[Epistemic status: my personal experience]
Last week, I wrote about a way that I now conceptualize my personal maintenance habits/ systems/ practice. In this post, I want to say what those practices are, in rough order of importance for me.
Regularly doing all of these, more-or-less insures that I have good productive days. Note however that various stressors can make it harder to maintain each of these practices (especially #3), and correlation is not causation. It is not entirely implausible that some of these are not doing much work, but they seem useful because the days when I do them are the days when things are going well. More randomized experimentation is needed.
Plus, of course, your milage may vary.
- Get enough sleep. Nap during the day if I didn’t sleep enough or sleep well. (I never used to be able to nap durring the day, but I recently developed a method for falling asleep that works reasonably reliably.)
- Exercise, intensely, everyday.
- Notice, respond to, and process my aversions/ anxieties / triggers / concerns. This one is crucial, and is the current weak point for me. Some percentage of the time, my doing Focusing fails, in that I don’t get more clarity or a next action on the cause of discomfort. I think this is a bug in my Focusing process more than an inherent limitation.
- Outline my days the night before.
- Do some hours of Deep work, especially first thing in the morning.
- Full inbox 0: keeping my attention clear and keeping things moving. [I wonder if this is only good because of the momentum building effects / reward of closing out a list.]
- Make some visible-to-me progress, on my projects, even on minor projects
- Take rest days (I don’t know if this is only beneficial because it aids in doing some of the things above, but I think there’s an important thing of getting a reprieve from my stressors.)
One important open question for me is, “when all of the above is functional, is there still and additional benefit to daily meditation?” Or, alternatively, does daily meditation pay for itself by making any of the above (perhaps #3) easier?
Currently, I keep track of most of these in a daily checklist. This has gone through a large number of iterations over the past 5 years, but the first version was based on Sebastian Marshall‘s lights spreadsheet.