Regular routine activities are an important way to arrange our day, or the week, for a number of reasons. One of the most important, and obvious reason, is to make sure we accomplish the critical tasks that need to be done. Home-based tasks like cooking and cleaning, are one example. Another example is work related routines, like answering email at specific times of the day, or tackling the least enjoyable tasks first at work.
Not all routines are of the “work” kind. For example, what is the first thing you do when you wake up? Is it a cup of coffee and morning news, an exercise routine, or a morning meditation? Do you make it a regular routine to take someone different out to lunch Monday through Friday, to share conversation and ideas? These personal routines are sometimes the most important ones we have.
We can develop routines without thinking about them. This can be good, but it can also have a negative impact, especially if those routines make us counter-productive. Taking time to think about how we start the day, what we do to nourish our minds and our souls, is just as important as figuring out how to organize our work day to manage phone calls, meetings or emails. Creating time for physical exercise, social activity, restful moments, and time to pursue personal interests are clearly important to balance our lives.
One of my favorite personal routines is to take a morning hike on the weekends. I find this time is valuable, as it is an opportunity to appreciate the natural surroundings and my place in them, and it affords me quiet time to think creatively on almost any subject that has been impacting me during the week. This often relates to work, although not always, and I can’t tell you how many times while hiking I’ve developed new ideas to address with my team.
I think it’s interesting to note what some of the creative minds of our times have done in their typical daily routines. I recently came across this graphic showing how 16 famously creative minds organized their days. What were their routines? A few of them are a little off the deep end for me (Balzac drank 50 cups of coffee a day?), but I can also recognize some that I relate to. I also found the leading question from Ben Franklin inspiring: What good shall I do today? What a great question for a morning meditation.
What good shall you do today?