A New Routine: Thinking about the mind, the bod and the rhythm of life

Benjamin Franklin's Daily Schedule
Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule

In a couple of days, things are going to change. This kind of immersion requires a solid routine to support the mind and body as they adapt to new, very specific demands. I’ve spent a bit of the summer meditating on how to rock this. I have developed a couple of priorities and even a few ideas.

I remember from grad school that sacrificing physical activity for productivity actually just screws everything up. It made me bummed, tired, less productive and even a little sick. So I’m not gonna do that again. From what I understand of the atelier setting, the life room is mostly standing (three hours every morning) and the studio is mostly sitting (five plus hours in the afternoon).

Here’s my plan on how to get on top of these issues: (Dear readers this is lifestyle minutia so read on only if interested.)

Early sleeping – 10:30 p.m. bedtime
Luckily since we got back from London a couple of weeks ago I’ve been struggling to stay up past 10. If I accomplish the night rituals by 10, I can tuck in and read until about 10:30.

Early rising – 5:45 a.m.
There are lots of reasons for this. Mostly because I believe I will be too zapped at the end of each day to read and exercise and also because I don’t want to rush the morning. I want to wake up and get to the life room prepared and calm having already taken some time for myself.

Yoga. Because of long periods standing and sitting, I’m thinking yoga is going to be the answer. I have a plan for 6 a.m. Yoga Monday, Wednesday, FridayAfter a test run I think I might actually enjoy this. I need to be in the life room with charcoal sharpened, an easel set up and ready to draw when the model takes the first pose at 9:30. I can take a yoga class, shower and and get to Gage at a leisurely pace and easily have an hour to eat breakfast, hydrate, caffeinate, read, sharpen charcoal and set up my easel.

Walking. Lunchtime walks through the park will be great. Morning walks Tues and Thurs will also be refreshing. Weekend hikes when possible. Evening walks. As much for movement as for head clearing, mini-walks and longer walks will find a place in the routine.

Recreational reading
Another lesson from grad school is that I need to read stuff that has nothing to do with what I’m learning. I also would really like to read more in general. In Ben Franklin’s autobiography he outlined a daily schedule which he supposedly stuck to with much discipline. I always liked his idea of designating two hours everyday for reading. I’m not sure I can go that far, but I do think a great way to start Tuesdays and Thursdays would be with a large block of concentrated reading time, say from 6:30 to 8:30. Reading before bed is a given, but I typically get about 30 minutes before the lids get heavy.

Head spacing
Climbing is a must. This has been a very necessary diversion/passion for me.  It’s a bummer to look at giving up regular climbing, but if there’s anything I would give that up for it’s this. I’ll do weekend trips when possible and the odd gym trip when there’s energy.

Going to the cinema. Gotta remember that this feels more like a treat than an evening of Netflix and that we’re members of the SIFF theater down the block that shows great stuff.

Blogging. I’m excited about this blog. I hope it encourages introspection, reflection, perspective and record-keeping along the way. I also hope it helps me keep in touch and makes my experience more accessible to my people. Please do comment, ask questions and say yo — or email, call, or write so our communication isn’t one-sided!

Calling home. It’s too easy to become myopic and forget to pick up the phone and call home. I’m bad at this even when I’m not overly busy. I’d especially like to call my Gran more. Possibly because I got this email reply from her when I sent out the blog link: I know you will be the best in the world you beautiful girl you!! Why am I not calling this woman everyday? I’m not sure how to make a routine out of this, but perhaps I can start by making calls home weekendly and see if I can get to a sustainable rhythm from there.

Dispensing with the smart phone
Though not entirely! During the day, the atelier has pretty strict rules about phones. They are forbidden in the life room and not tolerated in the studio. And I don’t need the distraction. So, no texting or checking email or the web between the hours of 9 and 5. I’ll correspond with folks when the studio day is over, except for texting Emmett because we tend to conspire about dinner and arrival times. I think this will be very very very hard for me.

Food planning
Breakfast. Taking breakfast Monday, Wednesday, Friday for after yoga. Tuesday and Thursday breakfast party with Emmett.
Lunches. Cooking and prepping Sunday for lunches the rest of the week.
Afternoon snack. Must have, must be healthy and do the trick.
Coffee. Here’s the rub, I can’t drink coffee regularly or my stomach will turn on me. Keeping tea at the studio is a must.
Water. I’m already a champion water drinker. Gotta keep that three liters a day going.
Dinners. Emmett and I are always devising new plans for this. Neither of us feel great when we eat out so we try to curb that to once a week max. But that leaves us with some exhausted after-work cooking. To ease this and to make sure we make good choices, we do best when we decide the day before and keep it simple and healthy. Variety is key. We have a calendar by the fridge that usually keeps our life adventures organized. We’ve been planning dinner adventures on there too and that keeps us honest. Jotting down ideas Sunday for the week on is a good plan.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably my Grandma and I love you.

I feel like an athlete training for the olympics. A decade of speech competitions and a couple of years of grad school taught me it’s crucial to get serious about this stuff. So here we go. Tomorrow is Sunday. Time to get cooking.