One thing I’ve come to understand about myself over the years is that I benefit from routine, structure, and systems.
When I have consistency in my day-to-day life – in my environment, sleep, nutrition, exercise, work, etc. – I feel like I have a solid foundation to stand on, even footing, and stable ground that allows me to build up momentum, making it relatively easy to do what I feel I need to do to progress in life.
But I’m also not a robot.
I don’t like structure to the point of inflexibility. No deviation, certain times exclusively committed to certain things, each day operating exactly like the next, etc.
On one extreme, with no routine and structure, I feel too overwhelmed by chaos and like I have nothing to connect myself to. On the other extreme, I feel too confined and boxed in – making me feel like I have no room to stretch or alternate where and when I see fit.
When it comes to high performers, some prefer total freedom – benefiting the most from continuous spontaneity and novelty. Some prefer total regiment – benefiting the most from every minute detail being accounted for and every action being carefully planned.
But for those high performers who feel as I do, seeking a middle ground between the two extremes, I think I’ve found an optimal solution. And regardless of which end of the spectrum you trend towards, I encourage you to give it a try.
I call it the modular routine – here’s how it works.
An overview of the modular routine
A modular system is a system built from separate components (i.e. modules) that can be combined in various ways to perform specific functions, tasks, or achieve a desired outcome.
A modular approach breaks down a larger system into manageable parts.
Each module has a role within the greater system and can be used in rotation with all other modules to create alternate configurations of the system.
This is the basis of the modular routine, which is composed of two categories:
- Omnipresent habits: These are the habits you cultivate every single day. They serve as the foundation upon which the rest of the system is built. These habits are maintained and practiced most or all days. The order of these habits within your routine can shift, but it’s best to have these actions and (when you perform them) be as consistent as possible.
- Modular actions: These are the actions you’re free to alternate between in your days or weeks. You want to engage them often, but they aren’t hard commitments and don’t need to fall within the same place or time in relation to the rest of your routine. These habits can cycle in and out, be treated as priority or secondary, and can be ordered in any combination you desire.
This gives you the best of both consistent structure and flexible deviation. You have those “bedrock” habits that serve as the foundation of your day-to-day progress and those important actions that you can freely practice at your discretion and as you see fit.
The first step to constructing the modular routine is to define your omnipresent habits.
For me, this manifests in two ways – rituals I commit to every day and habits I assign to specific days of the week.
For the most part (not exclusively), the rituals are implemented for personal alignment, and the habits are implemented for professional progression.
My rituals take place at two specific times in my day – the first hour and the last hour.
This helps me consistently begin and conclude my day optimally, so that the rest of the day may flow without blockage or resistance and ending so the day is closed out consciously and the “chain” of momentum between days isn’t broken.
Here’s a list of my solar rituals (start of the day):
- Meditation – some form of dedicated meditation to keep myself mentally clear, emotionally charged, and spiritually centered
- Intentions – what I’m grateful for, defining what would make the day great, and what “state” I feel I want to embody for the day
- Stretching + breathing – stretching to cultivate physical flexibility and inspire better kinetic flow, and breathwork to elevate my energy and properly oxygenate my body
- Take supplements – diet is king, but supplements help to fill in nutritional gaps and allow for optimal physical and mental well-being + operation
- Sprints – overview of my quarterly intentions, actions, and goals, focusing primarily on the specific week and defining the focus for the specific day
Here’s a list of my lunar rituals (end of the day):
- Take supplements – the compounds I take to promote relaxation, encourage recovery, and optimize my sleep
- Stretch + breathing – another lighter round of stretching and breathwork, with my evening breathwork being geared towards further calming and sedating my body
- Reflections – what was special about the day, how my mood and energy were that day, and how I could have made the day better
And as it relates to my work (will probably be modifying this soon to incorporate YouTube content, but this is how it exists in my system at time of writing):
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday:
- Publish Content
- Deliberate Study
- Tuesday, Friday:
- Publish Content
- Deliberate Study
- Schedule posts for X (Twitter)
- Schedule Guidance (Newsletter)
- Schedule posts for X (Twitter)
- Review last week
- Review upcoming week
Finally, not listed above because they’re so integral – if the above is essential, the following is quintessential: Sleep regularity, diet, gym 3x a week minimum, 7K steps a day minimum.
Feel free to use this as a basis, but don’t blindly copy me because you think my way must be the “right” way – develop a foundation of omnipresent habits that work for you specifically.
The specific modular actions I incorporate on a daily and weekly basis are less extensive and primarily have to do with the variance of certain omnipresent habits and the order of operations across them.
For example, I mentioned above some form of meditation. That’s because I consider meditation to be:
- Stillness oriented (sitting/lying down)
- Movement oriented (walking/exercising)
And so, some days I won’t sit or lie down to meditate, but will dedicate my walk to active meditation.
The same is true for writing or filming.
Sometimes I’ll prioritize writing content, sometimes I’ll prioritize writing for my offers.
Sometimes I’ll prioritize filming and batching short-form video or voice-overs for animations, soon I’ll be balancing that against filming long-form video.
There’s variance within certain omnipresent habits, allowing for the ways in which they’re engaged to be more modular – not to the same degree that modular specific actions are, but to enough of a degree to warrant flexibility and freedom.
As far as modular specific actions are concerned:
- Riding my electric longboard – this is a massively beneficial practice for me; it is mentally clarifying and spiritually invigorating. But I don’t feel the need nor do I have time to do it every day.
- Extensive walks – there are days where I’ll walk 20K+ steps and multiple miles, usually a couple of times a week. Walking for long periods is one of the best things you can possibly do for your overall well-being, but again, I don’t feel the need, nor do I have time to do it every day.
- Journaling – I journal often, but I don’t force it as a daily practice. It is almost always, at the very least, a weekly practice, but there have been weeks where I’ve been so locked into other areas that I don’t feel inclined to journal – and so I don’t.
- Idea capture – while I aim to study every day, I don’t capture new ideas and add them to my content library every day. It’s not a process I like to force, as it comes from a genuine spark of insight, and so I allow it to happen when it happens and do what I can to encourage it. Sometimes I’ll capture multiple ideas within a single day, but I tend to capture at least a few new ideas each week as a baseline.
- Operational order of actions – sometimes I’ll get up and go straight to work or immediately go out on a walk. I’ll then incorporate my solar rituals afterward or occasionally skip them in favor of something else and follow up at the end of the day with my lunar rituals. Again, this has to do with where I have concentrated momentum – usually during periods of continuous inspiration or heightened intensity (like when building out a new offer) but I allow myself to deviate from the daily and weekly framework when I perceive myself using my time and energy more optimally within a period of singular focus.
These modular aspects of my routine keep things fresh and novel – keeping the days from bleeding together and becoming monotonous, allowing for decompression when it’s needed, and leading to the internalization and ordering of information that keeps the creative energy necessary for my omnipresent habits flowing.
Avoiding enslavement by systemization
While I stay dedicated to my routines, structure, and systems, I choose not to live as a slave to them.
There will be weeks where I’m so deep in the flow of creative work, that trying to adhere to my structure becomes more of a detriment than a benefit – and so I allow myself to flow freely with that current rather than actively trying to paddle against it.
I encourage you to take the same approach.
These structures are meant to be augmentations that help you live in closer alignment with your ideal self, while creating your ideal life, through work that brings you a greater sense of purpose. If you become too beholden to them, it can have the opposite effect – enslaving you and diminishing your expansiveness.
As long as you keep this in mind, and work to intuitively check in with yourself in regards to where you are at any particular point in your journey, you’ll avoid becoming trapped by your structure and will continue to be liberated by it.
P.S All of the above systems and frameworks are overviewed and taught in-depth inside the Absolute Abundance Academy – an 8 week program I designed to help you go from overwhelmed and underpaid to deeply fulfilled and richly rewarded as a value creator.