In a post from last week, I mentioned that I was practicing "dailies" -a practice I learned from The Accidental Creative podcast (this one specifically). I know daily practices started long, long ago in the monastaries of Buddhist monks. They had routines and rituals they practiced and honored in order to establish a trained mind. I was fascinated by the whole idea and decided I'd take a month to give it a try.
It took me a week to notice a difference in myself. Then the 5 Ways we Rob Ourselves post went live and lots of people asked specifically about my dailies. And, because I love a good question that leads to conversation, I decided to pull a big dailies post together. So, let us jump in!
My routines come in three categories: creativity, health, relationship.
- Write 750 words a day. (I've recently heard of and began using 750words.com and found that my daily goal is SIMPLE when it's a brain dump instead of an attempt at perfection.)
- Think of one blog post idea and write it down. (There's a page in my bullet journal for this.)
- Read for a half hour.
- Organize email inbox.
- Hit 10,000 steps or go to the gym.
- Drink water. (I haven't set a specific number, but have become much more intentional in my water consumption.)
- Spend intentional time with Jason.
- Write 2 comments on new-to-me blogs.
- Bible study and journaling.
The importance of each in your day is vital. Say you choose to adopt my same dailies, you're going to be disappointed. Not because my dailies suck, but because I created them specifically for my lifestyle. I created them knowing where my strong spots are and where I struggle. They are also reflective of the goals I have -goals that surely do not mirror yours. So, when you take on the task of making your dailies realize they're all about you.
I track my dailies in a really simple way. Last month my daily chart looked like this:
As might be obvious, the who thing came about on May 11th while I was listening to the podcast, so it was a random addition in the middle of the month (yes to bullet journaling!), but it was really fun to figure out how I wanted to format it. Basically, any box that has a bubble in it means I completed the task and the empty ones mean I didn't.
I've decided that the weekends are a pass, hence the blocks around weekend dates. Some weekends I'll be great and be able to knock everything off, other weekends I wont, but that's a grace area. My goal is to be more aware of my process and, quite honestly, it happens more on weeknights than it does on weekends and I'm okay with that.
This month my dailies were a forethought so I got to make them a bit more beautiful and clean looking. Here's the spread:
I'm hoping this will be fun to get to look back at as I read and work and write throughout the month. (If anything, the blank boxes encourage me to work and fill them in.
Todd Henry talks about Dailies and their importance through his novel, this podcast and that one, as well as on his blog. I agree with him with little emoji praise hands and then some. But I also realized these practices were more fruitful and important than I expected. Here are four reasons you owe it to yourself to take on your dailies:
1. FOUNDATIONS ARE VITAL.
Imagine your creativity as a tall tower. It will only remain standing and accessible if it's base is solidly established. Daily rituals are that foundation.
2. THE PAYOFF IS QUICK.
This isn't like a diet program or fitness challenge, your results will show up fast once your dailies are the right fit for your life. Within a week of beginning mine, I could see a change in my attitude to work and writing and, honestly, life in general.
3. YOU'RE REQUIRED TO EXAMINE YOUR PROCESS.
Ideas are what fuel our workplaces and homes, our churches and business. Without thought and forward movement, we're stuck. But our creative process needs the appropriate fuel and care. This can only be done by understanding what works and what doesn't.
This series has been so rich for me because I had never thought about how I make, what I make, when I make, where I make, but all those factors and more influence the way I create. So, think on it, reflect, maybe write it out (and if you're wild, post it on your blog).
4. THE PRODUCTIVITY SPILLS OVER.
In knocking off those daily tasks, I am more likely to take care of the bullets I've got for work and blog and life in general. Where I have the every day-ness of the rituals, I also have the excitement of checking off the other good stuff.
Well, I've spilled all the words about my dailies. Any questions can go right into the comments.
And I'll close by asking you:
what three things are going to be found in your dailies?