Since the pandemic began, in February 2020, my wife Jennifer and I have been hunkering down in our home in Mudgee, a beautiful wine-growing town 4hrs drive NW of Sydney.
We’ve been very fortunate. We have a large house in large grounds and up until quite recently, the virus didn’t come to our town. But even so, we sat tight and battened down and followed all the health orders.
Our lifestyle changed dramatically. Prior to the pandemic, we’d been travelling quite extensively overseas for work, filming then marketing PGS – Intuition is your Personal Guidance System, then shooting the next film in the trilogy, Facing Fear.
Suddenly, all that changed.
We were stuck at home.
No more travelling.
No more getting on and off planes.
No more going through security.
No more rental cars driving on the wrong side of the road.
No more hotels and crappy restaurants.
No more figuring out how much tip to leave.
At first it felt weird. Being at home. Only going out to do grocery shopping. That now has been our life for the past twenty months. Twenty months. My God, that’s almost two years!
Two years stuck at home.
And you know what?
It’s been glorious!
I seriously hope I never have to get on another plane in my life.
Mudgee has been in lockdown the past nine weeks, but this past week that’s been lifted, and because our state of New South Wales yesterday reached 80% full vaccinations (Jennifer and I are double-jabbed), restrictions are starting to lift.
But I don’t know it will mean much to Jennifer and me, because we’ve got into a routine which we really like.
I used to hate the notion of being in a routine.
I railed against the notion of a routine.
Every fibre in my body resisted routinely doing anything.
I liked surprises.
I liked doing things differently each day.
I relished the thought of not knowing what a new day would bring.
All that’s changed.
I’m now in a routine and I love it!
So here’s my routine. And believe me, it doesn’t change.
2:30am – 5am
I wake up and read. That’s how I start my day. Usually I’ve gone to sleep the night before at about 10:30pm, so what with a few bouts of sleeplessness I usually wake up having had about three and a half hours sleep.
At the moment I’m reading Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore and I’m loving it. I usually read for two hours or so, then I put myself back to sleep with a meditation mantra – Paul Selig’s:
I know who I am in truth
I know what I am in truth
I know how I serve in truth
I am free, I am free, I am free.
Paul, through his Guides, says this shouldn’t be used as a mantra but I’ve found it helps me disengage and get back to sleep.
7am – 8:30am (or thereabouts)
I then usually wake at somewhere between 6:30am and 7am. I get up and go downstairs and have a coffee – a double espresso- then I do what I call my 20/20. Twenty minutes of yoga and twenty minutes of meditation. I do this every day. Usually the yoga blows out to 30mins or more, and quite often I do more than twenty minutes meditation too. I use an app – Insight Timer – and often use binaural beats to get me deep.
8:30am – 1pm
This is my writing time. I interrupt it only to make Jennifer coffee and sometimes toast with Vegemite. I take this up to her when I hear she’s awake. We have a chat then I go back downstairs and continue with my writing.
This is when I have breakfast – a small bowl of home-made muesli with almond milk.
Sometimes when I’m in full-on writing mode I shift to a different routine. I wake up at 4am or thereabouts and go downstairs immediately and write till about 11am or so. I then do my 20/20 in the afternoon. I’m in full-on writing mode when I’m in the creative phase of conceiving something new, and my thoughts come through dreams, and I know I have to get it down straight away. I write in a semi somnambulistic state.
I try to leave this morning period entirely free for writing. Sometimes I have to do zoom meetings with the US, and because of the time difference the only time that can be done is in my morning – and sometimes I have to do interviews for podcasters or YouTubers – but I try and keep this morning time free of interruptions so that I can write unimpeded.
1pm – 2:30pm
This is the time when I have some lunch and chat with Jennifer. Usually a salad, but sometimes an omelette or eggs and bacon. I only have coffee before 10am. After that I switch to Darjeerling tea. Black, no sugar.
2:30pm – 4pm
During this time I do admin work – answer emails, follow up on the various projects I have in development or financing. Do personal stuff too.
4pm – 5:30pm
Around 4pm, sometimes earlier, I go upstairs and I read for an hour or so, then I have a nap. If for whatever reason I haven’t already done my 20/20 I do it after my nap.
5:30pm – 6:30pm
I then go downstairs and chat with Jen and then I do my exercise. My exercise is 40-50 minutes on my exercise bike, while watching telly. I usually watch a show or sport that Jennifer wouldn’t want to watch – either Formula One or English Premier League, or a show that might be a bit violent or not to her taste. My exercise is usually HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. It tuckers me out! On Sundays I do 60 minutes.
6:30pm – 7pm
This is dinner time. This is the time we talk – usually about story. Shows we’ve watched, books we’ve read. Sometimes we talk about politics. Jennifer cooks. She’s an amazing cook. After dinner we clean up and make tea ready for the evening’s telly.
7pm – 10pm
This time is sacrosanct. We watch TV. For us, it’s both enjoyment and work. We are ferocious in our analysis of what we watch. Production, performance, casting, the writing. We need to keep up with what’s being produced, and often we are in awe of what’s being produced. We have subscriptions to Netflix (of course!), Binge (incl HBO), Stan, Apple TV+, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Kayo, and we watch SBS on Demand too. This is a very important time of the day for us.
10pm – 10:30pm
Bed time and reading. The reading makes me sleepy. I’m usually out to it by 10:30pm – 10:45pm. I have a FitBit and it tracks my sleep. I usually average about 6hrs sleep a night, including my afternoon kip. My resting heart rate usually sits around 62-63 bpm.
Then the next day starts around 2:30am again which is when I pick up my Kindle and begin to read.
So that’s my routine. And I gotta say, I love it. I’m productive, I stay healthy, and I have time to spend with the most important person in my life, which is Jennifer.
I feel I have a blessed life.