I read and listen to a lot of interviews with top performers, and one of the most common questions that gets asked is "What's your routine?" or some variation on that.
"What do the first three hours of your day look like?"
"How do you structure your work day?"
The responses are always fun to hear. And they tempt the self-improvement side of myself.
If only I could wake up at 5:00 AM and have a bath at noon like Benjamin Franklin, I would be just as prolific.
But ultimately the specifics of each person's routing are not very instructive - for we are all peculiar creatures, and we all need our own peculiar routine to optimize our performance.
So while I don't believe we can replicate someone's success by replicating their habits, there do seem to be consistent themes that seem to reoccur across the daily habits of top performers.
These recurring daily "success habits"include:
An empowering degree of autonomy over one's schedule.
Time for writing (as simple as a 5 minute journaling session).
A willingness to do things that offend other people (such as saying no to social invites, working at odd hours, sharing unpopular opinions).
Setting one's own priorities in life and at work, rather than responding to others.
Single-tasking, not multi-tasking.
Going deep on a 1-5 things every day, rather than busily flailing about trying to move the needle on 5-20 things.
Do you need to do all of these things to find success? Of course not.
Do you need to do any of them? Probably not (well - besides some exercise).
But I do think it is a good practice to evaluate your routine.
What is your routine?
What do you do everyday?
Those are really important questions. Don't leave the answers up to chance, or worse - other people.
In the words of Annie Dillard: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Enjoy this post? Subscribe today to get future posts delivered straight to your inbox.
Peter Koehler's Writing Archive