Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Challenge of Habits

I've been thinking a lot about habits lately. After 30 years of a regular schedule -- early to rise, get ready for work, get Matthew off to school, commute, etc. -- I'm realizing that this change of life to consultant and part-time worker has really thrown me a curve. I even feel a little ADD, actually a lot ADD.

I get started on one thing then shift to the next, and some times, too many times, I discover at the end of the day that I've actually missed the important things.

This morning I was exchanging instant message chats on Facebook with a good friend who is also working on establishing some new habits. It made me aware all-of-the-sudden that this is in fact an issue for me as well. It went from the subliminal to the conscious. I'm thinking that actually I was the last one to figure this out.

One of my 2012 goals is crafting a Rule of Life after the fashion of St. Benedict. No doubt this is all part of that process, but this morning in reading (well actually, seriously catching up reading) my lenten devotional ("Simplifying the Soul" - do you see a pattern here?!) I came across this paragraph:

"Benedict devotes a large part of the Rule to developing a framework for daily worship. everything else...must give way to this essential monastic vocation....Obviously, it was okay to make some realistic adjustments to my own schedule of devotions. This was not meant to be an 'all or nothing' project. However, even the most minimal, daily practice required a basic change I'd been unwilling to make before: I needed to take a hard look at the length of my to-do list. If I were to incorporate at least one of the Hours into my daily round, then life had to give way in some measure to the Psalms."

So what does that have to do with all this? It challenged me to think about my time choices. It got me thinking about a framework to ensure that the big rocks were getting in the jar first; that the important and essential things in my life were taking priority over the non-essential; that think about and make sure I even know what the essential things are!

This is important stuff for me. More to follow.

(A couple books I'll be using in my ponderings - because there must always be books! -- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Organize Your Mind Organize Your Life by  Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore)

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