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Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

Wellness Tip:

Create a Stress-Busting Toolbox

Meditating. Walking in nature. Making art. Patting a pet or giving your partner a good old snuggle. If you’re a regular Routine Hacker reader, you’d know that these are all science-backed stress-busting activities! 🙌

The key, though, is understanding what works for you and when. Try experimenting with different activities and then writing down a list of which ones work best for you. 

This is your toolbox you can dip into when stress hits. Look at the list to remind you of what you can do to calm your stresses. 

Here are some more activities you can try. What’s in your stress-busting toolbox?

Productivity Tip:

Go Wild with a Label Maker

Got an old label maker lying around? Or able to borrow or invest in one? However, you get your hands on it, this little tool will be your new organizational best friend!

Disorganization wastes time, wastes space, and creates stress. That’s why using labels in the home and office can make you more productive. Try labeling:

  • Cables on your desk, so you can easily trace them to your devices
  • Drawers and shelves so you know what goes where
  • Work files and document trays 
  • Kitchen jars for food and spices 
  • Removable hard drives and flash drives


Plus, anything else that needs tidying! In short: go wild. Are you a serial labeler?

Routine Breakdown

Farees, Music Producer, Multi-Instrumentalist & Spoken Word Artist


“I’m not a disciplined guy at all,” says musician Farees, whose wake-up time “might be 7am or 3pm.” Let’s take a look at how a highly creative person handles mornings. He:

  • Washes his face with cold water and does some stretches.
  • Makes coffee. “I carefully dose the ground coffee and the water to obtain the taste and body that I consider perfect. During this operation, my brain starts hearing notes and making imaginary music. Right after I hit the brewer start button, I take one of my guitars or keyboards and start fooling around with it. I write lots of good riffs like that, with the coffee making noises in the background.”
  • Has creative time. “If I’m inspired, the coffee-making-writing-music time can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Eventually, the smell will drive me to the kitchen and my coffee. I like to eat breakfast right after a good cup.”
  • Listens to music while eating. “I listen to my favorite music in the morning. Usually, some Stevie Wonder or Bill Withers or Jimi Hendrix, not some other stuff that I might listen to for rhythm ideas, song structure or production techniques. I only listen to those later in the day.”
  • After breakfast, goes back to creating. “I practice or write for an hour or so. At that point, I’m fully awake and ready for a new day.”


Why it works:

  • Research suggests that creativity peaks in the morning, and Farees taps into his post-sleep creative state by letting his ideas flow straight away. Having a flexible routine (says Farees, ”It’s a set of steps, but the time in between those steps is not fixed.”) allows him to maximize his productive periods. 


“I don’t like discipline cause it reduces my creativity. You have to be present and follow the inspiration if you wanna be a creator,” says Farees. “At least that’s what works for me.” When do you do your best creative work?

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