Storytelling and daily routine

Mike Rohde's Custom Moleskine Planner
Mike Rohde’s Custom Moleskine Planner (Photo credit: Mike Rohde)

I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling. Not only because I want to move toward more focus on that topic here, but because I also find the topic fascinating. Some of those questions will become later posts, but today, let’s talk about daily routine.

I recently got a smartphone, so I’ve been playing with new productivity apps to try and make what I do a bit more streamlined and to not get distracted nearly as much as I have been. (With the note to self – it was midterms and I was stressed.) What I’m finding is that I have been overscheduling myself like whoa! At first, I was going to start beating myself up, thinking that the number of items on my to do list (not to mention that unlisted things) was perfectly normal.

In the last few days, I stepped back from beating myself up, trying to get curious about what was going on. More specifically, to ask the very direct, gentle question: What story is underlying this to do list?

Oh, boy. Did that open up something I wasn’t expecting. Because ultimately, I was asking myself: What do I believe about myself that makes it okay to overschedule like this?

That I don’t deserve free time. That I am lazy if I don’t get it all done (regardless of what does get done). That I am a horrible practitioner if I don’t get to Every Single Thing Every Single Day. That I am not serving my students well if I don’t practice. That I’m not being a good student (and therefore wasting money and resources) if I don’t get Every Single Thing Done.

I could go on, but I won’t.

What was most eye opening for me was just reframing the conversation – what is the underlying story here? – was incredibly powerful. It wasn’t an immediate aha, but a curiosity, asking what would happen if I wasn’t able to get everything done? What would happen if I wasn’t able to get to my practice, because other things were more demanding of my time? (Like finishing a paper.)

What happens when you look at your daily routine? What story/stories are underneath that?

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