I have a really hard time with an unstructured day. Here we are on our umpteenth snow day of the year, and I know that I need to create my own structure to spend this day as I would like to spend it, rather than spend it down the internet rabbit hole. One of the biggest challenges to my personal moment-to-moment mindfulness is screen use. In this I am not alone, as it is expertly designed to make us all mindlessly engage. There is no better opportunity to do that than on a snow day when deadlines are at least 24 hours away and I feel like I have oodles of time ahead.
As a way of dividing up my day into manageable chunks, I use a timer when I am on the computer. I set goals for these chunks of time, and then when they end, I check in and see what I want my next move to be. If I catch myself in the internet vortex when the timer goes off, I can consciously decide, Is this what I want to be doing with my time? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes no, but at least I’ve carved out an opportunity to choose. I also schedule in some physical experiences: shovel at 8:00am, yoga at 10:00am, scree-free lunch at 12:00am, to break up the day and come back into my body.
Ultimately, that’s what mindfulness affords us: the opportunity to choose our next move, rather than responding habitually or reflexively. What am I inspired to do at this time? The timer gives us a little jolt back to awareness. Oh yeah, what am I doing right now? How am I feeling? What do I want my next move to be?