Habits: Tools of Change

I am constantly looking for new ways to structure my time and build supportive infrastructure as I change, heal and grow. In many ways, I can be thought of as a productivity nut case, with one caveat, my so-called “obsession” is directly liked to my spiritual life.

I have used many, many systems over the years to augment my natural organizing and planning skills. I have used Franklin planners, Covey, and now “Getting Things Done.” Each methodology was tailored to my individual needs and wherever I happened to be on my own evolutionary path. And anything that truly worked for me was never discarded in honor of some new trendy idea. I have retained from each what ever I considered as a key principle or process.

My most recent addition has been the ideas and tools created by David Seah. He is a designer extraordinaire, and as a free-lancer struggles with some of the same issues I face every day. His Printable CEO series helped me to figure out how to structure my work and decide in the moment what has priority.

This year, David has been investigating what it takes to build a habit. I have been using his blog to help motivate me to create new habits of my own.

The first habit I created was my morning routine. The current version is the result of months of experimentation and reflection. Last year, I developed what I called my canonical hours. It is roughly based on the Islamic, Catholic, and Anglican systems of prayers. (The Christian systems are based loosely on the Roman systems of hours.) I even found a pagan system online, but I later decided it was unworkable for me in my urban setting.

An Elemental Map of the Day for a Retired, Urban Mystic/Shaman
Period Name Description Element Office Prayer at start
x - 9 Awakening Quiet, unfocused period Spirit Matins Prayer of opening
9 - 12 Meditation Spiritual practice, yoga, mantras, etc Air Terce Breathing
12 - 15 Work - Solar The work of the day Solar / Fire Sext Prayer of focus
15 - 18 Recess Create, study, play or rest Patrons None Prayer of passion
18 - 21 Work - Lunar The work of the evening Lunar / Water Vespers Prayer of compassion
21 - x Reflection Quiet time before retiring Earth Compline Prayer of completion

I tried working from it directly but it just did not register with me at a deep enough level. So I just let it sit and went on with my regular methods.

But what I have discovered is that this map of the day acted as a subtle framework and now a year later as I contemplate my morning routine, it literally lines up with the first several tiers of my elemental plan. So now I am ready to reexamine this framework with a new perspective – what really works for me.

So without further delay, here is my current morning routine.

  • Cat Care
  • Yoga / Exercise
  • Breakfast / Meds
  • Journal w/Tea
  • Psychology & Magick (my book)
  • Planning (after Lunch)

I have a corresponding evening (6 pm) routine, but it has not caught on as readily, so I am still observing and reflecting.

  • Review Day
  • Planning
  • Journal/w/Tea

And finally there is my weekly routine, which squarely puts my book first except on days where I have standing morning appointments. And it also illustrates my other major habit creation, radical self-care.

Weekly Routines
M Book Sort Laundry
T Book Bills / Reconcile
W Medical / Book Trash
T Yoga PO Box / Groceries
F Book Backup Laptop

I am sharing this information in honor of my hero David Seah. He has inspired me to create systems that support my lifestyle. As an independent writer, web designer and crazed mystic, I need systems that are open, flexible, and contribute toward my larger life goals.

In future posts, I hope to share more about how I organize my life.

Until then my check-in is complete. Check!

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