I recently started reading a fascinating book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. As the title suggests, it's a collection of profiles delving into the daily habits of painters, poets, philosophers, and other creative types.
I can't say I was particularly surprised by the vast quantities of alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine consumed by the majority of those featured--including Proust, Fellini, Highsmith, and Capote--but it has been a revelation to discover that naps, dog walks, and procrastination are other overlapping daily-routine themes. While I've never been a nap-taker, I'm definitely no stranger to daily dog walks (as much a relief for my canine companion as for myself) and most definitely not to procrastination.
"I know a person who will poke the fire, set chairs straight, pick dust specks from the floor, arrange his table, snatch up a newspaper, take down any book which catches his eye, trim his nails, waste the morning anyhow, in short, and all without premeditation--simply because the only thing he ought to attend to is the preparation of a noonday lesson in formal logic," writes philosopher/psychologist William James. That could be me, if you replaced the masculine pronouns with feminine versions and swapped out "a noonday lesson in formal logic" with "any writing project."
That's where rituals come in handy. Creating a daily routine makes our important tasks, well, routine. Which is to say, something we don't have to think about doing--they just become things we do, autopilot style, because we've trained and conditioned our unruly selves that way. This structure really works for me, and starts with a daily to-do list. There's something supremely satisfying about crossing each item off that list. It's visual proof of accomplishment.
Do you struggle with procrastination? What do you do to keep yourself on track? Please share!
I'm Aurelia, creative director here at Swell! This is my space for sharing thoughts and ideas with readers on more topics dear to my heart: Travel, wellness, veganism, and style, and living creatively and compassionately.
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