Routine Refresh

In my newsletter this week, I explored the benefits of inviting a reset to routine. Barrel CEO and fellow partner Peter Kang responded to the email with a response that I think captures it perfectly: "Love the reset mindset!! Turning curveball into a home run!" Watching Peter become a father two times over and manage to keep up with his routine has been inspiring to witness. A practice I aim to embody as a father someday.

There have certainly been curveballs with my recent relocation. Rather than force my old routine or dwell on the fact that I'm off track, I have come to welcome these curveballs with open arms and see what opportunities they present.

Since Monday, I've adopted a 9 am to 5 pm work schedule, fully embracing the new work hours options we rolled out this week to give the team more flexibility across time zones. This structural adjustment to my day has opened the doors for me to redesign my routine.

What I've loved the most so far is the quiet time in the morning to think and explore ideas, an activity I used to embark on toward the end of the day. There's clarity of mind in the morning that is hard to capture at the end of the workday.

I start my day by writing in my journal before checking my phone or engaging with the world. Then, I get ready, completing my Readwise Daily Review while brushing my teeth. Then, I head up to my office to read for 30 minutes.

Over the last couple of months, I stopped reading in the morning and transitioned to getting it done just before bed. While I enjoyed how reading provided a calming moment before sleep, I find that reading paired with the other morning rituals is powerful for generating ideas and easing into the day.

After reading, the goal is to write and think. If I'm lucky, I'll get my daily note completed. For the last two days, this has not been the case; instead, I ended up drafting two longer pieces that I'm eager to continue exploring. One of which will likely become next week's newsletter!

By 10 am (when I used to begin working), I feel a sense of accomplishment heading into the day. My vision for the future is for the morning to continue to be a sacred time for deep thinking and long-term planning.

“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” (Pablo Picasso)

When the day ends at 5 pm, I try to jump right into a workout and get the body moving. Someday I may try to exercise in the morning, but for now, I still find early evening workouts to be an effective way to release the body and mind from the events of the day and enter the evening with renewed energy.

What I find fascinating is that while these activities are all slight adjustments from my old routine, the change in timing has already proven to make a profound difference. In the past, there were many days where I felt trapped by my daily rituals. I'd stay up late to get my reading in or have to skip working out so I could make dinner. Now, by 6 pm, my goal is to have all my daily rituals completed, leaving ample time to do whatever I want until my head hits the pillow. This feeling is freeing, and the joy it brings is priceless.

"To some, routine can sound like where creativity and innovation go to die—the ultimate exercise in boredom. We even use the word as a synonym for pallid and bland, as in “It has just become routine for me.” And routines can indeed become this—the wrong routines. But the right routines can actually enhance innovation and creativity by giving us the equivalent of an energy rebate. Instead of spending our limited supply of discipline on making the same decisions again and again, embedding our decisions into our routine allows us to channel that discipline toward some other essential activity." (Greg McKeown, Essentialism)