An Ideal Day

Over the last few years I’ve noticed a trend in books and conversations dealing with the day-to-day routines people follow. Whether it’s writers or artists and their rituals or people from other cultures, we seem to be fascinated with what people do with their time. Despite the fact that it’s often people with semi-celebrity status whose routines get published, I think this trend is healthy and in a way, anti-celebrity. It shows that even the most accomplished people tend to have a day-to-day ritual they follow, or try to follow, and that often it’s not too far off from what is achievable by almost anyone. In that way, I find that sharing daily routines is something that brings people together and motivates us to live better lives.

So, with that prelude, I’m going to diverge a bit from the trend and and not share my actual daily routine, I’m going to share the one that I aspire to. Each part of this has been in my routine one time or another, but I haven’t had the full thing all at once for any sustained period. Here it is:

6:30 – 7:00 Wake up and meditate for 20 to 30 minutes. I like Samatha and Vipassana style meditation.
7:00 – 8:30 Actively read literary fiction or non-fiction. For me, this is reading and taking notes with the mindset of eventually summarizing what I read in written form.
8:30 – 9:00 Breakfast.
9:00 – 12:00 Write code for either work or a personal project. I love the combination of creative and technical satisfaction I get from writing code. I also love the immediate feedback. This is how I most easily find “flow.”
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch. I like to take long lunches at one of the amazingly varied restaurants around Seattle.
1:00 – 3:00 More writing code. This could also easily be substituted for writing prose or researching work or project related ideas.
3:00 – 3:30 Catch up on the news. I don’t like to be immersed in news, but I like to have a time-limited period of the day where I can indulge my tendency to keep up to the minute with the latest in technology and other news.
3:30-4:30 A long walk or swim. I love going on long walks either around my neighborhood or the city. This can be with friends, my wife, with an audiobook or just enjoying walking alone. I’ve never had swimming as part of my daily ritual, but if I ever get back to living close to the ocean, I’d love to do that. This could also be some other form of exercise. I’ve never been one to go to the gym, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it.
4:30 – 7:00 Family time and dinner. This sometimes involves board games or card games, drawing or just chatting with my wife and boys.
7:00 – 7:30 Playing music (I try to play banjo), ideally with someone else.
7:30 – 9:00 If I could somehow pre-arrange to have an awesome conversation with my wife or friends or someone I’d like to meet every day, I’d love that. Those types of conversations tend to be memorable, life-changing and some of my favorite moments.
9:00 – 10:30 – Reading, fiction.
10:30 – Sleep

That’s it! Feel free to share your routine if you’d like to. For others, check out the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, Tim Ferris‘ podcast or pretty much any biography or autobiography.


Leave a Reply