Rituals play an important role in society. Rituals remind us of what is important and provide a sense of stability and continuity in our lives. You can also use rituals to work more effectively and stay focused on your goals.
I am not a morning person. I do not leap from my bed, ready to take on the day, with a spring in my step and a smile on my lips. It takes a little time for me to get into the swing of the day.
Once I get rolling, the day is mine, but I could easily lose a couple of hours every day if I didn’t have rituals in place.
First, I have a routine I follow when I wake up. Certain things (business and personal) get done every morning. Having that routine in place means I do not have to think about what to do, I can just do it. This is useful when my mind is still a little fuzzy.
Along the same line, one of the last things I do each day is plan the following day. What must I accomplish the next day? What steps will I take toward my goals? That means that as soon as I have completed my standard morning tasks, I can start right in to my work for that day without having to think about which things need to be done. I already know.
The specifics of my daily rituals may be very different from yours, but you should have rituals. Yours may include setting aside certain times for communication (email and phone calls), exercise or meditation, writing and other creative work, administrative tasks, household duties, and time with family and friends. Having a ritual makes doing these things automatic.
As you become familiar with your daily rhythms, you can schedule tasks for the time of day when you are at your best for them. I find that I handle organizational and administrative tasks best in the morning, and creative work is easier and flows better in the late morning and early afternoon. Be sure to include time to recharge. You may even find it useful to schedule a short daily nap as part of your routine.
Some people are resistant to the idea of rituals and routines. They think they are constricting. In fact, just the opposite may be true. I find that having structure simply keeps me focused. And your rituals should not be so limiting that they can not adjust when necessary.
Another objection is that it makes everything, including time with family and friends, seem like one more thing to check off the list. However, it is important that you “stay in the moment” with anything you do. Whether you are getting together with a few friends or working on a client project, you need to be totally present for whatever you are doing. Having “a time for everything and everything in its time” helps you to do that.
Start developing your rituals today. Keep in mind that they will not be carved in stone, and they will evolve over time. The idea is to create rituals that work for you, not to tie yourself down to an arbitrary routine.