Over the years I’ve received numerous requests to do a day-in-my-life walk-through and I’ve finally gotten around to doing it, in blog form. =) This will be a typical weekday in my life. At some point in the near future I’ll post a sequel: a weekend in my life.
I wake up before sunrise, and so what you see above is what I typically see when I head downstairs to the kitchen to make myself a pot of coffee, especially through the winter months.
As I walk down the stairs and while the coffee brews, I’m mapping out my morning. What needs to get done in the next three to four hours? Where did I leave off on each of those projects I’m about to dive in to?
My breakfast this morning is sauteed bitter melon (just a little bit of animal fat, no seasoning) and fresh blueberries. I don’t eat this for yummy reasons. I eat this for medicine reasons. While I’m prepping, I’m checking work e-mails, drafting and scheduling blog posts, outlining talking points for videos, or if I’m in the middle of writing a book at that time, then my laptop is open on the kitchen table and I’m writing while I’m cooking.
To be clear, modern medicine wins over homeopathic, folksy, holistic anecdotal home remedies every time for me, and if I get diagnosed with something, I’m going to go with the prescription pills. But on the regular, in terms of preventative care, I’m a huge proponent for considering the medical and health benefits of food. I very much follow Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for my diet and cooking. So almost everything I eat has a TCM purpose to it. Herbology isn’t just having shelves full of pretty glass jars filled with exotic herbs. It’s something I implement into daily cooking.
I’m not going to say something like breakfast is the most important meal or that it’s even necessary. I don’t think it’s necessary for most people, given their 21st century lifestyles. However, in agrarian cultures, you *had* to eat breakfast, because immediately after, you’d be working out on the fields until sundown! That’s my ancestry and DNA, and so I find that for me, even though I’m not working out on a literal field, what I do is a modern and mental equivalent. Breakfast powers the operations of my mind and keeps me going in an optimized and productive manner.
Most mornings, I get to watch the sunrise. My home office window looks out directly east (something intentional, which I looked for when house hunting), so I can sip my coffee, do stretches, a morning meditation, or a morning ritual facing eastward and actually get to catch a glimpse of the rising sun.
This is important to me. Watching the sunrise conveys a rather remarkable and paradoxical feeling where, simultaneously, you feel both incredibly honored and important and yet also, equally, incredibly small and insignificant. I think that’s quite the compelling thought at the start of every day of your life.
The planetary hour of sunrise every day is the same as the planet associated with that day of the week, so the hour of sunrise on Monday (day of the Moon) is always the hour of the Moon, the hour of sunrise on Tuesday (day of Mars) is always the hour of Mars, the hour of sunrise on Wednesday (day of Mercury) is always the hour of Mercury, and so on. And while I rarely do any sort of complex ritual, I do take a moment to honor the correspondences of that planet and express gratitude for the blessings in my life corresponding to that planet. I’ll also run a mental check of what feels lacking in my life right now relating to that planet and take a moment to pray on that, set intentions, that kind of thing.
Some mornings, this is also my hour of personal ritual. Whether the time around sunrise on a given day is filled with work or with personal ritual will depend on what’s going on in my life.
In the same way I check the weather before leaving the house so I know how to dress, I’ll also check the ephemeris table in the month-at-a-glance section of my Metaphysician’s Day Planner. This helps me to get a sense of planetary alignments for the day. Nothing complicated or involved– just a simple check on essential dignities. I focus mainly on the moon, Mercury, and Venus, which makes sense, right? They’re the faster moving personal planets?
I wake up about 4 hours before Hubby wakes, so that’s 4 hours to myself to get a lot of work done, like making progress on my books or the project du jour.
Maybe this is a key point… I don’t devote even a single minute during those 4 hours trying to figure out what I want to do with my 4 hours. I know exactly how those 4 hours should be spent before the clock starts. Does that make sense? And so because of that, I really optimize that time and can get a lot done.
In the above photo, you see me editing a video to be scheduled for posting on YouTube that same week. By the way I drink an unhealthy amount of coffee in the mornings– almost a whole pot by myself in the span of those 4 hours before Hubby has even opened his eyes.
The above is a snapshot of my writing room, cleaned up. On a more typical day, that is not what my room looks like, by any stretch of the imagination. There should be stacks of books all over the floor, printouts, scrap paper filled with notes, and all three work desks would be cluttered.
The circular one with the white tablecloth is my drawing desk. I do my grimoire work here, but I can also remove the tablecloth and this area will double as a ritual space. The desk behind the computer desk– the narrow wooden one– is where I stack research, books, reference material, etc.
Here are some snapshots of when I was working on my tarot deck, Spirit Keeper’s Tarot. If you haven’t checked it out, you can go through the entire gallery of cards here, read all about it, and see if you’d like to pre-order your copy.
Back during the period I was drawing my tarot deck, I’d finish at least one card every morning on weekday mornings. For weekends, I got even more done.
Around 10 am, I head in to my day job and that’s my office space, or at least part of it. There’s also the wall and seating area behind me, from where I’m photographing. This photo was taken last year, though. I’ve since gotten a new desk– this big monster wooden one of a thing that’s supposed to be better during earthquakes or something.
As I check my planner for the day’s schedule, I’m snacking, and today, it’s snacking on black olives. I’m always, always checking my day planner. I check my day planner and go through it on the daily the way most people check their smartphones.
Normally I bring my own lunch, heat it up in the kitchen, and then take it back to eat at my own desk. The above is some slow-cooked oxtail soup I made over the weekend. I do meal prep on the weekends and pack my lunches. Since I’m getting old and I fear wrinkles, I try to keep up a collagen-rich diet, so that’s going to be lots of bone broth soups.
I keep my day planner open to the page spread for that given week, in front of me where I will look, on my desktop, at all times. All times. (By the way, the page spread that my own Metaphysician’s Day Planner is intentionally open to the last week of the year, way into the future, because the actual page spread for the current given week would be saturated with pen marks, doodles, highlights, and writing.)
That seemingly minor habit of always, always having my to-do list open in front of me is a monumental factor to my ability to accomplish the goals I set. The page spread has checklists for everything I need to complete each day of the week, plus overarching goals for the week. I can track my health and nutrition goals, what’s top priority that week, and all avenues of my life, personal and professional, in one page spread, at a single glance. A simple flip backward or forward in the pages and I can see what’s behind me and what’s ahead of me.
The quarterly section of the day planner is bookmarked so I can flip to it in half a second and get an immediate layout of what my fiscal quarter needs to look like. Anther flip and I’m in the monthly section, which again, I will check at minimum once per day. I can then see all the major planetary transits for the month.
See, the Metaphysician’s Day Planner, and honestly, any planner or journaling system at all, is only as good as you allow it to be. Day planners aren’t magic, not even the metaphysician’s day planner. I think mine has a lot of tools in the toolkit and if you know how to use each and every tool, this Day Planner is a game changer, but you still need to actually use it.
If I may, one of the mistakes I find people are prone to making when it comes to planner work is they make their day planner too pretty. Yes, that’s a problem. You become overly consumed with the aesthetics of your day planner, how it looks, not how it functions per se, and you’re putting more time into designing the aesthetics of that planner than you are actually doing the things that the planner has listed out for you to do.
When your day planner is too pretty, it becomes too precious. And then it’s just useless. I never let my day planner design get to the point of being too precious to me. It has to be a workhorse.
I get home from work before Hubby does, so as soon as I step inside, it’s straight to work on getting dinner ready. Here I’m chopping up fresh baby spinach.
We eat a lot of spinach. Traditional Chinese Medicine wise, it’s good for my specific body constitution. Spinach has a metaphysical detox effect. Per TCM, it helps with bowel movement and keeps your intestines clear. It reduces “heat” in the body so there’s more calmness to your qi, or personal energy. It helps to reduce high blood pressure, hypertension, and since it’s rich in iron, is good for someone like me, who is anemic. =)
Accounting for all those factors, while I’m preparing the spinach, I’ll recite mantras or blessings and prayers because I believe doing so calls to its spirit and amplifies its good properties.
Stir-fried green bean and veggie noodles is on the menu this evening. Here I’m boiling the green bean vermicelli noodles in some water, soy sauce, and dashi stock.
In the Chinese tradition, you eat long noodles for your birthdays (rather than cake) because long noodles symbolize a long life. For New Year, noodles are typically served as well, to bless the family with longevity. And with that in mind, whenever noodles is on the menu, I’ll bless it while I’m cooking and pray for longevity on behalf of all who will be consuming those noodles.
Meanwhile, after the chopped spinach, gotta chop up the tofu. This cube of tofu was soaking in a light brine all day while I was at work to amp up the flavor.
With the tofu, what I do isn’t a TCM thing, it’s a folk magic thing, so it’s very folksy and there is literally zero scientific or medical support for the belief. I don’t even know where I got this from exactly, but it’s this common folk belief I was raised with. Tofu equals beauty, or youth, or clear skin, or something to that effect. So while I prepare the tofu, that’s what I’m infusing into and amplifying about the tofu we’re about to eat: may this tofu bless us with youth, beauty, radiance, and charisma.
I saute the tofu, add some chopped tomatoes… So tomatoes are actually not that great for me, but Hubby loves tomatoes. So that’s why they’re getting added here.
And tofu takes the place of meat tonight. Hubby isn’t really a fan of tofu, but if I brine and umami the shit out of it, he’ll eat it.
You know how if you think about it, you tend to gravitate toward the same regular foods? Yeah, so like I said earlier, for us, one of those regular weekly foods is baby spinach. The only time we don’t have fresh baby spinach in our kitchen is when we just ran out of it.
Oh, oops, sorry, not just tofu, but egg, too. So tofu and egg are the proteins this evening.
And that’s done. Easy weeknight dinner for two working folks is served.
Hubs does the cleaning up and dish-washing. =P
There’s usually about one platter of leftovers after we eat dinner, so J will have it for his lunch the next day.
Here’s a snapshot of another weeknight dinner. You can even ask J! I swear this is what we eat routinely! Not special or posed! Working people often gripe about not having enough time to cook. It’s really more about time management and what you are and are not willing to push yourself to do under time constraints. If you’ve had a packed, rough, high-pressure day, do you want to put on an apron the millisecond you get home to start washing, chopping vegetables and firing up the saucepan? Or do you just want to kick back on the couch, hit a few buttons on your phone, and order delivery?
I think managing to cook full meals on a weeknight is case specific to me– because it just so happens that cooking is my way of relieving the pressures of the work day. Preparing a meal is meditation to me. It’s part of my spirituality and part of my “personal me time.”
J and I work out together most evenings. I’m catching up on all my YouTube video subscriptions during this time. J watches his sports. This is also an older photo. We now have the addition of a something machine that J said he needed. It takes up the entire corner of the home gym near that back door and so now we can no longer use that door, since it’s blocked by J’s new giant toy. I don’t even know what it is. Bench press pull-up bar something.
I’ll snack on some fruit afterward. We’re lucky to be in California where we are blessed with access to so many incredible and diverse types of fruit. Even when we end up having to buy our fruits from the grocery store, they’re pretty cheap, compared to being on the east coast, where I remember certain fruits could actually get quite expensive.
The Asian pears you see above and the persimmons below, oh and even the pomegranates for making that pomegranate juice all came from our backyard. We grow our own fruit trees. Again. Lucky to be in California.
While I’m refueling myself, I’ll reflect on the day to review what I got done, what I didn’t get done, and based on what was and wasn’t done, what do I need to do tomorrow. Also, this is my last chance to get more work done that day, so I’ll also think on what I really want to work on when I’m done snacking.
Then it’s back to my den to get that “more work” part of the evening done. Alternatively, if I’ve managed to get everything I needed to get done into the day already, then as I unwind, these evening hours are reserved for personal ritual, meditation, or working on my grimoire.
So that’s the overview of a typical weekday in my life. =)
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7 thoughts on “A Weekday In My Life”
Thanks for this, you. Nice to see the steps behind the time-management. You are an amazing human being. I look at this and can see holes in my own day that could be utilized better. So again, thanks. 😀 Once again proving that you are just a woman who knows how to work her plan after planning her work. 😀
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Bell I remember your blog from a few years ago when you wrote about your weekend. I was amazed and humbled, actually, that you could pack so much into your day. One day will you share how you umami the shit out of tofu b/c like J I’m not a fan of the stuff. Also, yes, California is amazing for fresh fruit and produce—here in Hawai’i, these are not as fresh or in abundance or they cost the earth. Also, things spoil really quickly. So I’ll be glad to be going back to good old California. I’m reading *9th Street Women* right now and noticing that that generation had no internet (and for some no TV) or smartphones to get distracted by. They talked and talked and talked. And painted and painted and painted. Of course they did destructive things too but their days were filled with *activity* as opposed to passive voyeurism (or whatever you might call the phenom). Anyway, I love reading about your day—thank you for this.
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People seem to think I get a lot done, but my secret is no TV, and the choice to not to do social media. Thanks for sharing, Sharyn
I am so impressed with how much you get done in a day! At what time do you go to bed and wake up? Very fascinating. I’m always so tired after work. 😮
I go to bed around 1-2 am, but when I get busy (as I’ve been lately, esp. when I’m working on a project), then 2-3 am. I wake up between 5 and 6 am. =) Yes, you calculated it right– I don’t get that much sleep. Which is why I always have bags under my eyes. =P
Hmmmmmm I’m not seeing “4 hours reading random stuff on the internet” anywhere in there!
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I always love the learning you share. It makes me wonder why I am such a slacker! Good to know what can be achieved, you give us all something to aspire to.