DecisionsI was wondering this week what my relationship with time was really like. Did I take it for granted? Did I waste it? Did I use it in the way that I wanted to? Did it reflect my values, my goals, my needs?

It occurred to me that this relationship to time is important, because of what it can mean. What other perception can take you to the depths of despair, or to the heights of ecstasy, just by a shift in the duration of an expectation?

Just so you know, I am a big ritual kind of girl. I have a routine for the morning, a routine for the afternoon and a routine for the evening. The only explanation I can give, besides the obvious need for security and control, is efficiency. The more tasks I delegate to routine, the better I am at them, the faster I get them done, and the easier it all seems to be.

So, for your voyeuristic pleasure, I am opening up the vault and allowing you to peek inside my routines to see what you can steal. My purpose is to help you have a more pleasing and fulfilling relationship with your time. Why? I just want to.

First off, I learned from a favorite author of mine, Tony Schwartz, that about every 90 minutes a typical modern human needs some sort of energy renewal to manage mood, state and energy level. I also noticed that many prolific writers, composers, artistes in the book, Daily Rituals, by Mason Curry, work in 3 hour blocks. I tested this idea to see how long I could work before I just couldn’t think straight. It turned out to be more or less 3 hours with a break after every 90 minutes. So this is the outline of a typical day:

Morning routine: 5 – 5:30 am to 8:30am with (1) break right in the middle.
Afternoon routine: 1 pm to 4pm with (1) break right in the middle.
Evening routine: 7:30pm to 10pm

That’s it. Well, give or take an hour here or there when I really don’t want to move quite yet. 🙂

Next up, I needed to know what the purpose would be for each routine?
Morning – setting the tone for the day and getting into the right frame of mind to take action
Afternoon – productivity – create, create, create
Evening – connection, relaxation and learning

Third, I needed to find out what sort of routine would maximize the result that I wanted in each time block:

My Morning Routine’s goal is to set the stage for the day. I do my morning pages for 30 minutes via the Artist Way. I read a poem. I write in my gratitude journal. I organize my schedule for the day, and ask myself the million dollar question, via Wendy Hart, “What do you want to have completed this day in order to smile before you go to bed tonight?” Then I read my manifesto of who I want to be, the relationships I want to have, and how I want to interact with the world. After that, I schedule my day and set my intentions. They are:
1. Savor the moment
2. Accept Feelings
3. Appreciate Their Back Story
4. Speak Kindly
5. Share Wisdom
6. Give Love
7. Learn Something New

I write my correspondence, go through appointments, and I then watch a slideshow of quotes that motivate and inspire me to start the day.

My Afternoon Routine has the goal of being productive. In order to be productive, I have to think logically, with minimal effort, and maximum output. I have to have energy, as well as, discipline.

My Evening Routine is about connection, relaxation and learning:
Dinner, watch family show
Recap day
Family time

Now that my routines are set, I don’t really think about them in that much detail. You may wonder how I figured out what worked for me… I mostly experimented until I found the right mix that gave me consistent results. It’s kind of fun to play with doing things at different times to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Maybe that will work for you too.

The activity that made the biggest difference in this whole experiment was the time audit that I had conducted. When I got really clear on how I was already using my time, and what it was giving me, I got really clear on how to make better choices. If you are interested in learning how to conduct a time audit, stay tuned. I will give you the 411 in my next post. Prepare to have your world rocked, because awareness is a game changer, and awareness about time, well, that pretty much trumps all when it comes to results.

Until then,