Creative life is anything but linear. It doesn't just go from A to B, but works more like a spiral, in which you keep returning to a starting point every time you reach the end of a piece of work. Regardless of their success and the number of things they might accomplish, an artist never really "arrives"; other than death, there is no ultimate goal for the creative person.
There are very few things in our lives that we can actually control. Perhaps the only thing we can really control is how we spend our days, how we work and what we work on. This can serve as a reminder that yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come: there is only today, and all the things we can do with it.
The first piece of advice the author gives us about making the most of the present moment, is to establish a daily routine. This will help you to make the most of your day regardless of whether or not it goes well. If you don't know what to do and how to do it, your routine will be your guide.
There is no such thing as the perfect routine: you can get ideas from people who inspire you, but then you need to establish one that suits your needs, your character, and your daily commitments. To find the perfect routine for you, think about your day: what time of day do you feel most inspired? What daily activities can you get rid of to make time for creativity? Do you prefer to work early in the morning or late at night?
Some might think that sticking to a routine can limit creativity, but the truth is that it shapes it: it protects you from life's ups and downs, and helps you make the most of your time, energy and talent, which are usually limited. So, it doesn't matter what you choose to include in your routine; the important thing is that you have one. Create it, stick to it most days, enjoy getting out of it once in a while, and change it when you feel the need.
Making lists also helps to bring some order to our chaos: you can put all your ideas in a list, which will make space in your mind for you to explore them. The classic list is a good old fashioned “things to do”, which can be very useful when you feel overwhelmed with obligations and responsibilities. There are, of course, many others: Leonardo da Vinci wrote “to learn” lists, for example. You can also write a "maybe" list which should include the things you don't have time for now, but you might in the future. You can also make lists of things you don't want to do, or the pros and cons of a decision you are struggling to make.
Routines and lists give you something to aim for, but there will be days when things don't go your way, and when this happens, let go of the day regardless of how it went. Don't be too hard on yourself for what you have or haven't achieved. Remember that a day that seems like a waste of time today could turn into something meaningful tomorrow.