One of the nice things about having a job is you don’t have to think much about your routine. Your daily 9-5 (or whatever) acts as an anchor in your schedule – something large and predictable you can plan your day or life around. Each of your days kind of looks the same. You wake up, maybe do something (exercise, breakfast, walk) and then get to work. After work, it’s the same think – eat, TV or read, get to sleep. You might fit in some hobbies, socializing, or save it all for the weekend. While it might not sound glamorous, it’s predictable. And like it or not, we are creatures of habit who crave predictability.
For the last 8 months I’ve been drifting without an anchor. At first, it was liberating. Free from meetings and a schedule I would sleep in, play video games, go to a coffee shop to read when I felt like it, and ride my Peloton. But then the days flowed into one another with little consistency or repetition and I felt stuck.
I tried throughout the year to create a routine once I started client work, but failed. I couldn’t stick to anything. The only routine and anchor I’ve managed to stick to has been my running training, but it’s hard to plan your life around 2h workouts every other day! I’ve made a list of the things I want to do in a day, sketched a calendar on my whiteboard, and attempted iterations of a plan. I have no idea what I’m doing though and days continue to pass me by where they feel half well-spent.
As TKS sessions start up, I have the opportunity to build a new routine. I have an unnatural amount of freedom in my schedule which is exciting and intimidating. My only constants are the live sessions I host 3 days a week. Outside of these 3-4 hour windows, I am in control of my time. To be clear, there’s still lots to do but no specific times associated with that. I’ve started to block out my calendar and will be rapidly iterating a schedule each week to see what feels right. I wonder what will happen after training is over in mid-October.
Do you have any suggestions for building a routine?
I just finished reading Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami on the recommendation of my favourite IG comedian @americanbaron. It tells the story of a woman who is serendipitously reunited with an old high school teacher. Through a series run ins at their local bar, they develop a friendship and eventually a relationship. It was a solid okay, the dialogue was terse and felt lacking, but the arc and flow of the story was pleasing.
I picked up a stack of new books last time I was at the bookstore so I’m trying to work through those while avoiding temptation. I’m currently reading two books: Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda (almost done) and Galileo’s Middle Finger by Alice Dreger.
I stumbled across this house tour with Mean Girls actor Rajiv Surendra aka Kevin G. The only words I can use to describe his aesthetic are soulful and intentional. It’s wild to see someone put so much thought into their space and their things and how he seems to approach life. He has a penchant for both vintage and quality and seems to marry the two well. It all comes together nicely and I find it inspiring to have such a clear view on what you want out of a space, and possibly a life.
I really like this visualization of how our brains and memory interpret time. It’s a better articulation of what I have been struggling with in my own life over the last couple of years.
“Picture your brain as a video camera capturing all of your life experiences. In a typical day, this camera would record your morning trip to the coffee shop, commute, daily meetings, workout, and so on and so forth. But in the vein of System One and Two thinking, the brain is constantly looking for ways to preserve energy and resources. And if the video is pretty much the same each day, it will take shortcuts and stop “recording” each unit, since it knows (with high probability) what will happen next. So it starts skipping frames, in a manner analogous to an HD video and a Giphy – the story remains the same, but there’s a drastic deterioration in quality.”
In order to enrich your time and memories, it’s important to add novelty to our life. If that’s the case, how can I balance the comfort of routine with the need for novelty? One way I can think of is paying attention and noticing new things in the ordinary.
It’s inevitable that we forget what we learn. Is that really so bad? Adam Mastroianni says it’s the vibes we remember instead. He shares all the things he learned during high school but has since forgotten. What remains? Vibes. Feelings.
It’s especially remarkable that my brain ditched all the facts and kept all the feelings, because there were big incentives to keep the facts and none to keep the feelings.
Here are things I do remember from high school:
How fun it was to call my best friend and talk for hours.
How exciting it was to march onto the football field, trumpet in hand, and play a halftime show.
How much I despised my school’s rival quizbowl team, how infuriating it was when their coach called us “reasonably intelligent,” and how I was so nervous before our championship match against them that I nearly threw up.
As I think about my role at TKS and just the things I want to remember, I am going to optimize for vibes. For feelings. For changing who the students are and not what they remember. As Paul Graham said, “Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists.”
That’s all I’ve got for you this week!
Hit reply and let me know what you’ve got going on in your life :)