Chaos is sometimes presented to us as a good thing, the youthful characters in movies and video games that we all want to be. To be more spontaneous, not to be strangled by our dull duties.
Batman the Dark Knight stars a villain who is all about being a disorganized mess, seemingly relying on random luck and improvising rather than getting a plan going. In the end he falls, but I still don't think that the character was all that chaotic to begin with. Even the Joker planned his moves. His actions were surprising, but not utterly chaotic as we might be led to think.
On the other hand an orderly routine is shown as being the sign of the boring person, indulging in whatever little tasks their minuscule world can offer. A characteristic approach in the movies (comics, video games and other mediums) will have an accountant live an orderly and ordinary life, full of routines and little personal rituals while the Big and Brave Hero who goes out at night to stop criminals will have a seemingly random life full of interruptions, danger, chaos - and still accomplish great things on a daily basis.
Routine = Mediocre, ordinary life.
Chaos = Success, money, exuberant fun.
I want to reverse these equations.
A thing that's necessary to do is to separate life and fiction. An obvious thing to do as we watch more and more movies.
We confuse what's real with that which is cinematic or with what is there to simply entertain us and not to educate us. Entertainment doesn't wholly cooperate with reality, it borrows character traits from the real world to abridge between fiction and reality and hashes those characteristics up and makes up its own reality to make some "sense" to us, the viewer. We forgive movies those fallacies sometimes because they inspire us or help us experience various emotions, don't forget however to stay in reality when the credits roll.
By staying in reality I mean, you have to make choices that are based within what we experience in the real world and how this real world affects us.
I don't intend to communicate that you should do "what's rational" or what's "common sense". What I mean by staying in reality is that you should pay attention to how the world affects you and its truths. Gravity works. If you don't sleep, your attention will plummet. If you overdo alcohol, your reactions while driving will be much slower. If you don't have a successful routine, I can only imagine chaos and disorder in your personal pursuits.
When relying on chaos rather than on orderliness, success thus doesn't become a thing of work but a thing of luck. A thing of luck cannot be figured out or measured. It's just random chance. However a successful routine can be constructed for your benefit.
What does my daily routine looks like?
I'll mention here that my daily routine isn't perfect, nor will it ever be. It's also personal, so you might want to build up your own. It undergoes changes daily.
There are times when my daily routine completely fails or times when I can't enact even those daily must dos because I'm travelling or hiking somewhere. You have to excuse yourself sometimes, never be too harsh with yourself and never be unforgiving with yourself. Learn from the failures.
What a typical daily routine might look like-
* Wake up at 6 AM, brush my teeth and wash my face.
* Physical warm-up (sometimes includes a longer version of walking outdoors for 30-60 minutes before breakfast).
* Art warm-up (10 minutes of drawing lines and shapes, 25 minutes of gesture studies, 40-60 minutes doing 4 color studies of paintings I love).
* Reading 30-60 minutes.
* Whatever errands I have to do (usually 30-90 minutes).
-- 10:30 AM --
* Freelance work for about 3-4 hours.
* Pre-Lunch workout (30 minutes of either a strength workout or a workout with weights).
* Lunch (duh).
* Reading 30 minutes.
-- 04:00 PM --
* Freelance work for 2 hours.
* Yoga (about 30 minutes).
* Internet/Gaming/Whatever is mindless and fun for an hour.
* Shower+Brushing Teeth.
-- 08:00 PM --
* Freelance Work/Personal Project/Homework for College for 2 hours.
* Summarize day in my super secret diary, plan the next day out.
* Read some fiction before bed.
* Sleep like a baby, exhausted after an another productive day at around 11:00 PM, maybe a little later.
Do I have time to see people? Of course I do, I have a beautiful and lovely girlfriend and we see each other a few times a week. I go out with friends at least once a week. I included here a really intense daily routine, although I did include a lot of reading and goofing off on the internet for an hour to balance things off.
Some days require me to skip the internet fun time, sometimes I insert things in between that aren't written in the to-do for today (those things I usually finish rather quickly), sometimes there isn't any freelance for me (*sadness*) so I concentrate on my own project or do studies instead or speed up through the current book I'm reading. Sometimes I cancel the yoga in the evening because I overdo the strength/weights exercise before that.
The point is that the daily routine is malleable for modifications but having the routine helps me set a good pace for myself. After a while of working like this, I begin to see how much time something needs and I can be more precise with my planning for my routine.
How can a daily routine help me?
Remember school? They had all the lessons organized for us, the luckier people went to special schools that had a more open setting that taught them to plan their own day. I don't think school teaches us very well on how to accomplish our own desires because it concentrated on what they thought was necessary for people to get good grades in instead of concentrating on what a student really wants to master. So school jumped a lot, taught very boring lessons (sometimes very interesting lessons were taught in a boring way), and helped us associate routine with something negative (well, for some of us. Some may have enjoyed school).
Like schools, you can set a routine for yourself that looks like a plan for the day in terms of lessons. Unlike school, you can chose what you want to concentrate on and really master it.
The routine will also help you practice what's important for you daily, after a month or two the habit of practicing will get so ingrained in you that you'll sometimes feel the absence of it if you fail to commit to your routine even for a single day! I get itchy when I don't draw at all for a whole day.
Naturally, you'll get better at that very thing you want to master and this will push you further on.
An important note about routines, keep a day or two a week free of the routine. I personally can't be so organized all week long and I really enjoy sleeping in during Saturdays for a little longer than on my routine days. It helps balance things out and it keeps me playful, fresh and motivated.
Why do I write a summary of the day in my super secret diary?
This is a thing I learned from Jim Rohn's talks. He specifically touches the subject of reflecting back on to what you did and going over what you did good and what didn't quite work out. This helps you keep track of your successes and failures, it helps you fine tune your routine and methodology. I also do that with my work-outs, I record what kind of a work out was done and sometimes the number of sets I did of each exercise. It's highly motivating to do a workout when you see in your notebook that you've been keeping it up 6 days a week for the past month, it's also motivating in a slightly negative way to see that you haven't worked out for the past month! (been there too!).
Building up a daily routine, a cautionary tale-
Something that didn't work for me with building up a daily routine was me fantasizing about starting out big and fast. That is, from a slob to the rigorous routine follower, unwavering and disciplined like a samurai. Nope. That stuff doesn't work, at least not for me. It kills all the fun in your life, and the next time you have to get up to do it over and over again you begin to quickly develop a guttural hatred for this whole routine thing you only recently adopted. You become bitter, nothing gets accomplished as you take complete days off to restore energy from your exhausting routine. It just doesn't work.
I tried to go into a full blown out routine a few times, it would last for a few days and then falter and I'd discontinue doing those things that were productive for me for a few weeks.
What does work?
Starting slowly. Very slowly, building up a routine over a period of a few months (I can't say how many exactly, but don't dilly-dally for too long with that).
Incorporate a wanted activity, only a single one at first. If you wanted to do a 10 minutes walk every morning, do that and be proud. Let it sink in for a few days, maybe a week or two and keep at it. Nothing too complicated. Then keep adding activities and things you want to do daily, one after another. Give each thing time to be incorporated within your mind until it matures into a habit. Slowly, you'll build up a denser routine as you go along. This is what worked for me. You'll enjoy your routine while building it up, seeing that you actually successfully follow something you planned!
I started drawing as a serious pursuit in June 2011, I did about 2 hours of drawing a day only because I was drawing somewhat consistently for years before that and had some experience with drawing. I never had gap years without drawing. I'd draw 4-5 days a week, even a small sketch would count. However, starting out with only 2 hours a day in June 2011 I slowly expanded over 4-5 months to about 6 hours/day of drawing and painting and then stretched over to 12-14 hours/day on some days (that was extreme for me). I did nothing but draw, paint, work, sleep a bit and do some errands.
So again, don't forget to rest. Don't kill yourself while racing towards personal excellence. Try to get better but avoid trying to be perfect, that's a setup for a lot of disappointment. Interact with people, it's important. Seclusion works only for few, the others who attempt it will find the lack of interaction working against their motivation.
So cheers, and hope this was even slightly helpful.
More artwork to come, updates on Wolfgang's Quest and more journals!
Sir Towel the Salty
Listening to: Random Chiptune Music
Reading: Economics : The User's Guide
Playing: Project Zomboid
Drinking: Green Tea