William James on the importance of routine (what he calls “habits of order”):

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.

via Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

I’m not sure about misery-inducing, but it certainly is tiring having to make hundreds of tiny decisions every day. Should I get up now? When should I shower? Eat? Exercise? Nap, or play with the cat? Is it time for tea yet (again)…? Self-employment has its perks but my boss is a bit of a softie, so it can be hard some days to get the work done. One of my goals for 2015 is to cycle through all the advice I can find, looking for tips and tricks to help me stay focussed and productive. The idea of routinizing as much as possible makes sense – far easier to manage exceptions than to make decisions (to edit rather than to create, if you will) – so I’m going to give it a go. Any other suggestions? What has worked for you?


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