In this post I’ll talk about how moving away from a daily routine has helped me improve my life.
A few years back, when I set out to improve my productivity I thought routines are the way to go. I planned my days and weeks. I stuck to it and made good results. I built softwares, worked out and made progress in life. But something felt off. I was repeating the same day over and over again. That didn’t seem the best way to live life.
Cues for change
Marc Andressen in his famous guide vouches for not keeping a schedule. Stumbling across this made me rethink. Am I doing it right?
Don’t work on a schedule
Extending your life doesn’t have to be living for more years. It can be getting more out every day, making it feel like more.
Routine is the enemy of time, it makes time fly by.
When we are kids, time moves slow. Everything we see and experience is new. We learn new things every day. When we are in our teenage, the new learnings are lesser. Hence, time seems to move faster.
Move into your 20s, time gets even faster. Congratulations! You have fallen into the trap of routine. The brain already knows all the patterns in your life. There are no surprises.
I’m still in my 20’s, but I guess that this is going to get even faster as I reach my 30’s.
For me, the key to a happy life is to surprise yourself with new experiences and learnings. Live like a kid. Easier said than done.
How do we do this
Enough of philosophy. How the hell do we do this?
Surprise your brain.
Learning new things.
If you want to make money, you should get good at something specific. Not good, but great.
But life is not only about money. Nobody told you so. Learn new things. If possible go one step further and try new careers.
I was always into photography. Last year I decided I’ll spend more time learning the skill rather than doing it as a hobby. I can click decent photographs now — by no means a professional. But I achieved the purpose – living like a kid. Learning new things, surprising the brain.
Starting to travel was life-changing. I don’t mean going to famous places and doing touristy stuff.
For me traveling means being at a new place, meeting new people and having new experiences. Travel wakes up your brain.
I travel with my wife. Both of us work remotely. So we have the luxury to work from anywhere.
Go to a new place, live there for a few days. Meet local people. Walk through the streets doing nothing. Have local food, do something adventurous. That is our travel blueprint. It is a way to turn on yourself, and be alive every moment.
Don’t let time control you, control your time
Recently after finding out that I have a fear of heights, I’ve been hiking a lot to get rid of this. Facing your fears gives you a feel of the time.
I never understood this when I first saw this in a famous scene from the Bollywood movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
When I hike a steep slope, time slows down. I’m scared, I’m uncomfortable. But all that is worth it. You make memories. Do things that scares you. Get out of your comfort zone.
Traveling is the single best way to kill the routine that you are stuck to.
(Important note: I’m writing this during the Covid-19 pandemic, right now is not the best time to travel. So stay the fuck home)