Work is an integral part of life. Believers would hold toil as man’s curse for the forbidden fruit. Non-believers would blame necessity, survival. Both views work for me. At the end of the day, life and work remain entwined.
Is work life?
Most people who have walked or stormed out of their offices/workplaces/institutions with the thought or certainty of not returning, perhaps realized that life is bigger than any possession, commitment, or profession. Work can give you the desired life but it sure cannot be its breath, or what you would live for.
So, you wake up at 6, 8, 10 am, anywhere in-between, or past. You probably have work to do and will toil till evening. You will most likely be exhausted and desiring rest, perhaps later, food, and more rest. A new day comes and you have work to do. The cycle goes on.
I would like to break that monotony in what I hope helps. For starters, I perhaps have the least healthy routine. But I get to do things that matter to my life more than just work and it feels rewarding at the end of the day.
My days begin between 5 am and 8 am; hardly ever earlier or later. Depending on the time, I can plan what comes before work and how much of it I can do. I used to lazy, stretch on the bed, and drift off to dreamless extensions until about 9 to 10 am. My lazy mornings ended when I vowed to start my days with art, a breeze of life, then work. For you, it could be something else (even sipping coffee to your thoughts).
I will take a few minutes to prepare, in the morning, and scribble some 1,000-1,500 words (sometimes 2,000-2,500). After that glorious moment, a day can be tackled, whichever way it comes. It is like that breeze of life that your day needs. What do you like to do? You could spend 30 minutes to an hour of your morning doing or thinking it! (You will, of course, have more time if you wake early).
Then the work. I am nowadays stationed in my bedroom, all day. By 11 am, maybe 12, there usually is some inexplicable exhaustion, laziness. It could be the bed. It could be the 4 or 5 hours straight of no meaningful breaks (sometimes 6 to 7 hours). But I can still push on with work; I am not in the best state for art. But I can scribble a verse to free my thoughts. That is why I choose art, over and over again. For you, it could be a book, a newspaper, a chat, or a stroll. Of course, there is lunch😋.
Three pm and the clock ticks forever! I end work at 5, maybe 6 pm. Three long hours to go. By the time I’m out, what I mostly want to do is sleep. It’s easier now, I don’t have to walk, take a taxi, or drive through traffic. It would be good for art but even with my sleepy head, I can go out to catch a gaze at the setting sun. Say a quick goodbye, watch kids play. Feel the evening breeze wash my fatigue away. Watch the birds fly home, hear the crickets wake to night. Watch the darkness advance, the moon shy high and a star twinkle. I could scribble a few lines. No talks, no movies, or music. Just poetry and I… and sleep…
8 pm, I wake from a nap, feeling artsy. I scribble 2,000 words, until around 9.30 or 10 pm. As I enjoy dinner, I read a short story or listen to an audiobook (I would rather listen as I chew). Often, I will proceed to bed, smiling, feeling like I have achieved something. Feeling like by the time the world wakes, I will have made money, made art, learned something, ate and rested well. What fulfilment!
What do you do? Our jobs vary and demand on different levels. Repetition, continuation, and what I would generally term as a hypnotic loop of sanity are sadly what our lives run on. Can you take charge of your loop and make it less boring and actually useful? If you try!
As I earlier warned, my routine is not the best. Here are a few reasons:
• Between 5 and 8 am, I would rather sit and scribble than begin with a workout. You may want to consider a healthier lifestyle and stretch your bones a little before you get started with your day.
• Depending on how invested/absorbed in the work I am, I may skip meals. Do not skip meals. It is unhealthy and unfair to a straining body. A healthy body is a healthy mind. Take a break or breaks. Breathe. Meditate. Eat.
• Mind wellness deserves a point. I love meditation and would love to practise it more. It is okay to slow down a little to breathe. It is good to.
Share your routine with us
Join me on Thursday as we look into your project(s)/life/interests. If you love your routine, then share it with us in the comments! It can sometimes feel impossible to do anything else besides work.
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Benson Langat is a poet, fiction writer, and freelancer. A dreamer, he realizes a world of possibilities through stories and explores life in poetry. Benie is a dad and lives in Nairobi, Kenya.