Weekly Rundown

And here it is, my Black Friday edition of the Weekly Rundown. As no one will be reading this today I’ll go ahead and post at 2 am. Good morning!

This Black Friday I’m taking REI’s suggestion of getting out into the wilderness. #OptOutside. I’m up in Pennsylvania, hanging out with the Amish. No, really I am. I’ll put up some pictures later this week. But here we go!

What I’m reading: Not Dracula! Finally finished it. After finishing it, I spent some time with Austin Kleon’s Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad. I’ve had the book for a while but hadn’t finished it. I dug it out while putting my notebook together, and figured I’d finish it.

What I’m listening to: Audiobook version of Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. I listened a lot of the way up to PA. The author’s first book for adults, we have occultism and Ivy League, homicide and mystery. I’d read at least one of Bardugo’s Grisha books before, and this one has much the same flow and tonality; if a bit darker.

What I’m spending time with: Routines. If you’ve read this week you’ll notice that it was a theme. I decided to fix my routine earlier in the month, and as a result I had a few thoughts that popped up. Four posts later, I’m not sure I’m done talking about routines. But that’ll be for later entries.

Other things of interest:

In case you don’t believe me about my skill, here’s one example…

IMG_3538

…and it’s one of my better sketches. But, as I always say: Fail again, fail better! 😉

Routines pt. 4

So, you have a routine that’s working for you. Or maybe several routines that get you throughout your day, or your week. You’re not in a rut, and you’re mindfully going along. The routine’s in place, and now you can avoid any discomfort where your routine is concerned.

Wrong. The discomfort may just be what you want.

If the discomfort is Resistance. As Steven Pressfield said of Resistance, “We experience it as an energy field radiating from work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”

One of the sad things about a routine is that Resistance can use it to discourage us from doing real work. We issue excuses about it not being a part of the routine. We quantify and qualify our responses. We demur.

However, if we’re mindful, and honest, we’ll notice whether or not it’s the work that we need to be doing.

Routines pt. 3

Let’s say you are stuck. You’ve found yourself in a rut that you can’t seem to get out of. Maybe it’s work; maybe it’s a relationship; maybe it’s everything. What do you do?

Like all good programs, the first step is admitting the problem. And you’ve done that now. You have a problem – it’s a rut.

The next step gets harder. Part of solving it is being mindful throughout your day.

The other part is taking an honest inventory of your life. Notice where your attention is pulled. Do you have trouble performing certain tasks as opposed to others? What are you phoning in? What doesn’t really interest you?

If you say it’s your entire job, then maybe it’s time to find something else. But most people tend to enjoy certain aspects of their work, if not the entire situation. Find ways to rekindle that interest.

The same can be true of relationships. Some of the interactions may not be working, but there are probably parts that you still really enjoy. Be honest with yourself.

When we get in a rut, we can put blinders on. We try to ignore where the problem actually is, and focus on the fact that we’re just not feeling particularly happy with our situation. But we have to be honest.

Take a good, hard look. And then evaluate.

Routines pt. 2

There’s a flip-side to routines: complacency. Complacency breeds a feeling of settling. Settle enough times, and you find yourself in a rut.

First of all, it’s easy to find yourself complacent in your situations. Routines can be used to auto-program your life, and then you can just set the cruise control. How to prevent this? Be mindful.

Being mindful in your day-to-day will create moments of miraculous significance – even in the mundane. Being mindful will illicit feelings of joy, and sorrow, and peace. Complacency means you’re looking at your situation and you’re okay with it.

Peace is looking at the situation and knowing that it’s exactly where you are meant to be.

Routines pt. 1

The benefit of routines is the creation of a kind of daily specialization. Routines program your body to daily perform the same tasks (or similar tasks) at the same time. Your body knowing this, it starts to prepare for that task as the time nears.

You free up precious decision-making capabilities, your mind already aware of what you’re going to be doing. Then it can focus on limiting or ignoring potential distractions.

Routines are extremely beneficial, and routines can be designed around any number of specific needs – morning routines; workouts; meal planning; scheduling meetings (or running meetings); etc.

Some examples of morning routines can be found in My Morning Routine from Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander. 99U has a small book called Manage Your Day-To-Day. And of course, Tim Ferriss’s books Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors are full of examples you can use.

Combating moments of inertia

When I’m under the weather I tend to retreat into myself. I like solitude and privacy for my recovery. Currently I am under the weather which is why this is coming up.

There are moments when we are addled with inertia. When we cannot seem to find the drive to do anything remotely productive.

First, it’s okay. We can easily become overwhelmed. Don’t beat yourself up.

Then realize that it’s just a matter falling back on routines. The routine you’ve established will be what gets you through. If you developed a routine of writing every day, even in an inert moment you’ll make time to write.

It’s then most important to develop routines when you’re feeling capable, so that in times of doubt you’ll have an easier time maintaining those routines.

Counterintuitive

The oddest little thing has come to my attention. When I was writing one or two blog posts a week, I always seemed to find excuses for not doing them. I was always too busy.

Now, with a daily post, I don’t seem to run out of things to say. I can knock out three or four every time I sit in front of the computer. Most are short. Some are longer, and may take me three-ten tries to tie them up. But I am able still to move through my thoughts in an easier, more-streamlined way.

It’s either the commitment (though I had committed to twice a week before, which I let slip), or it’s the routine, or it’s writing so often that I don’t worry about the quality of work as much. As long as it’s grammatically correct and (mostly) spellchecked, then I’m pretty happy with the result. Even if it’s a lot of nonsense, tomorrow is another day.

Week’s highlights

Inspired by Tim Ferris’s five-bullet Friday, and having a little time at many points during the week to browse and peruse, here are things that I across which you may like:

Be More Chill original cast recording. Check out the animatic version, which rocketed the failing musical to new popularity.

Alex Strohl’s methods for defeating burnout. As a creative and recovering busy-person, I’ve experienced burnout more than a handful of times. Leading a board, raising money, and creating original work all left me feeling spent from time to time. Strohl’s routines may not be for everybody, but I like to take suggestions from those I new face the same challenges I do.

Fundrise. For a minimum deposit of $500, get into the real estate business with this Real Estate Investment Trust. Great dashboard and communication with their DC headquarters makes this an appealing addition to my portfolio.

Japan’s Sea of Trees, Aokigahara. It’s on my list for visiting in 2020, along with other areas of Japan. Following my friend’s wedding in the Philippines, I’m planning on visiting Japan, India, and Thailand.