What is your actual routine? And your ideal routine?


Jedi Master
Inspired by reading ersio's recent account, I want to give an update about my actual routine. This period (March April) was really productive and I felt quite grounded and balanced between all the things I wanted to do. I found some kind of homeostasis!
Then we took a week of vacation out, which didn't happen since a long while. Great from a social bonding point of view, terrible for the routine and diet.

Hay fever kicked in right after we came back, and we had to prepare our homecoming, which was quite something, we were expecting 80 people, and apart from the celebration itself, we had a lot of diverse things to do all over the place. I progressively stopped updating my done list, to focus only on my to-do list. So I began to fall off-balance, having less time to read and less free space in my mind to focus on the forum. I can say I still succeeded to check it regularly, but it was far less, and I felt progressively more tired with my running thoughts. Bad sleep and much anticipation, more alcohol and carbs consumption.

Trying to deal with Hay fever this year, I tried reducing my histamine-containing food consumption, and then I suddenly stopped coffee. No willpower needed, I just stopped for 2 weeks, me who thought that was a terribly hard thing to do. I had headaches and a nagging hip pain for a few fays. This digression is over since I succumbed at an offer the night of the homecoming.
Then the session came and it motivated me to try intermittent fasting 9AM 3PM, which is not our normal meal time. We are used to doing 12AM 8PM. I didn't last long, it is weird to eat alone and not sharing the meal with one's family. That plus not having coffee with them and being crippled with my allergy syndrome, I can say my routine has been shattered, and it certainly troubled me.

This is where I wanted to get at. It has been a period of massive improvements to me. And it has been followed by this step-back. As mentioned in HDT, after expansion there is always a contraction. During this contraction period, the echo-chamber effect kicks high in and the risk is always to fall back to bad habits of all kinds, which can leave you hopeless with well-known thought loops of guilt and self-sabotage.

As we've learned here, the brain works better when shifting from focused mode to diffuse mode regularly throughout the day. What I notice too is that there seem to be bigger, longer cycles, which last for weeks or months, and are kind of the same, at least for me:

  • Focused/Expansion/Future: Where you can learn a lot with ease and flow, do many things productively, be proactive. The risk being obsession.
  • Diffuse/Contraction/Past: Where you're more reflective and you are driven towards introspection, a time to absorb and process. The risk being the echo-chamber.

This contraction phase always seems like a step back, and can be quite overwhelming. As I said on the carnivore diet thread, I tended to be partial, meaning I used to only report my improvements, not my regressions. It is a phase lived alone, and it grows out of silence. Just writing this frees my heart!

Does this idea of long cycles talk to anyone?
Thank for reading!


FOTCM Member
Well, the good thing is that you now have something to compare yourself with. The "good" habits aren't completely lost if you miss going back to them. So, you just start again, and adjust so as to make them accommodate your situation better.

I'm not sure I would use Focused vs. diffused in terms of progress, as those are just the names given to two modes of learning. And they are supposed to be more anchored in the present. But I see what you mean, and think it's fairly normal. The point is to get back on track when we feel we're drifting, and after recuperation/processing time when needed.


Jedi Master
Thank you for your comment, Chu. You're right, at least I know where I want to be and the terms might not be the best to describe that process.
A better analogy would be climbing up a mountain and falling regularly. The persistence to climb up has to remain, then it's a process of learning how to fall better, because you know it will happen regularly and it leads you step backwards. The better you control your fall, the less damage done.


The Living Force
Thank you for this thread! The concept of actual routine and ideal routine, a great and practical one, made me think of Peterson's 'Self Authoring Suite'.

It's been wonderful, useful and thought-provoking to read through and contemplate the feedback. I've had a pretty good morning and evening routine, with something of an afternoon routine, going on for a few months now - since February. I use this planner from Amazon for daily planning. I started an annual a-page-a-day diary this month from a local store. I also have a smaller annual diary for family-related content.

I'll return to this thread to continue posting, including more detail of routines and adjustments that've been effective over here :-)


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I recently made a custom size and paper bullet journal. I was using a Field Notes notebook, and they don't have 31 rows, so you cannot make horizontally on one page a monthly layout. Mine is only 32 pages, so I estimate it will last until the beginning of next year. I still write on scraps of paper and make digital notes and reminders. But the physical writing down of things helps too. And I have a lot of space to test out pens, inks and calligraphy.

This is geared to bullet journals, but I find the concepts can apply to anything you are procrastinating with or having trouble letting go of:

My summary of the ideas:
  • Is this worth my time?
  • If the task doesn’t do anything for you, it’s clutter. Get rid of it.
  • Give yourself permission to get rid of tasks.
  • Why does this bullet (task) matter?
  • Think about whether it is still worth your time.
  • If it were really that important, you would have done it by now.
  • By eliminating trivial tasks you also make time for the things that really matter.

Wu Wei Wu

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Routines are the big secret to getting great work done. They let the magic of compounding do its work (in this case, compounding skills or knowledge). They are my most important tools in organizing my own life, and the key method for organizing my environment to enhance focus.

Here's my routine, maybe it will be helpful:

I begin each day the same way, with morning exercises for mind and body. Then I take medicines and supplements as needed.
Followed up by breakfast.
Then I start my most important work of the day. That might be study, or some outstanding work task. Attention and willpower are at their height at the start of the day, so I put my biggest, most difficult, most likely to be put off task here.
Then I'll eat lunch.
After that I'll do less important work according to priority. Usually this means emails, followups, etc.
After I do 'enough' work (always a judgement call) I'll do my afternoon exercises and practices.
Only in the late afternoon do I do calls or meetings; These take up a lot of energy for me and have uncertain ROI, so I make sure to put them after I've got most of my work done for the day.
I leave the evening (I often skip dinner and fast) for socializing and events.
At the end of the evening I'll study, do my preparations for the next day, and sleep as early as I can. By the end my willpower is exhausted, so I try to do must-do evening preparations as early as I can.

Using this method of prioritizing regular practices and habits, while frontloading work, I've gotten a lot more done and been more happy with how I spend my time. I put my key habits or skills I'd like to improve as tasks to do everyday, so that they always get done. Sometimes this comes at the expense of other work, and that's ok. Habits, skills, and knowledge building are more important to me than almost all work anyways (and I work so I can do those things) so putting them first and early in the day has been very productive.

I also make a great effort to get rid of 'drags' on my energy. I delegate or just stop doing things that decrease my energy, I have as few things as possible so I don't worry about them, and get into regular and mechanical routines for doing things I have to every day. All these things help me save energy to focus on the things that really matter, which are learning and building lifelong habits.

Hope that helps!
Top Bottom