Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my routine. I’ve been trying to introduce a bit more structure into my work day… not as an attempt to be more productive, more so that I create stronger boundaries between work and the rest of the work. I can sometimes start working at 8am, forget to finish early and then feel totally wrung out by the evening. This isn’t how I want to work at all, because I really believe the research that says working longer hours doesn’t mean you’ll get more done. But with remote work, it can be so easy to slip into working longer and longer hours.
I found Overthink’s episode about Productivity really interesting. I like their suggestions at the end: aim for creativity over productivity, focus on the process not the product, and move more slowly and sustainably.
▲ Ursula Le Guin’s daily routine
I also really liked this advice from the Doist blog that suggests you should “pay yourself first” each morning. Instead of waking up and diving straight into work (or social media), it’s about setting aside the first hour or so of the day for yourself. This is time to do the important-but-not-urgent things that contribute to your own wellbeing or creative practice, rather than try to squeeze them in around your professional work.
Lately I’ve been writing morning pages… not quite every day yet but I’m getting there. This is one of those practices that is so simple but incredibly effective.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages — they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page… and then do three more pages tomorrow.
I’ve found it really useful to have a “shutdown ritual” in the evening, which helps in creating that work-life separation. I like to exercise straight after work as well, to clear out my brain and re-situate myself in my body.