I’m not sure whether this blogpost belongs here, or on my other blog, A Writer’s Journey, but I recently made a commitment to myself to post one blogpost per week at each blog, and today, on the calendar, it is the day to write the blogpost for this blog. So here I will put this post.
Today I made my bed. This really is not much of a claim, but, for several months I have not made my bed each day. This is something I did (or is it failed to do?), even though, a couple of years ago, I developed the habit of making my bed (after years of not making it).
I developed the habit a couple of years ago quite deliberately. And all those who advise making one’s bed each day, and all their reasons for so doing, are all correct. It provides an easy “win” for the daily checklist of to-do’s. It brings order to chaos in one little part of one’s world. It adorns one’s room, bringing a beauty of cleanliness, neatness and tidiness to the room, even if there’s clutter elsewhere. It is also a line in the sand: I will not be returning to this place today (or at least not until bedtime); I am up, the day has begun, there will be no return to sleeping. And, it is also a sign of hope: a day of activity lies ahead, and afterwards, tired, I will be able once again to pull back the covers, and slide in, head on pillow, and rest once more.
Recently, I have begun to calendar my day, even in my personal life. I have brought all my calendars (work, church and personal) into one calendar. There is a little bit of labor involved, particularly with regard to my work calendar (which requires hand entries) due to frequent updates needed as meetings get added and canceled often throughout the day. But, like making the bed, it gives order to what often feels like a cluttered life.
I begin my day quite habitually, prayers, walk the dog, coffee, reading. But after that, things get muddled quickly. I may read further, not infrequently filling the time before work. I may watch TV, again, not infrequently filling the time before work. After that initial start to the day, I find I’m often led by impulse rather than by plan. That’s well and good for weekends, vacations and so forth. It’s not so good when various things keep getting put off (the dog’s annual vet visit). It’s also not so good when one’s impulses for filling time do not include finishing the most recent draft of the novel, or the short story one turned to so as to avoid working on the fourth draft of the novel.
So, I decided to block my day each day. From waking to the end of the first hour, prayers, walking the dog, coffee. Then exercise. Followed by writing. Then reading. Occasional meetings and appointments, dog care and car maintenance, and other things are slotted. If I hold to the calendar, I can probably become more productive, more creative and more healthy.
Because, confessedly this scheme of blocking my day out on a calendar was conceived of last week during Holy Week. And the only calendars I was engaged with last week was work and Church. Holy Week services are many, long and richly meaningful. I had a lot to accomplish at work prior to the vacation I had scheduled so as to more easily participate in Holy Week. So, full disclosure, this week, Bright Week in the Church, is the first week I’m attempting this “making of my bed” as it relates to the calendar. Today, Bright Monday as I write this, is the first real day to put this into effect.
And, more disclosure, I’ve already blown past the first thing in my calendar: exercise. In my defense, I’m giving myself some real grace as I’m still physically recovering to the hit to my sleep cycle that is Pascha. (For non-Orthodox readers, Pascha, or Easter, is something Orthodox celebrate beginning late on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. Times will vary but our parish begins the round of services at 11:30pm and ends roughly about 3:00am. ) On Pascha, I get to bed anywhere between 4am and 5am. Sleep a few hours—never enough—wake and continue the day. I almost always go to bed an hour early on Pascha evening. And still feel run over by a Mack truck on Bright Monday. So, yeah, I didn’t feel like working out this morning. However, as I’m writing this, it is the time in the calendar set aside for writing this blogpost today.
I am hopeful, though, that like the practice of making one’s bed, this new attempt at making one’s calendar (and following it) will bring a little order to the clutter, a little beauty to the day. I begin with a little hope for more productivity, and more time for creativity. I have a novel to complete (and get to agents for querying). I have a short story to complete and submit somewhere. There is reading to do. A kettle bell has my name on it. And, yes, there will be time for rest.
May God bless it.