It’s October 2020. We’re currently 7 months into the COVID pandemic, and it’s not clear how much longer it will last.

I’ve spent most of the pandemic in isolation. I live by myself and work from my apartment.

Given these circumstances, you might reasonably expect that I’d become depressed or go crazy. However, I’m happy to say that I’ve done really well so far. I’ve managed to stay emotionally and physically healthy. I’ve managed to stay productive in my work.

I chalk up this success to some healthy routines I’ve established over the past months. I’m writing them down for my own benefit, in order to preserve my memories of this time. I don’t think these routines are “correct” for everyone. But if you see one that you like, then you can try adopting it for yourself.

Daily routines

  • Morning.
    • Wake up at 7:30am.
    • Quick shower. Just a rinse off to wake myself up.
    • Breakfast.
      • coffee: freshly ground, French press.
      • oatmeal: old fashioned Quaker oats. A little bit of honey and some almond milk. That’s all.
    • As I eat breakfast, I write a TODO list for the day.
      • My tasks are divided into broad categories: “Personal”, “Research”, “Exercise”, etc.
      • I currently use Evernote for this. But I could just as easily use paper and pencil.
    • I almost always have a podcast playing in the background during these steps.
    • Once I’ve eaten and made my TODO list, I get to work until lunch time.
  • Afternoon
    • Lunch at noon.
      • I try to keep it light. A typical choice is tomato soup and leafy greens.
    • Post-lunch walk. Digest my food and listen to podcasts. Usually lasts 0.5-1.0 hours.
    • Wash dishes from lunch
    • Work until 4pm
  • Evening
    • Get some exercise—see my weekly routines below.
    • Dinner around 5pm.
      • My typical choice: a big pan full of stir-fried vegetables and pasta, with one or two fried eggs. I don’t devote much time or attention to culinary exploration.
      • I don’t leave leftovers. Dinner is where I get most of my calories for the day.
    • Post-dinner walk. Digest my food and listen to podcasts. I occasionally stop somewhere to buy a bar of dark chocolate. Usually lasts between 0.5 and 1.0 hours.
    • Wash dishes from dinner.
    • Work until I’m tired (usually 10pm).
  • Bedtime
    • If I haven’t exercised and showered earlier in the day, then I’ll do it now.
    • Fall asleep reading a book.

Weekly routines

  • Exercise.
    • My exercise has converged to a weekly schedule.
      • Monday: go for a shorter run. Usually about 3 miles.
      • Wednesday: go for a nice long bike ride. Usually about 30 miles.
      • Friday: go for a longer run. Usually about 4-5 miles.
      • On the other days: some strength exercises. Calisthenics, kettle bell swings, pull ups, etc.
    • I like to exercise in the early evening, right before dinner. I sometimes think of it as “hunting my food.”
  • Buying groceries.
    • I buy groceries on Friday mornings. I ride my bike over to Trader Joe’s and return with panniers full of the week’s food.
  • Saturday.
    • I set Saturdays apart from the other days of the week. I devote them to maintenance and upkeep—they don’t usually follow the same daily routine as the other days. I sometimes think of my Saturday routine as a “shabbat”, though its details have little in common with an actual shabbat.
    • I don’t do any research.
    • I don’t eat until 5pm. (AKA intermittent fasting.)
    • I don’t consume any caffeine.
    • I clean my apartment.
    • I run errands.
    • I maintain my bicycle and any other gear that requires periodic upkeep.

Some last words

These routines have been an anchor in my life over the past months. I don’t know what role they’ll play in my life once the pandemic is over. But I’m glad to have them at present.

\( \blacksquare\)