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Equal Parts Routine + Flexibility

April 8, 2013


My beautiful cat Chigger loves to hang out in the studio. He’s just a peach and I really enjoy the company.

And lately, I’ve been thinking how he is a reflection of my working methodology. Equal parts routine + flexibility.

He is a total creature of habit with an almost mind-nubbingly, repetitive daily routine:

Wake up. Cuddle. Eat. Morning outing on the rooftop terrace. Eat some cat grass. Back inside. Eat some more. Self-clean. In the studio by 8am. Sleep. Stretch. Sleep. Stretch. Eat. Sleep. Repeat until 5pm. Back to the rooftop terrace. Then, inside. Eat. Out on the balcony for some nightlife. Back inside. Lie on my feet on the couch. Sleep. Eat. Sleep. Come to bed. Repeat the next day…

I have to say though, that like Chigger I maintain a solid routine to get across the diverse range of projects that come into my studio. I start and finish in the studio at the same time every day and take a regular lunch break. I use my iCal to the max and schedule everything in, even personal commitments. Regular tasks like writing my blog or attending to emails, and working on time-based projects all go into my calendar. Blocking out time in this way encourages a kind of ‘super-efficiency’. As long as you stick to it. No checking emails during time set aside for project work or the entire game plan will come unstuck!

It’s this ‘batching’ and committing to particular tasks on certain days that develops a ‘mind-muscle memory’ and helps maintain flow throughout the week. Mondays are project days. Wednesdays at present are study days. Friday mornings are for all things financial – invoicing, filing, updating tax records etc. There is no energy wasted in figuring out what to do when. And, writing to do lists the night before becomes a breeze because my brain is already keyed in to the flow.

However, life doesn’t work on a rigorous routine all the time. It’s just not possible. Often clients’ schedules won’t align with mine and if I want to see them, I need to be flexible and renegotiate my calendar. Or, sometimes I just need a day where I take myself out of my routine and see an exhibition, read a book or visit a friend. Chigger’s hyper-extendable little body reminds me of this need to be open and adaptable, to be flexible and make things work. He also reminds me to get up from my computer or work bench regularly and stretch, and there’s a whole other post just in that!

Having said that, this post must come to an end here as I need to move on to my next task. My iCal is beeping at me!

How do you like to set yourself up to get the most out of every day? Do you subscribe to a routine? Saturday morning markets? Sunday morning newspaper? What helps you in your business with your workflow?

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