Some of my routines are completely planned out. Every work day I put on a dress shirt. My current collection includes 10 of these shirts from the same brand in different colors. They get worn in the order they come out of the dryer and returned to a hanger. Once a week they get gently washed five at a time and returned to hangers. That creates some change in the order, but requires no real effort to think about which one is going to be worn on any given day. It took a little bit to find dress shirts that could be washed instead of having to be dry cleaned, but that is a barrier that can be overcome with a little searching tag instructions. Consider the heart of why that routine is planned out. Zero thought goes into what I’m going to wear for the day. All the thought that was going to go into that planning endeavor is long since invested. Those few minutes regained every should be a gift to help get things done. I’m not entirely sure that every minute is managed properly toward walking down the path to a perfect possible future.
Working out the best way to manage my daily routines and planning for the future is a large part of what drives my days forward. Figuring out how to execute the plan and removing the little things that crop up along the way is really how it goes on a daily basis. From a purely academic perspective, I know that every year has 4 quarters built into it and that every quarter of the year should be devoted to writing a paper. A published paper is a unit of contribution to the academy. Some contributions are a lot more meaningful than other ones, but trying to put 4 contributions into the academy jar a year greatly improves the odds that one of them will be lasting and meaningful. Being a pure judge of history in the moment to know which paper at the time will have the academic strength of a giant’s shoulders to facilitate other work being done to advance it would require a working crystal ball of prediction. Most academic authors with a working crystal ball might use it for other less noble endeavors than predicting the long term work of a contribution to the academy at large.
You might be wondering how exactly my dress shirt routine is helping contribute to grand academic endeavors. As a stand alone project it did nothing more than free up some time that could be banked toward something useful. Banking a little bit of time every day toward the march to a perfect possible future is where the contribution ends up being meaningful. We bring things together and get ready to move forward. Our perception of the moment gears us toward planting a seed of action instead of generally running forward and hoping the direction is true and correctly chosen. That is why during the focus we have on the moment when an action is being selected it is so important to be present in that moment and drive toward a meaningful path. Procrastination and the fear of self censorship stand as pressures against taking that next step forward, but those are known enemies of the pursuit of meaningful contributions. Sometimes they win from time to time, but they have to be understood and mitigated via the introduction of the best possible working routines and the introduction of solid planning efforts that help keep a trajectory toward the future.