HUGH CULVER

Hey drama queen, maybe it’s time to embrace routine.

Updated to Life, Productivity on June 28, 2023.

I’m having a boring week. And I’m loving it.

Before I get to explaining what I mean, let me tell you about the kind of week I don’t love.

It usually starts with no plan for the week (my Flight Plan is essential for feeling grounded and on top of my game) and goes downhill from there.

I’m buried in my Inbox, responding to every request, while still opening more emails as if I have some kind of supercomputer that keeps track of multiple conversations (which I definitely don’t).

I sit all morning, drink my tea and let cortisol run my decisions. Stress levels build. I have a nagging feeling I’m working on small stuff and the overwhelming feeling I’m avoiding what really needs to be done. “Clarity about what matters,” writes Cal Newport in his excellent book Deep Work, “provides clarity about what does not.”

You get the picture – it’s a day high in drama and very low in long-term results.

Sure, I made some people happy with quick responses, but I could be doing that all day and still not get ahead. The bottom line is that if you don’t plan your day someone else will.

If I’m describing anything like your day, you absolutely need to read on.

Boring is a blessing

I used to abhor boring.

I don’t want to talk to boring people, read a boring book or do boring work. Even the word boring is, well, boring.

But, there’s a part of boring that’s quite attractive – it’s the routine. “The secret of your future,” wrote songwriter Mike Murdock “is hidden in your daily routine.”

You see, when I update my Flight Plan first thing on Monday – before looking at any email, social media, or scribbled notes – I feel in charge. And when I do something really boring – like follow my plan – I feel like a king (as opposed to a Drama Queen.)

Take this week for example.

I have appointments all through the week – mostly enquires about SOS (now BlogWorks), two speaking inquiries, meetings with marketing partners, calls with my coach, etc. At the same time, I’m writing a new ebook, my team is rebuilding the SOS site under the new BlogWorks banner, I’m on a team hiring a summer camp coordinator for the Kelowna Paddle Centre and I’m getting awesome workouts in every day.

Boulders are happily rolling ahead (including my health), even with a pretty full 4-day week.

That’s boringly beautiful.

Rituals Rule

What makes my life rich is the freedom I get from rituals, routines, habits and systems.

Every week has drama. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just part of life.

A client needs something last-minute, a daughter breaks up with a boyfriend (just happened), my car starts making a scary noise, or one of my tenants sends a text about a broken toilet. Great.

No avoiding it: shit happens.

What makes my life rich is the freedom I get from routines.

It’s the routines in my life that allow for harmony and a sense that all is right around me. I can put on a cape and fix a toilet, or stay late to crank out a last-minute proposal and not feel my world is one holy mess of drama and dopamine fixes.

It’s surprisingly easy to make this happen.

It starts with designing routines that simplify life and move boulders forward. “Design a routine that enshrines what is essential,” instructs Essentialism author Greg McKeown, “making execution almost effortless.”

What about you?

Where do you need to repair lost routines, or create new ones to serve you better? Start with Boulders, like family, health, sales, products, travel, reading, writing.

Boring can be beautiful.

 

Here are some of my most popular articles about habits and systems:

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