• James Hewlett


I thought I’d talk a little bit about structure today. Its something I personally find really important and helps me not only manage my days but stops me from being pretty lazy a lot of the time. Its a lot easier to just not do something or to put it off and motivation is unreliable. Thats not to say is doesn’t exist, just that you shouldn’t rely on it always being there to get up and do something.

I’m going to run through the basic structure of my day and talk about things as and when relevant.

My alarm goes off exactly at the right time, it’s looks like an arbitrary number, certainly not on the hour or anything, but I know that when that goes off I’ll hit snooze on it once, not to catch nine extra minutes of sleep but to allow my mind and body to wake itself up. I’ve got pretty good at knowing exactly how long has past and I often open my eyes and look at my phone just as that snooze timer ticks over to zero. Then I’m up, no matter what I can get up, I’ve been good at this for years, even when I used to be out the night before and still drunk I could still get myself up and going even if it hurt. Theres a lot less of that these days so its not hard at all. I’ll get out of bed, go turn the shower on and let that heat up while I brush my teeth, then I’ll have a shower that without ever timing it is almost exactly the same length every day as when I go back into the bedroom to get dressed the time is always the same. I’ll get my shit together, kiss Sara goodbye (she’s often still sound asleep as she’s worked late the night before) and head to work. I know I technically should have breakfast, but I never do. Breakfast is a treat when we’re on holiday or Sara wants to make pancakes or something.

Work is work and will take up a chunk of the day and due to the nature of my job I never can say exactly what time I’ll be finished but I have a fairly decent estimate day to day. My schedule has recently changed for when I get home though and thinking about that is actually what has inspired todays post. When I get home, the first thing I do… thats a lie, quite often the first thing I’ll do is take a shit but you don’t want to hear about that. The first thing I do these days is some exercise, I alternate days between running and core workouts at the moment and am slowly building up how much I do without over doing it. Its the first time in nine years I’ve given myself a proper plan for fitness so I’m a little rusty, but I’m enjoying doing it. This is one of those things that for me at least requires structure or else I’ll put it off to the point of never doing it.

When I either get back from my run or finish all the crunches and whatnot for that day, and when I’ve had a drink and caught my breath, is when I write. Like right now! Monday to Friday I usually find it easier to figure out what to write about as I’ve had time at work during the day to think about it, at the weekends it can be a bit trickier to find inspiration which is why whenever possible I like to write more posts than I need so I have something to fall back on if needs be.

I haven't seen the sofa since I got back from my run... that cute little fucker stole it.

From there it depends a lot on if Sara is at work on not that evening. If she is I’ll generally watch some TV, play some video games, read something, browse reddit, usual sort of time wasting bullshit we all do way too much of. I have started letting myself enjoy that time a bit more as I at least feel like I have done something that day with exercise both physically and creatively. I’ve also been enjoying painting pieces from various board games we’ve got, thats actually something Sara and I can happily do individually or together. I’ll make myself some dinner at some point, most of the time, but its never anything flashy as it feels wasteful to put the time, money and effort in just for me. Its a silly thing to think, but I can’t help that one at the moment. I’d love to get one of those meal services like blue apron but the ones available in the UK aren’t cheap.

If Sara is at home we’ll most of the time cook something nice. She takes lead on that most of time while I do the dishes. I’m quite happy to cook, but so is she, and she hates does dishes. So it balances out. We’ve built up a good selection of cookbooks over the years so while we do fall back on our usuals fairly often we both like to find something different from one of them. We just got a couple of xmas I’m dying to get into actually, one with lots of Thai food and the other with various recipes of Poke, a Hawaiian fish bowl dish that is super good!

We both enjoy spending time with each other and are quite happy to watch TV, play a game or do other bits and bobs at home but we do get itchy feet sometimes too. It doesn’t take much, a lot of the time just an hour or so out for a drink at a bar, to satisfy us though.

I often think about how structured my days are and how boring that must seem to some people, but I bet if they thought about it a lot of those people would realise that they too have a fairly structured day and that if they accepted that and wanted to, they could fit in a lot of the stuff that claim to not have time for. So yeah, maybe it is boring, but I quite like it. It works for me and I find it helpful.

The problem comes when life happens and your structure is thrown for a loop. It’s inevitable and the key is to be able to roll with it. Having a schedule is great but if you are so regimented to it that you can’t adapt it to when necessary it becomes unhealthy. My brother suffers from OCD and for a long time this was one of his biggest problems. It effected him often too, due to the nature of his business his own personal structure would get thrown out the window not by choice on a fairly regular basis and it would end up causing him a lot of anguish to say the least. He’s gotten a lot better at coping with it recently but the way he thinks about his structure still boarders on the unhealthy side. He is an example of someone who will fill every minute of the day with something that is absolutely imperative. That is terribly limiting and is a big factor in why people who are like that will not do all the things they want to do or see the people they would like to see. I believe you have to let it be more fluid and leave gaps so that things (like this blog post) can go longer than expected and it not cause everything else to go out the window. That allows your structure to evolve and change over time and keeps it interesting.


I went into a lot more detail than I had planned with this one but I’m happy with how it has played out. I hope you find it at least interesting! Thats going to wrap it up for today, I’m actually hungry so I’m going to go make myself some dinner now, way earlier than I usually would. See, adaption is fine! See you tomorrow.

#painting #creativity #happiness #selfreflection #family #marriedlife #fitness #running #motivation #inspiration #me #hobbies #selfimprovement


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