The need for routine

I thought this post by David Seah was very interesting. He's been documenting an attempt to create a new habit for himself -- getting up early and going to a coffee shop every morning to plan his day. He likens planning his day to graphic design: An unplanned day is like doodling on a blank piece of paper. A planned day is like using the techniques of his art to create harmony and usefulness.

Like David, I've been working on creating new routines for myself at work lately, and planning my day has been one of the most helpful habits I've tried. Right now I use Vitalist for my task list. It's ok, but I find that it doesn't allow you to create a list just for that day. Instead you have a dashboard that shows you "upcoming tasks." What I don't like is that when you complete the tasks for your current day, new ones for tomorrow pop up. You can't just display your current day with tasks organized by context. It makes you feel like you can't catch up.

So instead of using the dashboard, I find myself hand-writing my daily list in my notebook, which is a good thing because it forces me to think about what I'm going to do that day. It makes me think about the meetings I have scheduled, when I have to leave work, and what deadlines are looming. And best of all, I get to cross things off my list when they're done.

The other day I showed up early to a meeting and there was no one else in the conference room. I started going through my notebook and jotting down things that were on my mind -- the proverbial GTD "mind dump." There was something about being in that conference room that inspired me and allowed me to see things more clearly than when I'm at home or in my office, where it's easy to get distracted. Maybe once and a while I should stop in the cafeteria and emulate David...


Joe said...

I have recently switched to waking up at least 3 hours before I have to go to work.

To be honestly, the day seems so much better because I am fully prepared for whatever hits me. I started doing it last week and I got hit by a hard drive that completely failed on a server.

Without that planning, I would have been doomed. Sure, I would been able to fix the server but everything else would have been dropped. I was able to handled the emergency while keeping everything else in check.

Stephen said...

I have been getting up at 5:00 am or ealier for years, in order to surf and read and journal, etc. before my wife wakes up and starts {yammering} telling me about her plans for the day.
Recently (since starting GTD) I now review, plan, finish any posts that I want to put up for the day, and exercise. All is going well, and we have lost about 22 pounds!