I used to fight having a daily routine. As a lover of novelty and adventure, being locked into a routine felt suffocating. I was worried too much routine would leave me feeling uninspired and bored.
But, as most seasoned artists know, routines can be the opposite of confining. Instead, they can be incredibly freeing.
When we engage in routines, we are freeing our brain from various factors that can impact our productivity, emotional state, and behaviors.
Routines can help:
- Reduce decision fatigue, resulting in less stress, overwhelm, and anxiety about our day.
- Help in habit formation by allowing us to go on autopilot, helping us not have to think about the habits we want to build.
- Accelerate our goals by acting as a focusing mechanism, allowing us to carve out specific times in each day for certain activities.
For example, when I’m at home, this is my typical day:
6:15-7:00 am: Wake up. Listen to the Daily Stoic and NPR Up First podcasts while getting ready. I also drink Athletic Greens, do five pull-ups, and do some light stretching/foam rolling.
7:00-8:30 am: Walk my dog to a coffee shop and write for about 90 minutes.
8:45-9:15 am: Walk back and make breakfast. Usually, this is steel-cut oatmeal with flax seeds, cinnamon, and almond butter stirred in topped with berries and either scrambled eggs or a vegan protein powder shake.
9:15-10:15 am: First workout of the day. The length depends on what I’m working on that day (HIIT workouts take less time; handstands take more)
10:30-12:00 pm: Shower and break to read, do coursework, or maybe take my dog for another walk while listening to an audiobook. I also eat lunch during this time.
12:00-1:30 pm: Another focused work or writing session.
1:30-2:00 pm: Power nap, meditation session, or self-hypnosis.
2:00-5:00 pm: Creative work, client work, filming, video calls, or homework/reading, depending on what projects I have going on. I’ll definitely eat a meal sometime during this stretch as well.
5:00-6:00 pm: Second workout of the day OR just something active like skateboarding, shooting baskets, or taking a long walk or bike ride.
6:30-7:00 pm: Dinner. Usually something like a healthy stir fry, pasta with veggies, a burrito bowl, or Thai food (my favorite).
7:00-10:00 pm: Chill time to read, stretch, journal, take care of household stuff, hang with my pets, etc.
10:00 pm: Bedtime.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I want to follow this same routine every single day for the rest of my life. Some variety is good, which is why I often seek out travel or new experiences to add in some novelty, adventure, and play.
What I’m reading —
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappinessby Mark Williams, John Teasedale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
If you’ve ever struggled with depression, you know just how difficult it can be. This book brings together a combination of mindfulness and cognitive therapy to help you break the cycle of depression. Highly recommended, even if you’ve only ever experienced mild depression.
What I’m listening to —
The Kingdom of Sleep: A Conversation With Matthew Walker / Making Sense Podcast with Sam Harris
This is a monster of a podcast (it runs about three and a half hours) about sleep from the author of Why We Sleep. Harris and Walker talk about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sleep, from the evolutionary origins of sleep, to sleep timing, hygiene, efficiency, tracking, and much more.
A quote that inspires me —
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn
What I’m training —
I’ve recently been trying to improve my jump height and form. Here are some exercises I posted on Instagram to help you build some hops.
Three new workouts —
Challenger Jump Rope HIIT Workout (12 minute, jump rope, plyo box)
Tough Total Body AMRAP Workout (AMRAP, pull-up bar, dip bar or parallel bars)
345 Rep Fire Challenge Workout (Time challenge, dip bar)
You can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete.
Questions? Feedback? Content requests?
Please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!
Here’s to creating routine that free us,