“Adopting a routine as a practice means creating order by following a daily schedule.” (P.16)
For one year, Artist Teching Hsieh punched a worker’s time clock every hour on the hour, leaving fifty-nine minutes in between to sleep, eat, or engage in other activities. This “One Year Performance 1980-1981” illustrates how routines that are determined by relationships of power and subordination can dehumanize. The installation is part of an amazing exhibit, 0 to 60: The Experience of Time Through Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
The Routine chapter in Good Busy is also about taking control of your everyday life but with the hope of individual liberation. When I first began to interview people about their busyness, I spent time with Joe Kennedy, a former colleague of Mister Rogers, the Emmy Award-winning children’s television host. As you read about Fred Rogers and Joe Kennedy in the Routine chapter, I encourage you to make a few small adjustments in your own life.
Ask yourself the following question: Will my daily routines or habits support my intentions for the world? For example, I know that I think and write best in the morning and I often give this time away to other pursuits. If I am to take myself seriously, I will commit to a daily routine that allows me to tackle my most difficult work in the morning.
Another possible adjustment to your routine may involve your sleep schedule. Falling asleep and waking up around the same time every day can make a big difference in your overall health. Good Busy readers have been amazed by the fact that Fred Rogers began his days at 4:00 AM and went to bed most nights around 8:00 PM. You don’t have to wake up at 4 AM to establish a routine that can put your body into a daily rhythm of sleep. You determine the time coordinates for your days.
While I am aware there are many barriers to the creation and maintenance of routines. I encourage you to consider how your daily routines can be adjusted so you spend your time in the middle of a routine that reflects who you are. Joe Kennedy characterized Rogers by saying “he was the same man off-camera as on.” (p.23) The statement invites further reflection. How do we become the same person off-camera as on? How can our daily actions manifest our beliefs? When we live by a thoughtful and evolving routine, our daily actions can more easily begin to manifest our beliefs.