What Works for Others Won’t Always Work for You
For the past two years, I’ve been striving to find the perfect routine for my life, to put some order into that chaos and finally be the fully optimized human I can be. I’ve now come to peace with the fact that “that Simon” doesn’t exist, but I’ve also found a tool that’s helped me more than anything making progress toward exciting impossibility.
Setting up a routine doesn’t come naturally. We’re a mess, our lives are a mess. What follows are the three steps that helped me reach this new plane.
Step 1 :
Like a lot of people, I first heard of Miracle Morning, to which I found a summary and got to work. I proceeded to try to include everything I came across into my daily schedule to be as close to perfect as I could, to be as close to perfect and as productive as humanly possible (in no specific order) :
- Lemon water
- Weight + Body weight workout in the morning
- Weight + Body weight workout in the afternoon
- Healthy breakfast
- Reading in the morning
- Writing in the morning
- Planning for my week on Friday
- Planning for my week on Sunday
- Planning for my day in the morning
- Planning for my day in the evening
- Reading at night
- Writing at night
- No phone for 1 hour upon waking up
- No phone for 1 hour before bed
- Intermittent fasting : skipping breakfast
- Intermittent fasting : skipping dinner
- Fasting 1 day a week
- And there’s probably more
The way I would go about it was to try and stack up as many « items » into my day that were supposed to be beneficial to me. And to do so, I’d mechanically try to free up time slots for every new thing the blipped on my radar.
Needless to say my life didn’t get less messy.
There was a point when I would go to bed around 11:30pm and be up between 5:30 and 6:00am, and I was busy that whole time.
Guess what came right around then ? A big nasty burnout. The resulting depression nearly killed me. But that’s another story.
Step 2 :
After getting out of that slump, which was about a year ago, I started to approach things differently, giving myself more leeway. By doing less, I would last longer, by being more lenient, I wouldn’t crash again. And that’s probably true. My problem though (which is probably everyone’s problem) : if I don’t have a plan, I get derailed, I lose direction and everything starts to crumble (ok, ok, I may be delving into the melodramatic here).
If I’d taken the time to listen to myself, I mean, REALLY listen to myself : I would’ve known. I could have figured out this laidback approach I was experimenting with wasn’t sustainable considering my overall ambition.
But I’m not judging myself, it was part of my journey, it taught me things as much as the previous step did and it allowed me to get some rest and have more energy for the next, new step.
Step 3 :
Then came the latest phase of trying to organize my life.
But to back it up a little : at the beginning of 2019, considering the emotional disaster the previous year had been, I decided I would focus on following my intuition more. This year, I was not going to let my monkey brain get the best of me but instead make good decisions, letting my guts carry more weight in the balance.
It started with obvious things like the people I wanted to spend time with or the activities I was taking part in. But after this summer came the need for me to start setting myself up for success. Considering the challenges that are ahead of me, it was necessary for me to be in a position of power regarding the goals I have. I wanted to have some sense of control over them alongside the various aspects of my life.
But I was not going to make the same mistake twice, this time around, there was no shoving everything into free time slots, I was going to act on feeling and apply choice based on my brain’s natural responses. From those choices, I would create routine. And so, it started.
I started with the basics : the items that HAD to fit in certain slots or that I knew were perfect for me at certain times.
Work was an obvious one, being an entrepreneur and dealing with clients and collaborators, I have to be up and running during work hours. I also figured out I’m better at flow activities in the morning, so some mornings are blocked off in my calendar and calls and meetings go in the afternoon.
I’m also a little OCD about my sleep and I like being up early to focus on my physical and mental health, so I am usually asleep by 10:00/10:30pm and up by 5:30/6:00am which is when I do yoga, meditate and take a cold shower before having breakfast.
And then there’s everything else :
- Bodyweight workouts
- Learning to play the guitar
- Social activities
- Professional events
For all of this, I didn’t put any pressure on myself, they all tie into a personal goal for the coming years and I know I will make time for them. But this time, it is my gut that tells me at what time in the day or in the week the perfect slot is.
I thought I would write at the end of the afternoon, but it turns out my thoughts arrive in the most abundance right after lunch.
I thought I would read in the morning, but it turns out I’m bubbling with creative energy and hence will favor a more proactive activity.
I thought I would have a set day for each specific physical activity, but it turns out that sometimes I feel like swimming on Mondays, sometimes it’s Thursday (Little confession : sometimes it’s never 🙊)
There you go !
Keep in mind the fact we’re in no rush, we’re all playing the long game here, so take your time to find the routine that really suits you and remember it’s ok to fuck up sometimes.
Have a good day fellow human 💙