“If you only write when inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist.”
― Neil Gaiman
I agree with Mr. Neil Gaiman. So there goes my dream of becoming a novelist. Unless (dramatic pause), unless I get my act together. The act of submitting myself to a routine and being disciplined about it.
Now how many times have you heard the old aphorism, “Practice makes perfect”? Well truth be told, I’ve heard it a gazillion times and I never really paid heed to it. I mean not in a disrespectful way, but you know how it is when you hear or see something so often, you generally take it for granted and you don’t really ‘hear’ or ‘see’ ‘it’ any more? So that’s what I guess I did with that truly profound and life changing adage. I should have paid more heed.
Today was one of those days where I got a lot accomplished, yet at the end of it all feel like I’ve not really done anything. It kind of amounts to nothing. Why? For Chrissakes:
- I woke up in the morning and took an important client call. It was fruitful.
- I paid some bills that I’d needed to.
- I had another important call with a ‘personal branding’ expert.
- I played with my niece and nephew
- I answered all my emails, got some reading done, watched some videos which
have been enriching.
- Managed to negotiate with a venue on rates (for an event that I’m going to be hosting).
- Had yet another call with another client later in the evening.
- Sitting here to write my post.
If you cast a glance at the list, wouldn’t you agree that it was a pretty good list of accomplishments? I think so too. Then why the hell do I feel so out of whack!?
That’s because I didn’t follow a routine that I’m used to. And I know for sure had I followed that routine and was a little more rigorous about my discipline, I’d have accomplished a lot more, for sure.
Being disciplined about your day/ routine/ life helps you:
- Start your day with greater clarity and purpose. When I wake up, I lie in bed for a few minutes acknowledging myself, the day, and my life for all its little gifts and miracles. Yes, I practice gratitude. The day I don’t, I feel irritable, anxious and yes, out of whack! Little wonder eh?!
- Get and feel organized. If your daily routine is to wake up, have a cuppa steaming hot espresso or lovely warm Darjeeling tea, read the paper, go sit on the pot, with or without a newspaper, check your BB or smartphone for emails, it’s a routine. You know the next step you need to take that will take you towards fulfilling your chores, to-do lists, whatever. Right?
- Say NO to clutter. From the carousel of your mind to a Todo.ly list or a diary or Tasks or whatever and wherever you find peace in listing down the “Things to do”. The pleasure of actually ticking each accomplished task off the list is like having a warm chocolate brownie with some gooey Hershey’s sauce squirted all over it. You know what I mean?:). No clutter in your mind. No clutter, no anxiety, smoother day. Whoa!
- Feel self-assured. Notice am not saying ‘in control’ because control is not a word that I particularly care about. It’s connotations are all black and foggy and wormy for me. Nope, nyet, not happening. Exit Control. Enter Self-assured. When the clutter’s gone, the day’s course all charted out, you’ve done your morning ritual, you’re actually ready for the day, of the day, by the day. Yes, you’re ready to take the day in your stride. And boy does it feel assuring!
- March towards your goals/objectives/aim/ endeavours/ intentions/ purpose. Am an eager beaver participant in Brene Brown’s Online Course on The Gifts of Imperfection where there was this interesting question about how the word intention is being bandied about so frequently and therefore perhaps lost its potency. And hence the alternatives above :). But it is true that when you set yourself a little routine and are disciplined about following it, you get a whole lot done. Which essentially means that you can even have a scheduled ‘me’ time, to reflect, introspect, be empty, anything, and perhaps identify, resolve and implement your life’s purpose. Isn’t that one more brownie point in favour of Big Daddy Discipline here?
(Every post that has a ‘how to’ in its title usually doesn’t go beyond 5 bullet points. Say what you have to in 5 or perish. Everyone has ADD so hey, who’re you trying to impress eh?)
Now I know why I am feeling so out of whack today! Though for all practical purposes it seems that I did get a lot done, I still didn’t go for my walk, practice my meditation or my yoga, or get my journaling done, etc. Yes, I do recognise that I’m a creature of habit. And some habits are good to keep. Breathing is a good habit. Thinking positively is a good habit. But habit is a force when it’s deliberately inculcated. And to do so you need discipline. Even the Buddha believed that true happiness, peace and enlightenment could only be achieved by disciplining the mind. So there you have it. Discipline baby!
Practice. Discipline.Everyday.Success. Peace. Gigs. Yours. I like!!!
So which song would you like to hear today to get you out of the blues? How about The Beatles?