I just finished the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. The book features the work habits of over 150 artists, writers, composers, musicians and poets. The common thread throughout the book is the ritual of going to work as an artist. Many of the people featured in the book had a very set schedule and many were absolutely dedicated to the schedule. There are always outliers of course but I was more fascinated by the people who held rather traditional 9-5 jobs and found time to do their art and writing.
Something that I learned from both my Learning How to Learn class and Productivity Hacks for Writers is that you really do need to rely on habit (AKA your zombie brain). We have limited stores of willpower and will quickly run through it if that’s the only tool in the toolkit. Habit, on the other hand, becomes more automatic. After taking the productivity hacks class, my latest habit has been to get up every morning at 4:30 am and write. And amazingly, I have kept this up for weeks now. Even more amazing – I even look forward to it. I have blogged every day in 2018 for my Olympia blog. So now I am on the lookout for anything that helps harness the power of habit to get things done. (My other early morning habits are meditating, gratitude journaling and unloading the dishwasher and the drying rack. On even days, I add a workout to the routine.) Believe me when I tell you that it’s easier to do things every day or on a regular schedule.
Last week I read a post on cleaning your house in 20 minutes a day in the Apartment Therapy blog (which I love and recommend: no apartment required). And you guessed it: it relies on habit, making cleaning an everyday habit. But before you get the wrong idea, it’s not a clean your house in 30 days and never have to do it again recipe. Instead, it’s a habit-forming plan to make cleaning an everyday thing so that it doesn’t pile up or leave you with a full Saturday of housecleaning chores. The post includes a 30-day checklist of chores and we started it on February 1. (I know, I know, that’s funny.) So far, so good. It’s easy to do and it makes a difference.