Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Default, Design, Destroy: On Building Routines


Two and a half weeks of solid travel makes me think about the routine that is the normal of my life. It’s nearly impossible to embrace the familiar, fixed regimen I typically follow in the middle of meetings and airplanes. 

But that doesn’t mean there’s not routine. I must simply figure out what it needs to be right here. Right now. 

I do not have the same morning routine in Asia that I have in South Carolina.  True confessions: I internally rebel against this. Why won’t this work? 

Culture. Context. Adaptability. 

A routine happens in two ways. 


The routine by default is simply the natural order of things. Go with the flow. Wake up when you want. Go to bed when you want. Eat when you want. Do what you want. The strange thing is that we will find a routine. It’s human nature. We tend to find a pattern that works and we go with it. The default method works for vacations and personal retreats and jobless 18-year-olds. Not so much for the normal working adult. Yet, we often fall into routines (habits?) that we never intended. I don’t recommend routine by default. It rarely works in your favor. 


A routine by design is aligning your goals with daily actions, adapting to context and culture as necessary. 

For example:

One of my goals is to make a part of my living through writing. 

The only way to be a writer is to write. 

I write for this blog every day. 

When I’m in South Carolina, I do this writing early in the morning. But that doesn’t work when I’m traveling in Southeast Asia (Because of a variety of factors). I could be frustrated. I could punt my routine. Or I could adapt my routine. 

Mid-morning writing works better for my schedule here. 

So adapt it is. 

Design your routine around your goals and your context.

But do work on design. 

Default destroys.