I’d like to revive this topic because it’s been a specific interest of mine over the last two months. I’m on a very strange schedule right now.
Daily routines don’t seem to suit me, even though I recognize the benefits. I can adapt to externally imposed regimens (albeit slowly), but internal enforcement often drops off a cliff after interest wanes. Sleep and exercise are resistant to consistency in the long term, except when they catch my interest as particular obsessions. Only the things that I geek out about seem to stick over a lifetime. I never forget to read, sleep, or drink coffee because those are obsessions of mine, but I often forget to eat, take care of my hygiene, practice guitar, etc.
On the other hand, I seem to be well-disposed to granular habits that can be arranged flexibly as modules. For instance, I do all of my hygiene habits after showering: brush teeth, floss, deoderant, beard maintenance, hair maintenance. I like showers and I feel an impulse to take them at appropriate times. So I never forget or fail to take them when I’m low on motivation. Brushing my teeth…I used to forget about that all the time. I could go for days until I’d notice that my teeth were getting disgusting X-P.
I don’t have that problem now. I know that I’ll be brushing my teeth tomorrow, I just don’t know when exactly. I don’t schedule it because that doesn’t work for me. Something might come up that throws me off my schedule completely, or I might forget…not anymore. Different strategy entirely.
A couple more notes: once the habits are ingrained, it’s easy to change around the particulars. I only maintain my hair once a week or so, but it’s part of my hygiene regimen to at least look to see if it needs attention. Used to be, I’d go weeks without seeing a mirror. What can I say? It’s part of that iconoclasm I’ve mentioned, with the black t-shirt and jeans uniform and all.
I think Koanic is on the right track with his routine. Similarly, I’m on a sort-of felinephasic sleep cycle. But I haven’t figured this part out as perfectly as the granular habits thing. I’ll try to write up a good description when I have it perfected.