These are my pyjamas.
“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.”
– William James (From Daily Rituals by Mason Currey)
Me (Dave Martin)
Things I live by everyday:
- No screens used (TV, phone, computer) for at least an hour after waking up
- No checking email until 4pm (and only once a day), to not get into a reactive mode, having to respond to something pressing (that, 99% of the time, can wait till later or tomorrow)
- No social media (I have Twitter but I check it about once every fortnight). I use Whatsapp but it is not on my phone (accessed with wifi only on another device, which doesn’t allow me to be on it when I’m out) and I limit it to checking it 2-3 times a day. Also, no pointless surfing online.
- Two meals a day. One meal in the morning and one meal at night, about 12 hours later. Sometimes a banana or some other fruit in between.
- Be present in where I am and what I’m doing.
- Don’t let the weather affect what I do AT ALL. E.g. Instead of seeing rain as a bad thing, that should change my plans, I think, ‘What a beautiful rainy day.’
7:30 Wake up, stretch, MAKE THE BED*
Why? I do it to get my body out of its sleep state. (I also stretch immediately after waking up because cats do it. Dogs too – including my dog, Chunky. Animals know what they’re doing).
The ‘MAKE THE BED’ is one of the most important things I do every day. It’s the first thing I can do in the day that I can control, and I’ve always thought if your bed (or desk, or room) is a mess, so’s your mind. And when you go to bed at night, the bed and bedroom should look inviting and relaxing, not like you’re entering a disaster zone.
*My girlfriend, Noa sleeps way later than me so when I say ‘MAKE THE BED’, what I actually mean is ‘Make MY HALF of the bed’.
Do 2 sets of 15 bicep curls (8.5kg each hand)
To get the blood flowing and activate my body. Also when I’m tired at night, I can’t be f*d doing weights at night, so by the time I get to the end of the day and I’m tired, I’ve already done them. And If I have a shitty day, at least I can look back and say ‘At least I worked out a bit’.
Same reason as the weights. Get blood flowing, and to feel discomfort. I try to practice discomfort in a few different ways, so that when I have real discomfort I can’t avoid, hopefully it won’t be as bad.
Apple, Pecan & Coconut bircher with Blueberry yoghurt and strawberries (prepared the night before)
I have breakfast outside, sitting in the sun, at the table in the backyard to feel the sun on my skin. I read that day’s entry of The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and then a few pages from the book I’m reading at the time (currently: The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch)
I also make a point of playing with my dog, Chunky for at least 30 seconds. The first time I made a special effort to do this in the morning, it made me happy just thinking about it, for the next 10 minutes. 30 seconds of joy and play with my dog for 10 minutes of happiness. That’s a pretty good trade off. (That’s 20x the output compared to the input, so based on that theory, and if my science is correct, I’ll be happy every minute I’m awake if I play with Chunky for approximately 52 minutes a day.)
I read something online (a site or a blog that I like, WaitbutWhy.com, ESPN.com, Inc.com etc. (limited to about 10 minutes). Then I write a post for this site and work on other things relating to it (the newest addition to the routine!).
Walk Chunky to the beach
This gives me joy every time, and throwing the ball for Chunky is not just great, but doing it over and over for him just reminds me that all that matters is now. When he chases that ball, he’s not thinking about the future, not romanticising the past, all that matters is getting that ball. I also run into the water for a few minutes. 1) To go under and feel the water on my skin and just be present in the ocean. And 2) either to try ride a wave or get smashed by a wave and feel the force of nature. Sometimes I twist my neck or it causes some other pain afterwards, but it’s generally alright, and it’s cool, because it just takes me back to actually being back there in the water. Sometimes I also get stung by a blue bottle jellyfish, which hurts like hell. But for about the next 7-10 days I have a clear and painful red mark somewhere on my body that reminds me of that.
I write a 2 or 3 paragraph reflection of what happened that day and what I thought about it. I do grateful journaling in place of that every 2 or 3 days on average:
- I’m grateful for (3 things)
- 3 amazing things that happened today
- Tomorrow could be better if I…
I go into the backyard and look up at the stars in silence for 5-10 minutes.
I’ve tried about a handful of meditation techniques but I can’t really get them to work for me. Looking up at the stars is a meditation I’m experimenting with at the moment, and I love it. I try to think of how tiny the Earth must look from the stars, and how insignificant I must look from there (completely), and therefore how tiny my problems and worries are (and in the context of time, much, much, much, much, much, much smaller than that).
Reading in bed
About 5 pages of FICTION ONLY (at the moment: The Moomins: The Exploits of Moominpappa by Tove Jansson)
I only read non-fiction during the day, but before bed I want to switch off my rational mind and try to get into a dream state.
7-8 hours every night. I’m working on this. I want to bring this down to 5-6 hours (and not feel more tired).