Writer’s block is for amateurs.
There are few things more intimidating than a blank page. But everyone knows that the way to get through any creative block is to just get going.
For writer’s block, write something. For painter’s block, paint something. For accountant’s block (is that a thing?) do your favourite equation or something.
Whatever we do, every day is a clean slate — a blank page.
Some of us may have an itinerary, but there are always big blank spots that need filling, and they are can be just as intimidating as sitting down at an actual blank piece of paper.
That’s one reason why doing something deliberate early, a small morning routine like drinking a glass of water or exercising, can be so powerful. It helps us get going. It breaks the seal on the day.
It’s my remedy to “being a functioning member of society block.”
We never really appreciate a great routine until it’s gone.
A great routine can work such deep, comforting grooves in our brain that it becomes almost impossible to do anything outside of it.
Routines can turn a frustrating chore into an automatic action we don’t even remember, but the trick is getting them good enough to take out of the box.
Skip town or jobs or even just a weekend and it’s not long before that routine crumbles and all the things with it.
The workout plan got left at the boarding gates.
The healthy diet got left on the plane.
It’s about all I can do to cling to these words.
Until I’m back in a routine again.
A simple stretch can give you a big boost on stiff days, even when it seems like a stretch to get out of bed at all.
Stretching releases a flood of endorphins, reduces stress, gets the blood flowing, and could help reduce menstrual pain.
It’s a quick win on any day. And you can do it while you’re still in bed.
Stretch your arms up high. Wiggle those toes way down.
Take a big breath, give it back.
And off we goooooo!
Most Fridays for most of my life were happy days. Drunk days.
The days I was released from the yoke to drink and revel and rut.
But since lockdown started and Friday nights turned into a night like any other, something weird happened.
I noticed that — left to my own devices — at around 2 or 3 pm on a Friday, I would crack open a beer and lean back into my chair and start to work.
Not in a frantic way — just keen. Almost like I enjoyed it.
And I was.
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as they let us out, I’ll be hitting one of those sticky downtown bars.
But I think I’m going to give myself a little date every other Friday to sit down while the rest of the world relaxes and write.
One evening a few years back, an old Super-Bowl winner told me about a prayer his college coach made him repeat every morning.
It struck a chord so I began to repeat my own little version of it.
It’s quite long so I won’t repeat it all now. But the message that would often send a shiver down my spine is short:
Whatever you do today is important because you are about to exchange a whole day of your life for it.
Make sure you don’t regret the price you pay.
And that usually got me out of bed pretty quick.
You’ve probably heard of the US Navy Admiral who speaks about how making your bed can change the world. He even wrote a book about it — he was obsessed. But with good cause.
Our physical surroundings affect our behaviour, and mess causes stress.
Being the kind of person who makes their bed makes us feel like the kind of person who does other productive, organized things and looks after themselves.
71% of bed-makers say they’re happy, while most non-bed makers say they’re not. Bed makers are also more likely to own a home, enjoy their work, sleep better, eat better, and exercise regularly. They also have more sex.
And as JP said to teenagers everywhere: “If you can’t even clean up your room, who are you to give advice to the world?”
Slaying that first little dragon of chaos only takes 90 seconds, but it sets the tone for the day.
There’s no right way to do it; doing it is really all that matters. But its impact is noticeable because we’re taking charge of our small domains and deciding our future.
And every time I do that, my day is that little bit better, and I take a bigger step towards my goals.