This is what my ideal day looks like:
- Wake up at 4:30 on the morning.
- Pray the Morning Offering. It simply goes like this, “Lord, I offer everything to you today.”
- Pray the prayer for Holy Purity. It consists of three Hail Marys.
- Pray the Mental Prayer. It starts out like this, “My Lord and My God, I firmly believe that you are here. That you see me, that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence…” And ends with this, “I thank you, My God, for the good resolutions, affections, and inspirations you have communicated to me in this meditation…” In the middle, I usually read the day’s Bible Readings and choose one particular verse to remember for the whole day.
- Go outside and run.
- Workout in my home gym. I don’t have a home gym. I most would like to have one. I have a membership in a gym near the kids’ school, and it’s a great gym, one of the best gyms in Cebu, but it takes a lot of time to change, drive there, park, change again in the locker, socialize with people in the gym, etc. It takes a lot of your energy, too. A home gym would be ideal, but I don’t have it yet.
- Take a shower.
- Go to the office or study. I don’t have an office or study yet. I wish I had one. I really need a space of my own, away from the house. I need a place where I can be alone to just think, read, and work.
- Read my favorite Twitter pages. When I’m in Twitter, I usually visit these pages or accounts: Y Combinator, Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Sam Altman, Jocko Willink, Michael Seibel, Brian Chesky, Elon Musk, Hacker News, Hacker News YC, Techcrunch, The Verge, Futurism, Inquirer Business, and others.
- Read the day’s newspapers. Ideally, The Inquirer, Cebu Daily News, and Sunstar Cebu.
- Spend some time with the family. Help the kids with their homework. If they don’t have homeworks, help them get into the habit of daily study time or reading time.
- Start working for my startup company. I don’t have a startup company yet, but I plan to start it this year. It will hopefully be a tech startup.
- Do some Business Reading. That is, read one business, entrepreneurship, or startup book a month. Right now, I’m reading Disciplined Entrepreneurship and its companion workbook.
- Pray the Angelus at 12 noon.
- Pray the Holy Rosary.
- Go to Mass daily.
- Go to Confession weekly.
- Do some Cultural and Intellectual Reading. That is, read one book on history, fiction (novels, short stories, poetry, plays, etc.), biography, philosophy, etc., a month. Right now, I’m reading a biography on Jane Austen.
- Pray the Three O’Clock Prayer.
- Write in journals. Ideally, I should have three journals: One for recording my day to day activities, thoughts, and feelings; another one for recording my thoughts and advice for my kids; and another one for recording my thoughts about the books I am currently reading.
- Write at least 500 words in my blog. It could be a work of fiction or non-fiction.
- Pray the Angelus at 6 in the evening.
- Dinner with the family at home. This is non-negotiable. Dinnertime with the family is sacred and essential.
- Spend some time with the family. Read stories at bedtime.
- Weekly dates with the wife.
- Do some Spiritual Reading. That is, read one book on theology, spirituality, or religion, per month. Right now, I’m reading St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography. So the choices are saints’ biographies or autobiographies, writings of the Popes or Church Fathers, and books on Catholic theology, philosophy, and apologetics.
- Before going to bed, pray the Examination of Conscience.
My day would be very fulfilling if I’m able to do all, or at least most, of the above.
Notice how prayer is laced throughout my day. I learned that from Opus Dei. Your goal in The Work, which is what Opus Dei is alternatively called, if you’re a member of this community, is for you to seek and attain holiness or sanctity though your normal, day-to-day activities or work. The idea is that one can be a saint wherever one finds himself or herself in life. Whether you’re a doctor, a writer, a statesman, a lawyer, an entrepreneur, a laborer, a vet, a teacher, an architect, an artist, a mountain climber, a student, a singer, or whatnot, you can be a saint just by offering all that you do and all that you are every single day to God. God is perfect, so he deserves nothing less than a perfect offering, in the form of work excellently done. These prayers are collectively known in Opus Dei as Plan of Life. Individually, they are called norms. The beautiful thing about having a plan of life and praying the norms is that not only does it enable you to offer your work to God (God then sanctifies your work and makes it his work on earth), it also helps ensure that you begin and end your day in God’s presence and with him in mind. You start your day with the Morning Offering and you end it with an Examination of Conscience. It helps ensure that you don’t lose your way, because life is a wilderness, and there are many ways you can get lost, be tempted, ensnared or distracted throughout the day. But by filling your days with prayers, you make sure that you’ll stay on the right track and go home to Jesus at the end of the day.