How I Organize My Days

Warning: This post gets into the nitty-gritty of my personal life organization style. Monday through Friday (barring holidays), I wake up at 6:30 AM, and I spend 5-10 minutes praying at ~7:15 AM before I make my coffee.

Routines are something from the life hacker and productivity world that I really love. When I don’t have routines, nothing gets done. At work, I use a bullet journal to organize and prioritize tasks so I can stay on top of things, and I employ the Inbox Zero strategy so I can use my email as a secondary to-do list. Most of my day-to-day professional work involves my email inbox because it’s the primary way that academic librarians interact with constituencies. When I’m not answering them, I’m usually in databases or spreadsheets.

Wunderlist works better for my personal life tasks because I can use multiple lists for things like financial to-dos (e.g., paying my Internet bill, which is on a day late in the month as opposed to most of my bills, which are due at the beginning), goal-setting (e.g., a daily reminder to FOCUS), creative writing (e.g., fixing orthographies, creating maps, generating cultural background for things that happen in stories), and religious obligations.

While it would be nice to use a bullet journal for personal tasks, my current notebook is definitely a note-taking environment: French vocabulary I jot down from books, character development work for the Seven Papers, notes on linguistics, fictional armed conflict histories, and pronoun tables. Also, most of my personal to-do list is recurring — there certainly are one-time tasks, but if I have to remember to pay my Internet bill this month, I will need the same reminder in the future. It’s pointless to write all of that out twice.

From a religious standpoint — as someone who works full-time in an academic environment, goes home to do creative writing and IRC-based Chronicles of Darkness gaming, and has relationship obligations to my friends and girlfriend — having infrastructure in place so I can make offerings and get to work on time is a high priority.

On the weekdays, I do offerings immediately after I shower and get dressed, before I get wrapped up in the minutiae of putting together my work bag. There is more mental space. Because I take the time once a month to ensure that my recurring events are on the correct lunar dates, all I need to do is check my phone and any notes I have about the offerings before I am ready to do them in the morning.

If you would like to implement a similar system, here’s how I set it up: At the beginning of the lunar month, typically on Day 2 or 3, I consult HMEPA and Elani Temperance’s chart of when regular offerings happen. (I think that hers is extremely readable.) I then look at things coming up in Hellenion to see if there is something that I have missed, and I sit down for 20-30 minutes and fix the recurring dates in Wunderlist so they reflect the lunar calendar. This typically means shifting everything back a day.

It’s definitely a low-key and lifestyle-integrated religious practice. The devotional relationships I have with the Theoi exist outside of this daily offering schedule, but I don’t consider myself a priest or clergy. You’ll see in the photo that I do worship Athene and Hermes on Monday mornings in addition to the regular schedule of offerings (my professional offering). I make impromptu offerings to Hermes and other gods when I assess that such offerings are necessary.

The articles and books I read to support my practice are not in this calendar, either, because I usually don’t count them as religious worship unless I have committed before a deity to read a work, such as when I told Hermes that I would read Kerényi’s Hermes: Guide of Souls because I accidentally broke a piece of his statue while dusting. It was that process of breaking a piece of the statue and reading more about Hermes that led to a deeper understanding of my creative writing as (partially) a devotional obligation, so much so that if it is ever published, he will receive mention on the dedication page.

The basics, however, come first. For me, routine is the foundation of a secure religious practice, and serendipity is what grows around it in the private interactions I have with the Theoi.

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