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September 15, 2021

A Unit of Your Future

I think of each day as a representative unit of my future.

As we get older, we find ourselves with more responsibilities and reduced mental agility for squeezing them in.

So, how exactly should we manage them?

Could we batch things together?

Well, not all the time. We can’t fit a week's worth of exercise in one day — some things need to be spread out over time.

Should we cycle between different routines?

For example, one week of sports after work, then swap it for downtime with friends instead. This doesn’t work well either (trust me, I’ve tried it).

Instead, you could do what I’ve been doing for far too long — play it by ear.

If I haven’t gone to the gym for a while, my mind alarms me that I need to temporarily store it front-of-mind. Then, it’ll tell me that I haven’t seen my friends for a while, so I put ‘gym’ in the backseat until I’ve met up with them.

This is a constant process; my mind is always playing tug of war with priorities, juggling the stresses caused by a lack of routine.

But routine is the enemy of spontaneity, so what’s the answer?

My closest solution is still a work in progress.

I’m working towards having a routine (or two) that constitutes a portion of everything I’d like from life.

Health, work, friends, family, creativity, spontaneity etc.

The difficulty is two-fold:

  1. There are too many things to effectively squeeze in in just a single day.
  2. Every day is different, one routine does not fit all.

The two solutions are these:

  1. Combine activities that check off multiple priorities (e.g. sports with friends, a creative craft that brings in money, eating healthy at my workplace etc.).
  2. Create routines for workdays and days off that on average, fulfil all priorities.
    For example, work out what you’d like to get done in a month, then divide that into 30 days — each one acting as a representative unit of that timespan.

Some days, it won’t be possible to get everything done as per the perfect ‘unit’ day.

However, it acts as a malleable baseline that you can oscillate around.

This is an exercise in understanding your true priorities and what can be left behind.

Spend some time thinking about what the ideal day would look like if you had to live that way for the rest of your life.

Then, get closer to it.

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