Friday, January 11, 2008


Routines are good. Properly accompanied by discipline, they can help shakes us out of ennui. Or at the very least ensure we actually get something done during the course of a day. My problem today is only one part ennui, the other is a headache that's appeared out of nowhere. Might be connected to something else, but the bulk of the problem is just the inability to retain any sense of excitement about any project when I actually sit down at the computer. I have ideas doing dishes, or driving in the car... and then I sit down and seem to find ways to piddle away the day without getting anything done that I wanted. Including that project I'm being paid for.

On the other hand, by establishing a routine and sticking to it, it's one step closer to being able to set and keep goals. Because they're all about the same thing: a little bit of discipline. It's not enough to have an idea for the blog, for example, unless you actually put it down. So establishing a routine can also help turn ideas into action. Like this one. And you can start to feel good about them too, even if you don't see immediate results. Sort of like exercise. Those first few weeks it's tough to no notice any tangible results - at least for ordinary people Not those "I gained biceps the size of bowling balls in two weeks on the X-Flex!" people.

(Oh, hey, that's a good fake product name. I'll have to remember that.)

But if you stick with it, you can start to feel good after the first couple of days just because you are sticking with it. It gives that little mini sense of accomplishment. That, hopefully, you can turn to other things with. (I'm discovering that mental attitude and emotional states are often vicious circles. Sounds like psycho-babble, but oddly enough it bears out in the real world.)

Routines can be bad, too. One of mine is to procrastinate because I know how long it will take me to do something. And so I put it off to the last minute. And then something goes wrong and I'm scrambling to make deadline. Actually, that's more of a habit. A bad one. Ignore that.

Routines can be bad, though, if we replace purpose with routine, or use it to avoid something else. I have a real sympathy for those who suffer legitimately from OCD (and want to break the knees of every corporate go-getter who jokes about it). I can see the comfort in having a certain routine, and also the pernicious way it can slowly but surely over take your life. (Excuse me while I straighten the knick-knacks on my shelf.)

We can also get too locked into a routine, so that we don't take advantage of other opportunities that are out there. It's all very well to order a latter everyday if that's what you like, but if you don't deviate once in a while and actually try the coffee of the day, you might miss out on something good. Which is why next time I'm in the donut shop, I'll be ordering something other than Boston Creme. ... Maybe.

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