Repetition and habits

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A bit of a personal note to start. I have recently, half a year ago, graduated from my studies and started a full-time job, which I currently very much love. So there has been quite a bit of change in my life and I figured something out, that I found quite interesting. I really kind of like the well-structured, mostly repetitive life. There is a certain order to it that I quite started to like.

The beautiful chaos of studying

When I was studying, my life was both pretty structured, by the means of having fixed lessons every weekday and some exercise sessions, which were more or less obligatory, but which I attended quite strictly. I also did some work on the side, which I had planned pretty meticulously to fit within my schedule.

But then again, I was also a student, so whenever there was something more exciting, I could just drop my attendance to a lecture or to an exercise session. There weren’t really any strong checks if I showed up to a lecture, as long as I passed my exams and met on time with my supervisors for any papers or thesis, everything was fine.

Image from the pedestrian crossing right next to my university.

If I wanted to do something on a Thursday that had nothing to do with my normal schedule, I could just do that and then catch up on my uni work on the weekend. Or maybe also get up a bit later on Friday, since I was anyhow only working a small percentage next to my studies, so I could always catch up or move something around. It was straightforward, and I often made use of this flexibility.

Was it a bit chaotic, certainly. But it was also very nice, and I could just do whatever I wanted, at least some of the time.

Welcome to the real world

At first starting my job, while it was super exciting, it was also very exhausting. Not only because I was there for eight hours a day, paying attention and wanting to make a good impression on everyone. And also to just show up every day. I was frequently exhausted after work and I felt like doing something after work in a social setting, was also quite hard. I was fine going for a run, but because of spending all day with new people, I was regularly a bit socially tired as well, a feeling I didn’t really get before. Not ever.

A wet and gloomy day at the office.

But of course, as with everything, I have also gotten used to it. It became a bit less exciting, while still being an interesting job. And so it freed up more time, and it was less exhausting. And so, my social life started back up.

In any case, I began to become accustomed to everything, however, I was increasingly contemplating the habits that I had established. Not just because of the habits, but because for the first time in my life, I have nothing really big coming up on the horizon1. This is no more or less what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, at least professionally, and so it is a bit of a restructuring of my life.

Habits that stick

Currently, I try to stick to the following habits, and it works quite well:

I’m still trying to work on the following:

How to stick the habits

While I quite like habits, I try not to get obsessed by them. Yes, I try to go to bed around the same time, but then also it’s no hard feeling if I don’t do it one day. It’s fine, I will try again the next day and if not that, the day after that. I think it’s important to not lose the big picture. A habit is not formed in a day, and it is also not influenced by changes for a week or so. A habit is measured after a long time, and just sticking to a habit for the sake of it, is also not very useful. Stick to a habit because you like the habit, not because of the sticking-to-a-habit part.

  1. Depends a bit on your definition of nothing big. But it feels as if this is really where it will be. Of course, there will always be lots of exciting stuff, and it might also still change. I also see the potential for some big stuff I’m in my personal life, but it feels all less structured and less predictable than finishing my studies. ↩︎

Tags: Personal, Productivity