"Set a damn schedule!" - I nearly had to rip my headphones off as clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson screamed into my ear as I watched his lecture on how we as humans best operate on a consistent schedule and routine. On a psychological level; it improves your mood, alleviates symptoms of depression, and develops discipline.
Dr. Peterson being so vocal and open about this idea made me think a lot about what happens in a day and what it is that I normally do on a daily basis that isn't worth my time or propels me forward to being a better person.
I noticed myself having more and more of these fleeting and quiet moments; either while brushing my teeth, sitting in my bed in the early morning, while washing the dishes, etc. to reflect on what unproductive activities I can swap out for activities that do matter in my life. These moments, I have found, if you immerse yourself in them can lead to internal motivators for you to make a change. Especially if you feel as if you're not on the right course of where you should be going.
It's truly a feat of discipline and massive effort to be able to do, but I've established a routine that I have been trying to stick to and this is it. Sure, a lot of my decisions can be questionable, but they're intrinsically motivated (and that's the key) to maintaining a routine - or so I like to tell myself.
Morning priming is a ten minute yoga and meditation exercise Tony Robbins does every morning to set himself up for the day and is something I've modified and incorporated into my routine. My mornings are very important to me as I have realized that my peak productivity occurs in the morning. So from the moment I wake, I refrain from all electronics and social media as much as possible. The reason being that it's a time for me to focus on myself. A time to be centered and detached from the world as everyone else is still asleep. I absolutely try to micro-manage my morning routine to a tee.
- 4:00 AM - Wake Up
- 4:15AM - Meditation & Mindfulness
- 4:45 AM - Workout/Cardio/Yoga/Boxing
- 5:45 AM - Shower & Breakfast
- 6:00 AM - Daily Goals & Visualizations
- 6:30 AM - Leave Home
("Why do you get up at 4 AM? Isn't that way to early?" I'm often asked by my friends and family with a side eyebrow raised. Honestly, it wasn't something I pulled from a self-help book or anything like that, but rather from my mom. At 60 years of age, she wakes up to go to work after making her bed to a near level of perfection. Once I started noticing this, I consistently reminded myself: your mom who provides for you wakes up at 4AM every morning to go to work. There is absolutely no reason to why you get to wake up any later than her. - From that point on, I've always made it a goal to wake up at 4 AM. Like I said; intrinsic motivation.)
Start of Day
At this point, it's a free for all for whatever happens, because well, life. I always do try my best to be consistent with whatever happens during the day though. With work, meetings, socializing, and etc. I always try to be home by a certain time, but that's not always the case. And that's completely alright.
- 7:00AM - Reading & Emails
- 8:00 AM - Day Job Work
- 4:00 PM - Side Projects and Studying
Evening Wind Down
Whatever happens during the day, I always try to bring it back to a scheduled wind down period for the evening. Similar to how I start my mornings, I like to end it on a good note as well. So I can better set myself up for the next day and the rest of the week. I cut myself off from electronics, set my alarm with the phone facing down, and proceed to some meditation and reading before I actually go to bed.
- 7:00 PM - Shower & Dinner
- 8:00PM - Planning, Review, & Reflection
- 8:30 PM - Meditation
- 9:00 PM - Reading
- 10:00 PM - Rest
I've come to realize after logging and reviewing the hours in my day that I waste a hell of a lot of it. Whether it be excess social media, playing video games, or watching random YouTube videos. I've been actively making an effort to cut these consumption based activities from my life in place for hobbies and production-based such as playing guitar, volunteering, reading, writing, exercising, cooking, and taking classes. Micro-routines play an immense role in my life as well. Such as remembering to drink more water, being aware of my posture, going on a brisk walk, or just getting some sunshine. This has drastically changed the way I live and reflect on life.
Of course, everybody's schedule is going to be different. With family duties, multiple jobs, and whatever else it may be. It took me a lot of time, experimentation, and tweaking my schedule in order for it to work for me. But I know for sure that whenever I am able to go to bed that day knowing I had accomplished what I did, it's an amazing feeling you want to consistently carry with you onto the next day and throughout the week.
I highly urge everyone to make time for these quiet moments. These moments that remind you that your time is truly limited on this planet. Remember, it's not that you don't have the time; it's just that it's not a priority for you. Go and make time for the things that matter. So go forth, and set a damn schedule!