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Use routine instead as a strong platform to free your creativity, priceless:
Here’s how to make sure your routines are a platform to greater things and not just a tar pit to fall into:
1. Read The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (not an affiliate link).
Although this book is primarily about managing energy, the importance of routine is thoroughly and compellingly addressed. Essential reading.
2. Practice minimalism.
You’re attending too many meetings and reading too many reports. Strip both down to the point where the system breaks (you miss a meeting you should have attended, or you fail to read a report you should have), then add the littlest amount back.
3. Ask to be excused.
You don’t have to attend every meeting. You don’t have to be on every email list. Try opting out.
4. Set time limits.
How much of your time is spent in routine? A third? A half? 80%? Keep a note this month. Then wrestle it down – try to cut 25% off.
5. Build a routine routine.
Don’t let routine slither into every nook and cranny of your day. Try to get as much of it as possible batched and completed at the same time, rather than as some sort of chinese torture that keeps dripping on you all day / week long.
Depending on your seniority and autonomy, maybe you can squeeze much of your routine into a Friday (or a Monday), or to first thing in the morning, or late afternoon.