Conscious Rational Organized

Day 011 Week 02 Thursday, January 11, 2024

I don’t know about you, but I have a morning organizational routine that gets me calibrated for the day. First, I have to go from being unconscious to conscious, and this is assisted in my case by playing music. Since this is generally an early-in-the-morning activity, others might be asleep. I have to do it silently, which, of course, is a challenge for Music, but I have found a way. Or, perhaps, rather, I should say I have found several ways.

The second thing I need to do is go from being conscious to rational, and this generally involves some sort of journaling or writing. It is usually in the form of a stream of consciousness, my dump to sort out the large number of internal conversations I am having at any given moment. Many people use journals to begin their day and the time-honored way for thousands of years; the first journaler I am aware of is Marcus Aurelius, who wrote Meditations for himself as a journal about how to be in the world. Surprisingly, this became a bestseller somewhere along the line, and it still is.

The third leg of my journey is the act of going from being rational to being organized, and in my case, this requires some sort of diagramming to visually lay out my day. Diagramming reveals dependencies because it is difficult to imagine accomplishing one thing without being able to perform what it depended upon first. This opens gaps in my thinking and forces me to be more clearly conscious, rational, and organized at the same time.

I find playing music, writing words, and diagramming images use different parts of my brain. And I have also found that the order matters a great deal. I cannot use Music for organizing, although it has some dependencies and infinite degrees of freedom, just as diagramming is a much less conscious activity for me, which is why it is a vehicle better suited to go from being unconscious to conscious. There is also an incredible fringe benefit to being the first thing that I do in the morning because if I am very tired, I generally play myself back into being in some sort of blissed-out post-meditative sleep.

This is a wonderful way to make sure that I get adequate sleep instead of being sleep-deprived during the day. It also has the fringe benefit of giving my fingers and my improvising mind a good workout, unencumbered by overly rational thoughts.

Once fully conscious, journaling works a lot better to get my thoughts organized than diagramming because words are inherently nearly sequenced, and diagrams are not necessarily so. By the time I have moved from Music into words into diagrams, I’ve had a very complete multidimensional workout and feel calibrated and ready for the day.

By then, I will be conscious, rational, and organized, but this can take anywhere between one and three hours, so it is a major investment of energy, but it pays back every single day to begin your day in a state of readiness for whatever is to happen to you and for whatever needs to be done.

I hear you saying, how can this guy possibly spend two or three hours a day getting ready for the day? And I once thought that way myself. But I can tell you empirically after many years, now being 70 years old, that investing 10% of your time in this manner makes the other 90% far more productive.

I know this for certain because every time I fall off the wagon due to major interruptions in life, like being sick or having a flood, or some major crises that take me away from being able to do this until I return to this morning routine. I am operating in a clearly sub-optimal manner, and everyone around me notices this. Literally, no one is happy when I am uncalibrated because I am far more aggressive, abrasive, pushy, insensitive, and hard-driving. You know, this is a classic Type A executive behavior. We are all exposed to it, and many of us may engage in it, but in general, it does not work as well as being conscious, rational, and organized.

Would you invest 10% of your time to get along a lot better with the world, and to get a lot more done, and to have many more satisfied stakeholders in your larger projects? I can assure you that your friends and family will also greatly appreciate having a more sane person to deal with than the manic, hard-driving executive society that seems to worship as the right way to be.

Do any of you want to work for insanely driven, insensitive, insecure bosses? Do you even want to have any of these people in your life? Marcus Aurelius was, by all accounts, a truly great general and leader, as he was also a Stoic philosopher. He, too, probably learned the hard way that being a jerk was not the right way to run your life. After all, that is why he wrote a book to himself in the form of a journal. And if you don’t want to be a jerk to everyone else, it’s best to start with not being a jerk to yourself.

Take the time to get your act together, and do not assume that you awaken fully calibrated and ready to be effective because you do not. Try to find out what you can possibly do in the morning to get calibrated to be a better you. Not only will everyone else thank you, but you will probably live 30 years longer, too. I plan on it.