Maxim Week 49

Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice. Again, the Holy Fathers teach us that idiorhythmia, capriciousness, whimsicalness is the cause of all of our downfall. We have to be disciplined. We have to have a rule for ourselves, and try and follow it. Of course, the rule is not some kind of iron law. In a sense it’s made to be modified or broken, but we have to have it. Each night when we go to sleep, we should tell ourselves what the next day should look like, and then try to keep that rule. Things will happen, but we should try to keep the rule.

Fr. Thomas Hopko

This is the bane of my existence.

Schedules and routines.

I didn’t learn this as a young child and it doesn’t come naturally to me.

But, I do completely agree with Fr. Thomas Hopko on the need for this. Which is why I’ve worked on trying to create a schedule for the last 20 years of my life.

I crave routine in my life. I think to a certain extent we all do. God made us that way. The whole of creation was created in an organized fashion. The rhythms seen in nature are numerous. The most obvious are the seasons.

The church cycle of feasts and fasts are a routine, not whimsical and fancy-free. We don’t just celebrate or fast whenever we feel like it.

As I was again reading through my very old blog I found that this was a common theme.

I’ve read numerous books on the subject. I’ve bought numerous kinds of planners and I even made my own planner once. I really did like that one.

I’ve read numerous books on the topic. “A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul”by Holly Pierlot is a very good one.

But what I’ve discovered is that I really do believe it all boils down to habits. Some of the best books I’ve read that have helped me in this area of my life have been about habits.

Gretchen Rubins “Better Than Before” was the best.

In the last 20 + years of trying to work routine in my life I know two things:

  1. I do not need a fancy planner. My favorite thing is the Tops JenAction Planner. It is simply a small spiral notebook with a date in each corner and a place for lists. I just need to write everything down lest I forget.
  2. I need to build habits. One at a time. I need to decide what I want my day to look like and add one routine at a time. Do it over and over and over every day and soon it is habit. Prayer is the best place to start.

A habit is what we wear: A habit is the way we wear our days. Wear new habits and your life gets a makeover. Consistently do things at the same time every day and find yourself a new person. -Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience.

I love that!

But it isn’t magic. And try to do too much habit forming at a time and you will only get discouraged.

That quote sits in the front sleeve of a three-ring binder that was one attempt of creating an organized life. I still use it for organizing certain things but not a daily planner.

Fr. Thomas Hopko is right. We need routine. But if you don’t learn it very young or you are not naturally inclined towards an organized routine, it takes time and consistency and patience.

It has taken me 20 years to develop the very minimal routine I do have.

And I am still working on it and will never give up.

What are your secrets to routine?

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