At 10:00 PM last Friday, I was in the passenger seat beside my friend fighting the urge to fall asleep. I knew the drive to Ottawa would be long and we would arrive at the place past midnight. So, I made a pit stop at Timmies and chugged a medium regular down. I thought the boost from the caffeine will help me keep my eyelids open who usually shut down this late in the night. However, I couldn’t keep them open. It wasn’t because I didn’t have any juice left in me or was tired, rather it was because of the music we were playing in the car. On a normal day, I would listen to it before falling asleep and since we were playing it, my mind was tricked into thinking that it was time to sleep. I told my friend and realized that I had trained my mind and had created a nighttime ritual that helped me fall asleep. Not only that, I realized that I had created many small rituals to help me achieve the tasks I wanted to do.
For example, during exam season, I would wake up at a set time and prepare a cup of coffee. While it was being made, I would take a shower, get ready and then take the cup to my desk. Just a simple thing like a cup of coffee near my left hand told my brain that it was time to start working. Once I was done exams, I wanted to continue having productive mornings and use them to finish my volunteer work or work on personal projects/hobbies. However, I didn’t want to become a caffeine addict so I decided that I would switch to warm water with honey, ginger, and lemon. Like usual, I brought the cup, put it near my left hand and my brain once again kicked into a productive mode. Another simple thing I like to do is when I am climbing the stairs to my gym, I like to tap the top of the wall. That tap helps put my brain into grind mode, and I kill my workouts. If that is not weird enough, I chew on a piece of gum during my bus ride to my exam, spit it out once I reach Waterloo. Then pop a brand-new piece in my mouth right before the exam.
I don’t think I am the only one who has weird rituals/superstitions; if you’re a sports fan, specifically hockey, then you know many weird superstitions that players have. Patrick Roy, an all-time legend in the net use to talk to the goalposts to make sure they were on his side. The big-ticket also used to eat a PBJ sandwich an hour before the ball game to get himself ready. I might be weird and just have an OCD for certain things, but if it helps me become more productive and focused, I am going to stick with it.
Ask yourself, do have any small rituals or superstitions that help you get in the zone? If not, think of maybe creating one and join the club.