I’ve just read a guest post on the blog of the doctoral adviser site The Thesis Whisperer entitled ‘Shiny Balls’. It’s a rational reflection by a young mother on how difficult it is to juggle all those balls of life in the air. She tells of the different parts of her life (the shiny balls) and the mundane practices that must have attention. The cakes to be baked for birthday parties, the three part time academic jobs she has to do to build up her cv, etc etc. at the end of her list is her Phd work.
Before I read that post I had just answered a text message telling me about the death of an old friend – the third in three weeks. In my response I had written ‘Carpe diem’. An easy and trite response you might say. But for me ‘Sieze the day’ really means ‘Seize the practices of your day’. Those mundane, habitual actions that make up our fleeting days. Here are ten practices at the beginning of my day, from the moment I wake up to the time I get started on my day:
1. Listen to the dawn chorus of kookaburras and butcher birds then rise.
2. Make tea and return to bed.
3. Think of where I am with my current life projects.
3. Arrange my day in the diary in my head.
4. Read my emails, Twitter and Facebook feeds.
5. Respond to any of these.
6. Read the latest text I need for my academic writing.
7. Write notes for myself.
8. Remember those in my life who need some love and attention today.
9. Construct my ‘Three most important things’ action list for that day.
As I review my early morning habitual practice, I count my blessings that the context of my life enables such luxuries as reflection, thinking, writing, reading and planning. I also note that all of these practices take place in one hour.
It is important that we examine our mundane practices as objects of consideration because such self-analysis shows us where we are making choices about what decisions we are making, why we are making them and what we should do next. Only then can we see if what we are doing is right for what we ultimately want out of lives