Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Examination of Routines

I am the type of guy who really likes routines.  I think it's tied to this weird obsession I have with finding the most efficient way to do everything.  I recently stumbled across this website where the routines of famous people are listed.

One of my favorites is Benjamin Franklin:
The precept of Order requiring that every part of my business should have its allotted time, one page in my little book contained the following scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of a natural day.
5-8: Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive day's business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast. (The Question. What good shall I do this day?)
8-12: Work.
12-2: Read, or look over my accounts, and dine.
2-6: Work.
6-10: Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day. (The Question. What good have I done today?)
10-5: Sleep.
Making time every day to ask "What good shall I do this day?" and "What good have I done today?" is reason enough to work on building a routine.  The practice clearly worked for the underrated Franklin.

Another interesting one is Barack Obama:
Although his presidency is barely a week old, some of Mr. Obama’s work habits are already becoming clear. He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning, roughly two hours later than his early-to-bed, early-to-rise predecessor. Mr. Obama likes to have his workout — weights and cardio — first thing in the morning, at 6:45. (Mr. Bush slipped away to exercise midday.)
He reads several papers, eats breakfast with his family and helps pack his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, off to school before making the 30-second commute downstairs — a definite perk for a man trying to balance work and family life. He eats dinner with his family, then often returns to work; aides have seen him in the Oval Office as late as 10 p.m., reading briefing papers for the next day.
“Even as he is sober about these challenges, I have never seen him happier,” Mr. Axelrod said. “The chance to be under the same roof with his kids, essentially to live over the store, to be able to see them whenever he wants, to wake up with them, have breakfast and dinner with them — that has made him a very happy man.”
In comparison I jotted down how my usual morning breaks down:
  • 6:30: Wake up (sometimes set alarm at 6 and hit snooze until 6:30)
  • 6:50: Shower/dress
  • 7:10: Eat breakfast/check email, google reader, facebook, google news
  • 7:45: Leave for bus
  • 8:15-8:30: Arrive at work
My routine is far from ideal.  I enjoy having time in the morning to reflect a bit on the day ahead.  My current schedule usually does not allow much time for doing this.

I will be starting law school in less than three months so my routine will definitely be changing.  I am planning on taking this opportunity to instill a much more structured, Franklin-like routine.

An easy criticism of these routines are that they are boring and non-spontaneous.  I think this is fair.  But I also think that this type of structuring can allow for maximization of time to do great things.

From looking at the routines of famous and accomplished individuals a theme seemed to emerge; rigid structure allows for focus and bursts of creativity.

A few links related to the subject:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Assorted Musings

I often have flashes of seemingly great ideas or thoughts.  When this happens I keep these ideas on a Google document, sometimes expanding on them and writing a blog post and sometimes never touching them again.  Here is an assortment of the later.

One of my new favorite blogs is here.  Which is where I stole the Assorted Musings idea from.


The next 5 to 10 years are going to have elevated levels of unemployment. What are ways that you can capitalize on this?

-Few people your age have an entrepreneurial attitude. This generation has been told what to do....What does this mean??
In regards to entrepreneurial thought, I see no better time in history to forge your own way in business than now.  The reason: internet, globalization, etc, coinciding with an age of many young people taking the same paths their parents took.  It is a completely different world.


The blurring of political communication with the internet is creating issues for campaign finance can you get more involved in this???


The best thing about February is that it is only 28 days.


Be so good that they can't ignore you. (I believe this is a Steve Martin quote.)


Some really great stuff on economic thought and ideology.

" the course of producing and distributing goods and services, market outcomes generate incomes, wealth, status, and power. Any modification of market outcomes modifies the allocation of incomes, wealth, status, and power. So it is no wonder that the discussion has become thickly encrusted with ideology. And one convenient way to turn subtle argument into ideology is to create dichotomies where there are originally fine gradations of more and less. For example: are you for or against “the free market”?

"The market evangelists, who tend to claim more for unregulated markets than solid theory can justify, are ideologically motivated. They dislike and distrust governments so much that they overlook the exceptions and the implausible assumptions, and simply propose the blanket principle that the market knows best. What is improper in this manner of argument is the frequent casual hint that it is authorized by economic theory. Nothing so general is ever authorized by economic theory."

"Why, in the marketplace (sic!) of ideas, have the evangelists for the unrestricted market attracted so much attention and the “realists” so little? He argues, fairly convincingly, that the truth does not lie predominantly on that side of the issue. So is it that believers always make more effective advocates than skeptics do? Are we for some reason more receptive to simple answers than to complex ones? Is it that, in the nature of the case, there is more money backing one side than the other? Perhaps the long postwar prosperity provided good growing conditions for conservative political and economic ideology. If so, it will be interesting to see if the current recession and financial meltdown leave traces in the course of serious economics."