Monday, May 7, 2018

Thoughts on ideal daily routine

Lose an hour in the morning and chase it all day - Yiddish saying via Tim Ferris, Jason Fried


The linked medium post got me thinking about my morning routine. There were days where I followed my routine and it worked wonders in my day and there were times when I got distracted and it ended up ruining my day. So I'm thinking back to see what was the routine on the day that worked well and what was the routine on the day that didn't work so well so that I can redesign my ideal routine and commit to it.


The biggest ruiner of my day is reading news online first thing in the day. I know that has ruined my day many times and sometimes and just fool myself into thinking that I can do it for five minutes and close it. But it reality I have never closed it before 20 minutes. I only have one hour a day to study for myself and I waste 20 minutes out of that. So this is the first thing I have to avoid at any cost. On the contrary, the best start for the day was when I started working directly on my most important priority of the day.


Next thing that made a good day was to journal - just think about yesterday and today and to clearly spell out what I'm doing today, how I'm going to accomplish as said by Ben Hardy will really make me very productive.



Next is to overcome Parkinson's law by scheduling minimum amount of time for any work. Deadlines help. I become more focused when I have deadlines and when the deadlines are near.

Next is the good water and food rule. When I'm well rested and had good food, I don't get distracted often.


Whenever I feel grateful for what I have, I'm motivated. Also when I'm excited about starting something new at work, I'm excited too - especially new ideas.


When I start reading any exciting news article - it is so exciting to me that I will do that at the expense of other things - so this is something which is very damaging to my scheduled tasks and productivity. But these are the things that are very very interesting to me that if I stop doing them completely it feels something is missing and I will crash hard if I just abstain from it for a few days. I have to schedule sometime for these daily so that I can feel that I'm aware of the latest happenings around the world and exciting things in the areas I'm interested in.

Also when I'm working on something with full focus, there is less chance of missing something or skipping something. So I'm fully present in my work and do my best work which is of course obvious.

Distractions masked as focus:

Another thing that distracts is when I'm working on some development which needs more focus and my brain thinks it is easy to get distracted so I try to focus by listening to something but to identify that something takes time and most of the times it is podcasts or youtube videos. Sometimes these are boring and I again change it and try changing them etc. Also when I'm listening to podcasts or other prosy stuff on youtube, my attention is obviously distracted. The only safe thing that works is classical or lyric less music - so there should be an easy and simple way to always select and listen to that in one click so that I don't get distracted on youtube or google play music trying to find the right music.


Another thing that distracts is if I find something which scares me which is generally about money, health or work. This kind of triggers a fight or flight response which overwhelms anything else I know of. So it is obviously better if I don't know of things that trigger this kind of response.

Escaping effort:

Also the main reason for getting is distracted is the inability to wait - inability to wait while project is building, inability to wait for a few seconds to put some mental effort and the concept of avoiding effort. Our brain wants to put minimal effort into things and each time we have to think to make an effort, it becomes a challenge. So if we develop it into a habit it will be easier. So this should be added to my do not do list.


Then after I come home, it will be great to teach something to my son. If I spent time with him it is very satisfactory. One of the worst days is when  just switch on the TV and sit infront of it mindlessly playing things from youtube there. Often times just scheduling something in the evening can get me out of this trap.

Summarizing the best things in my routine are

- Starting the work directly
- Journalling
- Scheduling minimum amount of time to complete the work
- working without distractions
- Playing study music (classical or lyric less)
- Getting used to waiting
- Scheduling something in the evening
- Count your blessings

The do not do items are

- Do not Open a browser first
- Do not browse while waiting for application to come up
- Do not get the music from youtube or play podcasts
- Do not research on  non office work especially exciting news or scary things in office.
- Do not work without deadlines or a plan

If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.

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