Why Doing The Work at the Same Time of Day Works Best for Me
I’ve Tried Different Ways of Scheduling The Work
For some time, I’ve been using my calendar to schedule an appointment every day to do The Work. This works pretty well, but I’m not completely satisfied with this approach.
The reason is that I tend to move the appointment around when I need to squeeze something else into my day: an extra appointment, or some unexpected task. And because doing The Work is an appointment with only myself, it tends to be the most “flexible” appointment in my calendar. So flexible, in fact, that it can sometimes be squeezed right out.
That Doesn’t Work for Me
I like to have systems in place in my life for things that I really want to do. I have a system for brushing my teeth, a system for doing my yoga every day, a system for doing my meditation every day, a system for cooking good food every day, a system for going to bed at the same time every night. I guess the better word is “routine.”
Anything that I want to do consistently over time has to be in a routine for me. Otherwise, it’s hit or miss.
And routine seems to work best when it’s at the same time each day.
That Way I Don’t Have to Think About It
If I had to decide when I was going to brush my teeth each day, I’d probably only do it a few times a week. If I had to decide if I was going to cook or not, I’d end up scrounging for food more often than not. And if I left yoga and meditation as flexible things I could schedule in “if there’s enough time” then they wouldn’t happen with much consistency.
It’s doing these things on a regular routine that makes them happen day in and day out for decades.
The same time of day is important for my routines. Because using the same timing every day helps it to become automatic. A habit. Not something I have to plan out, or schedule in. I just go with the routine. It’s easy.
My Mind Has Two Modes of Functioning
One is for planning. And the other is for doing.
If I try to do both the planning and the doing at the same time my brain goes nuts. And I get stressed. And when I get stressed, I start dropping all the extra things to do. My mind needs simplicity to function. So when it gets overwhelmed, it gets rid of everything except the essentials. It basically pares my day down to what it knows: to the routine items and to putting out any fires.
If doing The Work is not a part of my routine items, guess what? The Work gets cut. Unless on rare occasion I’m using The Work to put out a fire.
The Work was getting cut a lot for me the last few months. Because my schedule was over-full, and because doing The Work was not set up for the same time every day.
But Recently I Found a Fixed Time
Fixed time for me doesn’t mean mornings every other day and afternoons every other day. I tried that. It didn’t work. I needed a time that could be consistent every day.
I also like it to be the first thing I do in a block of time. So either first thing in morning, or first thing in my afternoon. I tried the end of the afternoon, but my mind was tired. And even end of the morning was always a scramble getting odds and ends done.
So I tried first thing after coming back from lunch. I was able to make a recurring appointment in my calendar for 1 – 1:30 PM every week day. This has been working great. It’s a routine (same time every day). It’s consistent. It’s at the beginning of my afternoon, before I get too busy. And I’m finding myself being very consistent with it.
I Don’t Have to Think
I don’t have to plan when I will do my work. It’s clearly in my mind. I don’t even need a calendar to remind me. It’s on automatic pilot. It’s becoming a routine.
And that’s when I really settle into it. I know the time is there every day. I can count on it. And I start diving deeper in my work.
So it’s working for me, just like my yoga, my meditation, my cooking, my teeth brushing. I don’t have to think about any of these things. I just show up and dive into doing them.
Have a great weekend,
“As you do The Work, you return to the place you never actually moved from, the heart, the sweet center of the universe. Heart is just another name for the open mind. There is nothing sweeter.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy
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