For a long time now I’ve known that routine is my enemy, the one thing I certainly don’t want to be a slave to.
At the beginning of 2015 I set about making sure that I added something useful to this site every day. The intention was to write something that would be useful to my readers and also make sure that by New Year 2016, I would have added 365 posts to this blog. So far? 22 posts. I stopped on January 21st, but I added a new post of sorts on April 1st. By now, if I had stuck to my intentions there would have been 117 posts so far this year. As it stands I am 95 or so posts short of that aim.
Notice that I instinctively used the words intentions and aim, not plan or target or goal. This is because I have had an almost visceral fear of falling into the trap of routine since I started to change my life around a few years ago. Goal setting and targets are just too similar to all of the business jargon and bullshit I suffered for so long. Getting off of the hamster wheel of doom was such a big thing for me that anything resembling it, in the form of goals, targets or routines make me feel queazy.
However, what I’ve realised more recently is that for those 21 days in January this year, I was following a routine, a writing routine and I churned out a good amount of stuff that I hope has been of use to someone. I set a goal to write every day and I did it…at least for 3 weeks anyway 😉 It felt good and not doing it felt bad, but as each day went past without any new writing appearing on Restless Peasant the task seemed to grow bigger and bigger and as a result, less and less do-able to me.
The very thing I was fighting against i.e. routine, was actually helping me and the very thing I was writing about i.e. how to push ahead and get things done slipped away from me as soon as I broke the pattern of that routine.
Steven Pressfield turns up every day, as do Seth Godin and Maria Popova…people who I admire and who are doing exactly what they want to do…no hamster wheels for them. Many other great bloggers, writers, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs just turn up everyday, do what they love and add something to the mix of humanity. They follow routines.
So today, my anti-resolution from January will restart…ok there will be a 95 day sized hole in the thing when we meet up in 2016, but that doesn’t matter.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that routine is still bad, yes I still hate it and so should you…it’s a killer, but having a routine for each of the things you want to achieve is good. Call these habits if it feels better. These individual, bespoke, self contained routines (habits) are a whole other thing and forming good habits that allow you to get the things you want to do done will always pay you back more than you invest.
Ditch Routine; embrace Routines