It’s such a nice word. Just writing it makes me feel wiser and more in control of my life.
AND it’s not just for show.
There’s a ton of research on how useful building rituals into your life are, whether it’s for self-reflection, time to create, or REGULAR MONEY CHECKINS.
Why rituals help so much:
I’m not a scientist, so I’m in danger of grossly oversimplifying this.
But basically your brain loves habits and routines because doing new things is exhausting. If you’ve ever traveled to another country you’ll know how this feels. All of a sudden just the act of finding coffee in the morning takes a ton of mental energy.
But when you get back home, your morning coffee just happens. Your body goes through the motions of making it while your mind is still mostly in bed … at least that’s how it works at my house.
Rituals help build healthy habits into the inner wirings of our brain.
And lots of people have incorporated a financial ritual into their day to great effect.
Every morning they’ll sit down with that coffee they barely thought about making and they’ll spend some time with their money.
Here’s why that shit doesn’t work for actors, stage managers, and lots of other money misfits….
I’m knee deep in shows at the moment, after 6 weeks of rehearsal.
Every evening at around 10PM (often later) I get the schedule for the next day. And now that we’re in shows my day is completely wonky – breakfast at noon and dinner at midnight.
My lovely coffee and money ritual has totally fallen apart, because the structure of my day is changing constantly.
And that’s something I’ve heard from lots of theatre people… it’s really hard to build rituals when your day never looks the same.
So how do you lock onto the power of rituals when everything is constantly changing?
Good freaking question.
How to start building fluid rituals
Whenever I have a problem I force myself to start from a place of strength.
I ask myself: have I found success solving a similar problem in a different part of my life?
In this case my lessons came from variable income.
My money comes in peaks and valleys, but the bills are pretty consistent. It’s the same as my daily routine problem – my time and energy are inconsistent, but the demands of daily ritual are the same.
I solve the variable income problem by:
- Knowing what I need both monthly and annually to maintain my life
- Knowing the difference between what ‘has to happen’ and what I’d ‘really like to happen’.
- Making sure that I’m putting the money that’s coming in where it needs to be
So when I’m trying to make time for the important things – eating well, regular money checkins, and finding some time to write – I’m trying to follow the same pattern.
I look at my next week (‘week’ is loosely defined as the next period of work in-between days off) and ask myself these questions:
- How much time do I need to accomplish these rituals every day?
- What really needs to be done, and what would ‘just be nice’?
- How can I make sure that my spare time is being used to feed these rituals?
The first two questions are essential, and that’s what I’ve really been working on over the last few months.
First, gathering information on how much time I need to feed these daily habits, then consciously making a list of which ones are the most important.
Then things get practical.
I throw up a whole bunch of blocks into my Google calendar, it doesn’t matter where. They just need to be sitting on the week. Often they’re all bunched up on Thursday and Friday for awhile.
Then the night before, once I have my schedule, if I’ve got any time (real time… not just space in my calendar)… I throw a few of those rituals into place.
Is it as good as something that happens at the same time and the same place every day?… probably not…
But it’s working.
So that’s something.
Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator
Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.
She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.
Email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org