Journeys over outcomes
I’ll hop on the bandwagon of folks proclaiming the futility of New Year Resolutions, mainly because I’ve never been any good at them. I’ve started my fair share of years with goals like “Exercise more” or “read 30 books,” predictably finding myself having abandoned the proclamations by ~February.
In the second half of 2022, I spent some time reflecting on how my mind and body work together. This has led me into a greater appreciation for how I feel more energetic, focused, and calm with solidly established routines.
Rather than make a list of goals I want to achieve in 2023, I’m experimenting with the idea of instead focusing on building habits and routines that make accomplishing things like exercise, reading, or writing more of an autopilot task than something I need to maintain a motivation towards.
After some tweaking and testing, the daily routine that I think works best for me right now looks something like this:
- Wake up around 5:30am, and spend the first 2 hours of each day working on a personal project, reading a book that’s interesting, or learning something new.
- Transition into quiet, focused tasks for work, like writing documents or sketching out ideas.
- Do something active mid-morning, around 10:00am. This is when my mind and body feel least resistant to the idea of exercise.
- Spend the second half of the workday in a more collaborative mode; meetings, emails, async Slack conversations.
The quiet start to my day wasn’t something I discovered until I started working at HashiCorp, where most of my team lives on the West Coast. I’m on the East Coast, so I naturally get those first few hours of each day uninterrupted for quiet work. When I joined the team in June, I was shocked at how much I enjoyed that dynamic, and it’s something I’m hoping to maintain for the long term.
So, my only real “goal” for 2023 is to continue to iterate on a daily routine as a gift to myself. It’s not meant to optimize any specific productivity metric or hit an objective. Instead, the only metric of success here is that I continue to develop a routine that makes me feel good each day, even if that means the routine that works well for me now needs to change in a few months.