This past Wednesday, Friendship Lodge met for it’s regular June meeting. Amidst the regular business of the Lodge we also enjoyed Brother Miller-Conley’s impeccable performance in his examination on the Entered Apprentice degree. In keeping with our lodge’s approach (that the degrees alone do not advance a man’s skill in Masonry) Brother Miller-Conley then went on to give a short lecture on his experiences as an Entered Apprentice Mason; as well as his reflections upon, and research into the EA Degree and its symbols. Members can read Bro. Kevin’s piece here.
After the meeting closed, and the lodge was put back in order for the next night we retired to the library to discuss some of the main themes Bro. Kevin touched upon. Key among them being the challenge of creating a well-regulated course of discipline for yourself, particularly when at a stage of life where there are many pressures upon and opportunities available to you. For reasons obvious to every Mason our conversation started with the one thing you have the most control over – how you organize your time.
We talked over a variety of models, a strict division of 3rds, or more casually by the hour, or working a list, how Elon Musk schedules his day by and to the minute, starting your day with an hour of focused meditation, even Bro. Benjamin Franklin’s daily habit of practicing one specific virtue… The options seemed endless.
We are a diverse Lodge: in age, vocation, and individual history. This fact was quite convenient as we had several fathers (of both adult and infant children), professionals (both young at the start of their careers and those who are established), but most useful were perhaps the military veterans we had in company. They spoke about the nature of truly regimented time – as they had experienced in the service. A common sentiment was expressed that while it’s nice to know what, where and when you should be doing any given thing, this can lead to your daily vocation becoming particularly tedious and result in a lack of attention or enthusiasm. That became a focus – remaining engaged with your work. Being present for your day – by and to the minute. Recognize that if you are an undisciplined or disorganized person that you will get more from your life (not just accomplish more in your day) and give more to the people in your life when you are organized and focused. And if you are (like many of us admitted to being) an organized person with a bad system, find the fortitude to admit to yourself that you need to change your methods.
It was a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation. One which I suppose never ends – there are countless productivity models and guides and books out there. But perhaps one of our Past Masters put it best when he said, “plan your work and work your plan”.