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Old 4th August 2017
Gear Addict

There must be a billion different "normal" routines! At least, ones we'd recognise as a viable way of getting into the day.

Depends of course whether we have a day-job (our routine is dictated for us by all the things that our employer might expect - basic hygiene for one!)
Depends whether we have dependents whose lives need organising too.
Depends on whether we commute for any reason.

If we have none of those concerns then what we're really looking for is a running start at doing whatever it is that potentially gets us paid. In my case, it is writing.

In my view this question is less about what we ought to do, more about what we ought not do! The "do"s work for us as individuals - the "don't"s affect the flow pretty much for all of us in the same way.

For me.
Leave the Internet alone. It'll do just fine without me. Use it in a break, perhaps, but limit it to the break.
Leave chores alone if at all possible. They are a great avoidance tactic; one caveat is that for people like me, doing a chore might be vital in order to get the peace of mind to start in on "real work". If so, I'll do it early while I'm still not fully up-to-speed.
Set hours for working and do my utmost to stay with them. Make the time achievable and don't go for too long unless I'm really on a roll. Even then, stop when I realise I'm reaching for ideas rather than just finding them. I write for "a living" - I can reach for ideas 24 hours a day (I carry around dictation devices and notebooks).
Accept that there are days when the spark just isn't there. Go out and cycle/run/swim etc and see whether that changes anything. Fill "dead time" with something else that is useful.

The do's that apply to my limited situation are just four -
1/ Minimal breakfast and straight into writing. Never do anything else. Only hunger can really affect performance and focus (accept "bathroom breaks" as and when).
2/ Write a "morning page". It's a scrap of story or just a stream-of-consciousness thing - it fires up the creative aspects without too much commitment to how it turns out. It may also come in very handy later.
3/ Set myself apart from the rest of the house.
4/ Get out on my bike at least three times per week, late morning if possible. Keeps me fit, and also the adrenalin boost keeps me going so that I can tackle either more writing or decide I'm done and get on and do household things. It also varies the day.

Also, if at all possible try to set aside a space where there are no distractions. No audible phones, no online access, not even any unnecessary furniture or ornaments. Before I did this, I used to have to go to my local library with hardcopy and do all my editing there, in a public place with a bare desk and usually very few people around. I could achieve a lot of editing there (it's the worst part of writing and the one I want to avoid the most, so I force it).

But this still isn't a routine. My wife works in a hospital trauma theatre, and that involves all manner of weird days as her shift pattern constantly varies, short days, long days, evenings, nights. We know next month's pattern a week or so in advance. I also do volunteer work for elderly people that doesn't fall on set days either. It means that we have no real routine and have to be extremely flexible and yet very focussed when the chances come up.

The joy for me as a writer is that I can work standing at the window staring at the rain. I don't need equipment to help me think and express myself at all times. That tends to free me up.

With music, I have a minimal setup, a recording setup (portastudio), and a studio setup. The minimal setup is a DAW on a laptop and a NanoPAD, in recognition that the most creative phase of my musical life was back in the day when I stuffed a mic into the front panel of an Akai 4000DS and just went for it - because even a studio can be a place where we lose the plot.

Just my 2c.