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74 Comments

Reducing Decisions to Focus Better

From Robert Genn’s recent letter to artists:

Choreographer Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit, describes her morning routine of rising early and going through the same morning rituals; same coffee, same bun. She puts on the same leotards, goes down the same elevator to the same street corner, puts her arm up in the air and gets into the first cab that comes along.

By the time she gets to the studio she has made no significant decisions. Stepping out onto the dance floor, her dancers await. It’s eight in the morning and her first decision is yet to come. It will be a creative one.

We painters also need to save our decision-making for things of importance. “Don’t,” as they say, “sweat the small stuff.” I figure an average 11″ x 14″ uses up several hundred thousand decisions. Compound that over a day of painting and it’s in the millions. Even the small decisions in a painting, some of them so micro and seemingly insignificant, are the building blocks of what we are to become.

Fact is, some lives are so filled with impedimentary drama and ancillary decision-making that there is little time left over for work.

This reminded me of a selection from Michael Lewis’s essay on President Obama’s decision-making process:

And so, in a funny way, the president’s day actually starts the night before. When he awakens at seven, he already has a jump on things. He arrives at the gym on the third floor of the residence, above his bedroom, at 7:30. He works out until 8:30 (cardio one day, weights the next), then showers and dresses in either a blue or gray suit. “My wife makes fun of how routinized I’ve become,” he says.

You need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”

Most of us don’t have the responsibility of running the largest economy in the world, or even the talent and production needs of one of the world’s best-known dance studios.

Just as my job is easier than Twyla’s or the president’s, my routine is simpler too. I don’t get in a car to go to work, and I don’t wear a suit. My commute is about ten steps from the bedroom to the office. Once or twice a week I run in the mornings, but usually I save that for the late afternoon. I make my coffee and settle in, reviewing the news and a few updates on my business for twenty minutes or so.

The whole time I have something else in front of or next to me: the real task for the day. The real task is often a book manuscript that requires attention for many months at a time, or sometimes it’s a blog post, copy for a website, a newspaper column, or something else. Hopefully, before too much time goes by in the morning, I’ll have switched over to that task and made it my focus.

I think it’s good to break up your routine from time to time. But not everything should be a surprise. If you want to get something done, especially creative work that requires focus, you need to reduce the other decisions you make.

When you know what you’re going to wear the next day, what you’re going to have for breakfast, and what steps you’ll need to take to get started on your work, you’ll be much less likely to get sidetracked by making these decisions in the morning.

You’ll begin the day ready to pound things out, and then you can make some real decisions.

How do you begin your morning?

Comments here.

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*I’m enjoying the 30 Days of Honesty project from two struggling co-founders.

*Seattle or Portland area: Get tickets to the upcoming screenings of Indie Kindred, a film on creative collaboration that debuted this summer at WDS 2013.

Image: Colin

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74 Comments

  • I completely agree. Rituals are great for the mundane. Although spicing it up once a week or so doesn’t harm either.

    My morning begins with a cup of coffee and some news on my laptop. Then work. Then mid afternoon I workout. I have a strict routine for Lunch and dinner 6 days a week which allows me to cut time spend on cooking, doing the dishes.

    Definitely frees up the time to focus on my work. Creating and sticking with rituals definitely requires commitment and discipline. Kudos if you can do it!

  • Donnie Law says:

    I wish I could get away with wearing a navy blue jumpsuit everyday/everywhere. I’m always looking for ways to simplify my life. Clothes in general are just a royal pain…

  • You inspired me to begin running again. In one month, my insulin dependence has gone down to zero during the day, and 1/3 less than I was taking at night. So, running has strengthened my core and helped my diabetes.

    But every morning, I don’t even think about it. I go straight to running and keep it up for about an hour or so. Also, like you, weight training every other day, then “morning activities” where I parboil all the veggies for the day, make sure there’s pasta in the fridge. That way, by the time I am ready to write, all decisions about food and activity are done.

  • Jason says:

    Aloha! The timing of this post arriving in my inbox makes me smile. I’d purchased DAILY RITUALS: How Artists Work by Mason Currey and it arrived yesterday. Everything arriving at the same time–and all pointing in the same direction!

    When I left my corporate job, I was initially so pleased with the lack-of-routine after feeling like I’d been living in chains for so many years. However, that “freedom” soon became a prison of its own. I floundered. And more often than not, instead of creating/producing work, I wasted incredible amounts of time.

    I’ve begun looking at how other artists work–and all seem to have some sort of routine in order to create on a regular basis.

    I know that I need a little bit of structure–FLEXIBLE structure–in order to feel safe enough to create and to produce work. (Instead of just “thinking about” creating.)

    Flexible walls can be a good thing, indeed.
    Mahalo, thank you, for the timely post.

  • Stephanie says:

    I love routine, but I never thought about how a routine can help you make those important decisions that come throughout a day…Thanks for the insight! As for me, I start my day with letting the dogs outside, feeding the horses and cleaning the barn, only then to I start the coffee and start thinking about what I need to do next. =)

  • This was a great article. I wake up a lot of mornings with way too much on my mind – and that sort of thing creates stress and distracts me from what’s most important.

  • Vijaya says:

    I begin my morning by checking emails from my blackberry. Reading articles on blackberry in the bed is very relaxing. Then I get up eat breakfast and start responding to emails and other work which I decided to complete previous day. I plan one week activities in advance and work towards during the week to complete them. I like to do exercise in the evening.

  • My morning varies according to the tides. If the tide is low here at the coast. I usually begin my morning with a mindful walk with my dog on the beach. If the tide is in, I turn to my journal and have a conversation with my soul.
    Today my dog was with my wife so I walked alone and enjoyed the peace and beauty of the Oregon Coast. I also spend time often on the walk in appreciation for all that is and in the midst of being mindful I usually send blessings of love, light, peace, joy, healing, flow and freedom to everyone everywhere.
    Blessings to all of you wonderful beings. Let’s let our light brighten the world.

  • Thank you for this post! I had not thought of decisions as dissipating my energy, but it completely makes sense.

    I am working on creating more of a routine for myself, as I do so many different things, between counseling, writing, a radio show, teaching classes, etc., that I can get scattered. I recognize that if I am going to write a book, I’ll need to become more routinized in order for it to happen.

  • Arlen Miller says:

    I get it! Focus! I like it! Thanks, Chris for writing. For sharing yourself, For putting yourself out there.

  • Ebony says:

    My routine since just quitting my job last month is:
    1. Rise by 7 AM
    2. Get the bambino some breakfast & boil water for tea
    3. Turn on laptop (takes a while some days)
    4. Tie hair up, iron bambino’s clothes for school (since it’s back in session, he eats during that time)
    5. Flavor tea & transfer to mug to walk to school
    6. Return and check e-mail, respond to immediate emails
    7. Create pitches
    8. Pray for increase in bank account
    9. Market blog

    I am still in the beginning phases of my unconventional life, this works for now! 🙂 Every 3 hours or so, I walk Apricot to relax my eyes and mind!

  • Anita Chase says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking post! I was just talking to a co-worker about how restless I get in the fall and spring and that I crave change. I have been feeling too settled and so I have been kind of flailing for something, but I don’t know what. I just know I feel tired and burned out and need to try something different.

    I think I am going to try this tact of making some sort of routine for a month and see if it gives me energy to be more creative in other avenues. THANKS!

  • Larry Landay says:

    I think there is definitely some truth to this idea of limiting basic daily decisions in order to be more productive and creative with the more important decisions. Einstein used this concept as well. He had 10 of the exact same suit so he wouldn’t waste mental energy on simple decisions such as what to wear in the morning. Thanks for sharing an important concept used from some of our historical geniuses such as Einstein.

  • Gray says:

    This makes perfect sense to me. I live a fairly routine life at home (I’m sure it would drive some people crazy), but I find it comforting, because it’s not stressful. I have plenty of other stress in my life, I certainly don’t need to be adding to it by shaking up my routine every day. I keep saying I need to find someone to do all my clothes shopping for me and tell me what to wear, because I find fashion very stressful–and I don’t care about it one little bit. 🙂

  • I really hadn’t though of it like this before. I’ve been so intent on avoiding routine in a bid for ultimate freedom that I didn’t even consider that routine *could* give me freedom; freedom of thought. Wowsers.

  • Blake Denman says:

    I love my morning ritual. After waking, it usually goes like this:
    •Make a cup of organic chai black tea
    •As the tea is stooping, I make my bed
    •When tea is ready, I read a couple spiritual books for 15 mins
    •Journal for 10 mins, aka my Morning Head Dump.
    •Put my clothes out that I will wear for the day
    •Take a shower and get ready
    •Eat breakfast
    •Take my dog, Bruddah, on a 15 minute walk
    •Walk across the street to my office

    I worked from home for the first 2 years I was in business, and will never do it again. I couldn’t separate my home life and my work life. Getting an executive suite has really made an impact on not only my productivity at work, but allowed me to enjoy my home life.

    Cheers and look forward to going to WDS in 2014!

    Blake

  • Deborah Owen says:

    Great article! I do know about the research indicating that you wear out your “willpower muscle” over the course of a day. However, I had not thought through the idea of making a morning ritual so decision-free that it leaves lots of “muscle” for the rest of the day! I guess that is another good reason to put off looking at email since even the decision of which to read and which to delete can deplete the decision and willpower muscle.

    Thanks!

  • Janna says:

    This is great!

    Back when I was still working in an office, I actually had a set morning routine for awhile that worked great. I would wake up every day at 6:30 AM without snoozing, walk immediately to the kitchen, and make the exact same protein/energy smoothie. Sometimes I would also boil water for tea at the same time. Then I would walk back to my room, smoothie giving me instant energy, and write for about 15-30 minutes (usually articles for my websites).

    After that, maybe do some other reading, get ready, drive to work (same way every day), and go through the rest of my day.

    It’s so important to have a set morning routine that minimizes decisions and gives you instant energy. Ironically, since I started working from home I struggle with that. I no longer make my same smoothie first thing since I bought a new blender that’s too loud, and I fear waking up my roommates. My first decision is first thing in the morning – what should I eat – and too often the outcome of that decision is screw it, I’m going back to bed. Lol.

    I’ll work on creating a new routine for myself to eliminate these pointless decisions 🙂

  • Completely agree. Being a writer I need a ‘clear mind’ to create.

    I wake up without an alarm clock, so I know I’ve had enough sleep. Some days my mind is full of words in the morning. When that’s the case I start writing immediately. I usually work in bed with my laptop for an hour or two before I have a shower and eat breakfast. If my mind is not full of words, the shower and breakfast comes first.

    I try to decide the night before what’s first on the agenda the next morning, but some times my creativity leads me elsewhere in my sleep. My main rule to writing is start with what comes naturally, as it will help you find your flow, and then relax and have fun. Some days I’m wildly productive and write for hours. Other days I don’t write much, but let my mind work out the kinks so I can write the next day.

  • Great post.

    Whilst still in bed, I start with 10 minutes of SRS flashcards – the best tool I know for language learning. I find new words and phrases sink in best during that ‘daze’ just before or after sleep.

    After that, I get up and knock back the same shake every day: ice, water, spinach, peanut butter and protein powder.

    Next comes 10 minutes Mindfulness meditation to focus myself for the day.

    Finally, 10-15 minutes of journal writing.

    Then it’s shower and work!

  • Marilyn says:

    I’m glad to see this. I spent several months bicycling, sleeping rough each night. The cycling wasn’t as energy consuming as deciding where to sleep, was it safe, where to brush my teeth, where to take care of toilet duties, Should I make coffee or find a coffee shop/small town Main street hang-out.

    Lived on a houseboat & traveled down the river system 2 years — where to anchor? would I be out of the way of tow boats? where to go ashore? groceries?

    Need I repeat with sailboat for the last 12 years?

    People ask “what do you do with all your spare time?” Come with me. I’ll show you where the energy goes.

    Trade it? Nah — too many characters, too many conversations, too many sights, … too much fun!

  • Akinsola says:

    “I think it’s good to break up your routine from time to time. But not everything should be a surprise. If you want to get something done, especially creative work that requires focus, you need to reduce the other decisions you make”.

    Chris this is a good advice,thanks. I do apply this at times.

  • Shelly says:

    love everyone’s ideas. I’m just starting to work more from home and am finding myself needing some structure to make the most of my time. this week I’ll try reducing some of my morning decisions and see how that frees up creative energy.

  • Greg says:

    I would recommend omitting the news. Think: when is the last time knowing the current events change your behavior? But on the other hand, reading/listening to news will *always* change your thoughts and your emotional flow, and for the worse.
    So — I recommend dumping anything more than a bi-weekly news review.

  • Kristi says:

    I normally start my mornings with green tea & breakfast, help kids to kindergarten, 10 min. meditation, 15 min. reading, then I normally write/create, snack something and go out running, shower. Then have lunch, create some more, answer email, twitter and network. I used to start my mornings with news and email, but I realized it was taking my focus away from creating and filled my mind with junk, so I quit that. I also try to create before I read other blogs, to keep creativity on top. When I have an off day, or when I feel off and can’t create, I don’t do anything or go look for inspiration from art, music, books, talk to friends or watch a good movie. Thanks for a great post!

  • Marty Wenger says:

    Shower. Same old iron skillet, olive oil, 2 eggs, toast. I do branch out to “coffee or tea?” but there are no choices within those two options. Same grey uniform with whatever t-shirt is available. You are spot-on that the absence of deliberating over these items conserves energy for making decisions later in the day.

  • Peter Wright says:

    When a heart attack 3 years ago forced a switch from an off-line, mainly out-door business to a work from home on-line business, I was determined not to fritter my days away on busy work or non-business activities during working hours.

    I find that writing my next day’s plan each evening helps, then getting up early, shaving and dressing in casual but not scruffy clothes, tea, reading my vision statement, goals and then getting straight into some productive work keeps me on track.

    A break at 7: 15 to check my horses and lead them out to pasture and only then do I check emails, attend to anything important, delete as many as possible and defer the non-urgent to the afternoon.

    Picking up on Chris’s decision theme, I’d like to add that when stressed for cash or when some other problem is weighing you down in the early days of your business, avoid re-hashing decisions. Either make a decision and stick to it or put it out of your mind until you can make a decision, continually circling the options for the same decision destroys, productivity, creativity and peace of mind.

    Finally, I agree with Greg, since I drastically restricted my news intake, life is better.

  • kkwms says:

    I get up at 3:45am each morning. My commute is two hours. The return commute is often longer. My weekends were for laundry, shopping, cleaning. Bottom line, I had no life. Quickly, I realized I needed to streamline (routinize) my life. Now, I make my lunch two weeks in advance, have 30 days of dinners in the freezer, and have waxed the bathtub (no bathtub-ring develops). Yay! Life is good again!

  • Holly says:

    Thank you so much for the insight! I constantly struggle with general anxiety and stress; sometimes I find myself tensing up and grinding my teeth over the most insignificant decisions. I will definitely be taking this advice and applying it to my daily life. I feel calmer already… 🙂

  • Kay says:

    I’m quitting my job shortly. Thanks for the great ideas to help me organize myself in the years to come of my retirement.

  • Amanda says:

    This is an excellent idea and now I realize why I used to struggle so much in the morning. Too many decisions made that morning. I van pool to work now, which means I have to be out the door before 6:50 and that helps because I have to make the decisions right away. But having a good, solid routine would cut down on the stress.

    Maybe that’s why us artsy types are drawn to all black :). I always look forward to reading your stuff and find it really helpful.

  • Sam says:

    I love habits, it means I can switch off and do them on autopilot. I’m currently working on new habits that help me work without trying to consciously start.

  • Pamela says:

    Thanks for writing about this, Chris! And everyone’s posts are really helpful and insightful too.

    I freelance write and edit, and struggle with the routine when it’s my own schedule. Have been working onsite with a client a couple of days a week and the other days from home. When I have to report to an office, the morning routine is pretty much set. Up at 7, check email on phone, make coffee, b’fast. Then either get dressed for work or hit the gym first. And so begin the speed bumps. Deciding what to wear (and what to pack) = hassle. The blue jumpsuit every day would be a huge relief!

    Back in the ’90s, one of my artist friends had an entire wardrobe of nothing but black T-shirts and jeans. (And black coats or sweaters.) She said it freed her to focus on other things. I thought that was radical and really cool. I don’t want to limit my clothes to black and blue colors. But streamlining the wardrobe and having a regular morning routine would definitely improve focus. I’m going to work on these. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  • Marcy says:

    My routine is all about nature. Get up go outside and care for horses. I love it as I always make a point of observing the small things… New roses budding, insects, the light dew on the grass. Very grounding.

  • Julia says:

    Excellent post! For years I thought a routine would kill my creativity and avoided it like the plague. Then I thought back to my childhood and boarding school years where everything ran on a strict routine and realised that it would free me up to think about more important stuff. I now confess to loving my daily routine.

    Mornings – same breakfast, same lunch. Limited work clothes to 2 pairs of jeans and 4 tops so I just grab the clean stuff from the top of the pile.
    Evenings – I have a general weekly meal plan so no big decisions there when I’m tired i.e chicken on Monday etc.
    General – Saturday mornings for town chores, very limited dark coloured wardrobe – just dress it up with a colourful scarf. It’s become a joke that I only wear black- I couldn’t care less as I don’t have to think about such trivia.
    Result – I feel my routine has cleared my mind and opened up more time for creativity, totally the opposite of how I used to think.

  • Every morning I start with a short prayer and a cup of coffee.
    Then I gear my mind towards happiness, strength, success.
    I collect my thoughts and divert them to everything that is noble
    and expands into an atmosphere of well being.
    Every morning, I feel very good about myself, because this is where it all starts.

  • Cole Matson says:

    First thing each day is pray the Office of Readings, then (3 days a week) go for a run, after which I shower and then pray Morning Prayer. Afterwards, I’ll generally have a bowl of cereal while quickly skimming my email/Facebook/Twitter to see if there are any urgent messages, which I take care of. (If there’s Mass in the morning, I’ll skip the cereal and walk to church, then pick up a bacon & egg baguette on my way to the office.) Then I pack everything up and walk to the office, where I work on my PhD dissertation all morning.

    After 4 hours of Pomodoros, I take a break and go for a 1/2-hour walk by the beach. Then I come back, have lunch while checking my RSS feeds, and then start on my afternoon work (emails/misc. tasks for a couple hours, then non-dissertation-related writing projects for a couple hours). Then I head home, pray Evening Prayer, make dinner, & sit down to relax with an episode of Star Trek or a movie. Night Prayer & a review of the day, then bed follows.

    It’s a good steady schedule for the marathon that is the last year of a PhD.

  • Nari says:

    A good day statrts with pages….3 of them, as taken from the inspiring book The Artists way by Julia Cameron. The A4 pages are unlined and ready for a stream of consciousness to fall onto the pages as I sip my morning coffee(sprinkled with cinnamon,cocoa and chilli 😉 It’s grounding,sets positive intention and provides quiet,contemplative ‘me time’ before I head into the world. Ultimately it inspires all kinds of creative ideas and fun that I wouldn’t otherwise embark on.

  • Cindy Rosen says:

    Chris, this is a great point. Each day, I wear a white t-shirt, jeans, and loafers to work. Then, I keep a blue blazer and a tweed blazer on the back of my office door. That way, if I need to meet with a client or conduct a sales presentation, I can just throw on the blazer. Instant professional. No brainer in the morning.

  • Everyone’s ideas here are so helpful! As a recent real-job-quitter, I’m still struggling to settle into a routine. I made the mistake(?) of putting too many irons in the fire at once with respect to my “free” work life, which leads to decision paralysis!

    My ideal morning would be:

    1) Wake up at 7:30
    2) Make a latte or tea
    3) Check my various blog/work/personal emails and social media
    4) Work out
    5) Shower
    6) Breakfast and we’re off to a great start!

    In reality I usually accomplish 1, 2, and 3, at which point I get stuck on my couch in my PJs.

  • Paula says:

    I totally agree – minimising decision making is essential to make way for other more important stuff and just to have more time in general. Life is so busy nowadays and days just fly by (infact, the years just seem to fly by!). When I was younger I use to think that routine was a bit boring, but as I’ve grown up and have more responsibilities, routine is actually welcoming and essential…

  • Jesus says:

    I have to disagree in this ocassion with this statement.

    Not having a routine does not mean you necessarily have to make decissions all the time. Actually, breaking your routine makes your brain more plastic and help you with your creativity, according to scientific studies. Change your path to work, make something unexpected… expose you to new small challenges that keep you alive in ultimate instance.

    The problem is if you give too much importance to those small decissions. For God sake I don´t want to eat the same breakfast over and over! I love being creative in my daily basis (cooking, conmuting, activities…).

    If you do the same during 10 years, if you look back, you won´t be able to see any difference.

    If you do lots of different things, you will be able to remember that day you changed your path to the office and you bumped into someone you met years ago, you had a coffee and he/she recommends you a book that changes your life (maybe The 100$ startup).

    Greetings from South Africa.

  • Benjamin says:

    I used to be against routines like this, then I got burnt out, and decided I need to try something new.

    So now…

    1. I wake up and clean up my room for 15 minutes.
    2. Brush my teeth and floss.
    3. Drink water and take some deep breaths.
    4. Do 5 sun salutations.
    5. Sit in meditation for 5 minutes.
    6. Write 750 words on 750words.com
    7. Drink Orange Juice
    8. Edit video for 1 hour.
    9. Get Coffee.
    10. Do my Go Crazy Pre-Writing Routine.
    11. Start my most important task for the day.

  • Hugh Hunter says:

    Great piece Chris. I am new to your site, but have enjoyed the ride so far.
    My struggle is to find that routine. As a photographer that travels, it is difficult to get that rhythm. But to be reminded that it is beneficial, is necessary for me to find a focus in the non-rhythm. My only consistency is to meditate upon awakening and that seems to help.
    Thank you, Hugh

  • Love this post. I’ve been seriously focusing on my morning routine lately, but I’ve always loved the concept of reducing many daily decisions to routine, thus saving the decision making energy for more important things. I’m getting into a habit and seeing what works for me right now… but once I know what does, I’m sticking to it! Of course there’s room for change and growth, but until what works stops working, it’s more important for me to be energized and ready for my day of creative decisions, rather than thinking about what I need to do to start it every morning.

  • Richard Gay says:

    Ha! My days are fairly routine, as far as it applies to home life. But from time to time my wife asks me to do something out of the ordinary, something I will have to remember to do, as it’s not an immediate task. Often I forget. I can’t decide if that’s because my routine is so solid it overcomes the ad hoc task. Seems like a one-time thing should be easy to remember, but my routine is strong.

  • Barbara says:

    Wow! What an “aha!” moment you have helped create, with this post. I’ve been struggling with decision-making more and more lately, to the point that I can’t even decide what to make for dinner. Some days I would rather not eat than to have to decide what to cook. I’ve never been much of a routine-user, but can now see the need to change that…

  • Marie-France says:

    That’s very true. It also explains why long term travel can be so exhausting, especially if you’re moving fast. Every single day you have to make dozens of little decisions. That’s why if I meet up with a local friend after travelling for a while, I’m happy to let her/him make all the decisions. 🙂

  • Anita says:

    For a few months now, I’ve been praying for a few minutes before leaping into the day. That centering activity brings clarity to my mind and to my day so I can focus on what I truly care about and to release some more worrisome cares. As for what to wear, I remember what painter Gustave Courbet said about dressing like a bourgeois so one can be violent and original in one’s work (or words to that effect). So far, I wouldn’t characterize my artwork as such, but I feel freer to explore and to concentrate my energy on painting and teaching.

  • Martin says:

    I may be odd, but I don’t have a routine technically. Every night is different for me since I enjoy going out, so every morning is different. The one constant though is that I wake up and get straight to writing. No time wasted.

  • Angela says:

    “[S]ome lives are so filled with impedimentary drama and ancillary decision-making that there is little time left over for work.”

    Love this quote and post! It’s definitely something I can improve upon… A few parts of my morning are ritual now (coffee first, making my bed, etc.), and they’re also my favorites! But the other parts are anything but routine. It’s probably time to take a serious look at reworking my mornings to save more mental muscle for important work! Thanks for the reminder, Chris.

  • Amelia says:

    What a great post! Now I know why I used to get exhausted by 4pm and still had to decide what to make for dinner. Now I work from home, and I feel less exhaustion but I could still improve how I spend my energy. As I am beginning to write more, this is a great reminder. Thanks, Chris! I always enjoy reading your articles.

  • Interesting- I’m can be really indecisive with little things (ie which restaurant should we go to, which flight should i book?) but not at all with big things like quitting jobs, moving, starting new projects etc. LOL. As for morning routines, I am not sure this impacts on the latter for me, but mine is leaving the house somewhere and getting a coffee at a cafe. While I’m there I write a list of things to do in a coloured marker/texta on a piece of paper. If I don’t do those two things, I can’t work for the day. Oh and I have to check my email then too. We are strange creatures, humans.

  • Viki says:

    Thanks for this. I used to worry a little about getting/being in a rut—eating the same thing in the morning, etc. After reading this, I see that my “ruts” are actually helpful—which is why my current situation is pretty challenging/frustrating. I recently moved back to my home state, which has thrown all of my routines into disarray. Still unpacking and, of course, having to make multiple decisions to get myself settled—choosing where to put this or that piece of furniture or kitchen utensil, setting up accounts, finding a vet and a mechanic…now I understand even better why I feel so discombobulated.

  • Fraser says:

    My morning routines have been evolving recently to accommodate the challenges of long term bicycle touring. Gradually a new routine is emerging and it is making the rest of my days run more smoothly, mostly!

    I do understand where Jesus is coming from though with regard to doing the same things everyday, having the potential to make time fly, because one year to the next just looks the same as the last.

    It is important then to combine routine with variety to fully experience a life worth looking back on.

    The constant change of travel has had the opposite effect, sometimes all the things that happen in a single day feel more like a week has passed. The same thing happens as you age from child to grown up, you experience less new stuff on a daily basis and it has the effect of speeding up time.

    As with most things it has to be about finding a balance.

    Great topic!

    Fraser

  • Patrick says:

    Excellent article. I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to obsess over the little things and get bogged down by so many choices and decisions that we lose track of what is important and what’s not. Making too many decisions causes us to lose sleep, get distracted and procrastinate. I love the feeling of constantly learning and pushing myself to the limit, but when I have to make too many decisions I can easily find a reason to procrastinate and lose focus, such as when listening to business podcast that makes me question what direction to take my business in. Even these seemingly important questions can overthrow my initial focus for the day causing me to deviate from my schedule and get less done than I otherwise would have.

  • michael says:

    Great read man!

  • Jess says:

    This is going to prove so useful for me! Give me one too many decisions and I’m in instant overwhelm. Love reading about others morning routines..think I’ve picked up a few ideas =)

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  • Deutsch says:

    It is an interesting concept, I never thought about that every decision reduce my daily energy available to make a new one.
    Thank you for sharing it.

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  • Nick says:

    After waking up i have my coffee
    I read news than get dressed and go to work .

    It makes senses. I feel I’m routined. And I’ve been doing same old stuff from 2 years I feel less excitement in my routine because it’s all so perceptible that I feel less joy.

    Thank you for the post

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