One of the best ideas I've ever heard, comes from another religion, some type of Hinduism.
They advised married couples who were serious about their spiritual practice:
(just from my recollections, I don't have exact quotes)
Become a celibate couple, keep separate bedrooms, live as brother and sister from now on.
Keeping brahmacariya and chanting God's name frequently, and other forms of devotional and samadhi practice, within 10 years of serious practice they could be expected to have decent to strong samadhi, even opening the 3rd eye.
As I recall these would be couples who are middle aged, even retired.
My own thoughts (frankk):
If you have kids, I'd train the kids to be independent and self sufficient, treat your spiritual work as a 50 hour a week job that takes you away physically from your kids.
I've seen vajrayana and mahayana serious lay yogis do this. Their spouse takes on most of the child raising duties.
Develop independent lifestyle and practice. For example, don't have a gym membership.
Take yoga and taiji classes enough to learn the basics, after that, quit classes and practice on your own.
People spend 1-2 hours just for preparation and travel time to get to gyms and health classes (dressing up in a socially acceptable way), not to mention all the socializing afterwards, and social entanglements that commit your time and energy that come with making lots of new friends.
I get much of the daily exercise I need just in the time people use for overhead in travel and preparation to get to their class, and I avoid all of those entanglements.
Not to mention the kinds of hindrances you have to deal with if you go to health clubs, yoga classes. Pretty men and women in skimpy clothing, loud unpleasant music, etc.
Keep as many of the 8 precepts as you can.
If you can eat according to 8 precepts, basically a type of intermittent fasting in its easiest form with one breakfast and one lunch, with no eating outside of that window of time,
you'll save time, money (from eating less), energy (getting more energy from eating less),
avoid wasted energy and decreased health from using dinner as a social pleasure while eating purely for entertainment and getting overweight like most modern westerners, who then feel guilty about being overweight, then feel compelled to spend extra time in the gym to burn fat, go on an unhealthy fad diet, temporarily lose weight and then gain it all back and then some when the torture of an unhealthy fad diet makes them binge on unhealthy foods.
Many people won't believe me when I say this, but I restrict myself to eating healthy food, including healthy fats like all the nuts, seeds, avocado, adding as much olive oil into my meal to make it fatty and tasty, all the protein I desire, tempeh, beans, eggs, miso, all the healthy whole grain carbs I desire, brown rice, quinoa, etc., all the sugar I desire from whatever fresh fruits are in season, and smoothies.
Instead of french fries, for example, I steam sliced potatoes, and after it's cooked, I add as much olive oil and salt to taste as satisfying as a french fry, but without any of the carcinogenic overheated refried oil.
Instead of chocolate chip cookies, I eat oatmeal with a tablespoon of cocoa powder, steel cut whole grain oats, and a spoonful of honey, and raisins. It's basically a wet chocolate chip cookie, except healthy.
Instead of tortilla chips, I eat various roasted nuts and seeds. They taste better than chips anyway.
I eat as much as I want, and I can't get fat even if I wanted to. If I overeat, I just have bigger bowel movements. I never feel deprived, so there's never a need to binge on ice cream, chocolate cake, and then go on a fad diet that puts on you a merry go around of binge, purge, over exercise to burn off unhealthy carbs and fat.
Make friends with the eminent dead
The covid global pandemic circa 2019, wasn't much of a lifestyle change for me. I already lived like a hermit and hardly socialized,
But I never feel lonely, because I have a rich social life with my dead friends, the Buddha and arahants.
I chant important sutta passages daily,
and have imaginary discussions with arahants frequently to examine fine points of the Dhamma.
As Ananda said, great friends are the half of the holy life, and the Buddha corrected him that it's the entire holy life. I have the best friends of all.
If you have admirable friends that are worth keeping, then it's reasonable to spend some time to socialize occasionally. If they're not admirable friends, then limit or eliminate time spent with them.
If you want the highest quality friends of all, read the suttas frequently, or listen to the suttas in audio recordings.
Allocate time and energy intelligently
For example, if you're most energetic first thing in the morning, don't use that time doing mindless activity like surfing the web, watching stupid cat videos, etc. Use that energy for meditation.
When you're tired and can't think, but not sleepy enough to nap or sleep, that's the time to do some physical chores, or
Immortal Fang's Longevity Qigong: Rubbing the Abdomen to Prevent Illness and Prolong Life
Use alarm clocks and timers.
For example, I use my pc timer to limit how much time I spend repsonding to emails for the day.
I use the timer for cooking, etc.
I use alarms for naps if I don't think I can wake up automatically. I usually go to sleep between 9pm and 11pm, wake up automatically between 2 and 3am.
Have some structure in your daily routine
Many things you need to do trial and error to figure out what works. What foods you need, how much you need to eat, what are your best times for meditating, etc.
If you have a structure, for example AN 3.16 following the Buddha's schedule for when to sleep, eat, do walking meditation, then you have baselines and reference points to compare what is working and what's not, and how to adjust. If you have a random schedule everyday and eat at random times, then you never know for sure if you're drowsy because you just ate, etc.
(to be continued...)
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