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Routines: What 2 Raw Eggs and Blocks of Work Can Do For You

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pre-Day Planning

The thought of a daily routine can feel oppressive. Get up. Go to Work. Go Home. Go to Bed. Blah!

But what if your personal creative routine helped to spur your creativity, produce your best work in the shortest amount of time, and focus you on getting your life’s work done, not just your ‘making ends meet’ work.

What in the world am I talking about?

Some of the greatest creative minds of the last 300 years were just like you. Mozart, Darwin and Hugo are all lasting names in their fields, but they had to pay the bills too! So, the first step in building a personal creative routine is to figure out what your work is.

The first kind of work should be pretty obvious. This is the thing you have to perform every day to make the money to pay your electric bill and buy enough ramen to sustain life for one more month. We’ll call this your Making Ends Meet work. Maybe this work is also your passion. If so, you can go ahead an skip the next paragraph.

But if your passion is developing an app from scratch or writing a novel, creating your YouTube channel on building the cast of Star Trek DS9 out of mini-marshmallows, or developing a faster way to do your taxes, then you have a second type of ‘work’ to prioritize in your creative routine. Imagine thinking of this passion or project as your ‘Primary Work.’

What are your best times of day?

In addition to work we have to eat, exercise, socialize and sleep, but being a genius doesn’t necessarily mean you fit into the 9-5 mold of today’s working landscape.

Victor Hugo spent 1 hour every day writing. One hour! The rest of his time was spent ‘socializing’ and going to the barber! Seriously, he went to the barber every day.

Mozart spent twice as much time teaching lessons and giving performances to make ends meet than he did composing.

While Flaubert was writing Madame Bovary he wrote from 11:15pm to 1:30am because that is when his creative juices were flowing.

Point is, you might be a Mozart or a Flaubert. Hell, maybe you’re a Dickens. He exercised 90 minutes a day!

Start observing the times of day when you feel most creative and when you are most fatigued. If you have flexibility in your Make Ends Meet work schedule, try a few different modifications. If you don’t, try arranging the hours you have outside of your MEM work in different arrangements.

You never know, your best creative programming might happen at 2am. Maybe your marshmallow genius is in full bloom from 6-7am.

Sticking with it!

A creative routine seems like a good idea, but what if you lay out a new routine and then just can’t stick with it?

Maybe this isn’t the right routine for you. Some self discipline is in order, of course. Re-arranging your day isn’t going to make every aspect of your life easy and splendid, but try to be objective when evaluating your new schedule. If you’ve never tried it before, some trial and error will occur.

Also, check your priorities. Maybe you aren’t as into writing a novel as you think. There is no shame in that. Your time is the only finite commodity you have, so spend it wisely. Maybe the issue is your MEM work. Give some serious consideration to what your day job is doing to the rest of your life. It should be an enhancement, if at all possible.

If your routine and priorities are in then it’s time to suck it up and get back to work. To be a Tchaikovsky or a Freud or a Beethoven means getting up every day and putting in the effort. Work your routine and it can work for you. Get the most out of your 24 hours every day.

This article was written by shortcutFoo because we’re into getting work done faster. Learn shortcuts. Work faster. Have more time for whatever comes next in your day.

Major thanks to RJ Andrews of for the infographic. All data originally coms from Mason Currey, author of DAILY RITUALS

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