition of the activities.

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker

All the best, and please let me know how your routine is going by sending me an email. The details are at the contact us page.