What do you want your days to look like?

If each of us were to “begin with the end in mind,” I think that’s the second most important question to ask. After “what’s the legacy I want to leave behind?”

Austin Kleon (from whom I stole the title) nailed it when he said:

“What do you want your days to look like?” forces you to imagine the day in, day out realities that making such choices will present you with.

Powerful, eh? It sure does make me think hard about my priorities. Most importantly it gives me real-time feedback on that great divide between what I truly aspire and what I’m doing to achieve it.

It’s humbling.

So much so that you lose faith (for a good reason) in the “ideal routine” that’s so much talked about, searched for and imitated by millions across the world. Only to be discarded after a couple of tries because there must be a better “routine” out there.

I believe someone else’s routine is just a reflection of their true beliefs and priorities in life. And they’re definitely not the same as yours. Might we not benefit from actually constructing a routine that’s built around our own priorities?

If I love to learn and want to build a routine around reading and reflecting, I will have to block out time for just that. Sure, it could be a couple of hours or just 45 minutes! You have to try and see what works the best for you. Just don’t force yourself to read for 3 hours because the “ideal routine” says so. I’ve done that and it was idiotic of me to even try! (I block out 30-45 minute chunks here and average at around 1.5 to 2 hours a day.)

The key is to stock in the realities of our lives. Imitating an accomplished writer’s routine because you’re an aspirating writer just doesn’t work. Why? Because you’ve got a full-time job, a wife, two kids and a mortgage.

Given those circumstances, what would an ideal day look like? Work backwards from there and prepare to tweak, twist or even break your routines. That’s what life is all about. It’s never perfect or even constant but ever evolving.

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