I’ve always believed that daily routines were for boring people.
To be honest, part of me still believes it.
At university, I had no routine, yet despite the lack of structure in my days, I got things done.
As a highly motivated lazy person, the old adage ‘work hard, play hard’ stuck with me. In fact, I made it my very own: ‘play hard, then squeeze in hard work’.
The result was that I’d almost always give preference to a fun ‘motive’ with friends.
You can find a hundred ways to criticise that and so could I, but something about it just felt right.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent a lot more time by myself, time which has allowed me to observe my thoughts and behaviours more closely.
One thing I discovered was that I have a limited amount of mental bandwidth for the work I can achieve every day.
After I reach that limit, very little productive work gets done. I’m not sure many people have discovered this fact about themselves, but I have a feeling it’s a universal phenomenon.
In an attempt to increase this propensity for work, I tried to sit at my desk for longer hours, confronting my tasks until I built more stamina.
I’ve reflected on this behaviour a lot, of which I’ve largely shared already, but for reference:
Overworking is bad. Creating time for spontaneity is good. Work smart, not hard and so on and so forth.
What I’ve only come to realise now is why exactly I miss that scrambling mess of a university routine.
It’s the reason I remember my days at university with crystal clarity.
It’s the reason I felt more outgoing and inviting.
It’s the reason why my friendships have strong foundations.
There’s great value in forming good habits. But what happens when your days are full of them? Your life becomes a habit; a controlled process of repeated actions.
A strong work ethic is also commendable, but who wants to be on a hamster wheel their entire life?
Do you know what one of the biggest ‘regrets of the dying’ is said to be?
“I wish I didn’t work so hard”.
Pardon my boldness, but I’d like to attempt to dissect this for a little more clarity.
I don’t think the regret is working hard, but rather, what the work made them miss (as explained by the original source).
Therefore, working at a lesser intensity can still occupy the same amount of time, leading to those same missed moments.
The answer then must be to create time for other moments.
But what exact moments should we be making time for?
The moments I think we truly seek are those that are storyworthy.
Storyworthy moments are part spontaneous, part intentional.
Not every spontaneous moment will be storyworthy, nor every intentional moment.
But most storyworthy moments are spontaneous, and they require your intention to seize them.
The next time your friend is in town for a day, seize that opportunity to meet them, there’s a storyworthy opportunity in that reunion.
When someone asks you to skip your morning gym session for something new and exciting, consider it.
Don’t miss out on the regret of a storyworthy moment and don’t hide behind a wall of habits and routines, that’s not living.
Try to seize the storyworthy moments in your life
They’re always another passing by, you just need to seize them as they come.
There are very few things in life that influence our nature like stories do.
The stories we tell make us more interesting.
The stories we seek make us more interested.
And the story of our life is what’s most important, so make it the best it can be.