We begin our day with the prayer of Vigils, rising in the dark to keep watch for the Lord on behalf of all humanity. During the early morning hours following Vigils, the monks spend time in private lectio divine (prayerful reading of scripture) and group meditation (silent prayer).
Each monk prepares his own breakfast and attends to his personal physical needs. The 21/2 hours from the end of Vigils to Lauds/Mass provides environment of silence for recollection.
Monastic life is structured around prayer. In the monastery first establish the times for prayer, then we plan the rest of the day's activities. Prayer is the anchor. In the secular life prayerful people have to fit prayer into their schedule, which involves work, family, etc. Prayer can easily be squeezed out - God does not demand that we pray. However, life without prayer can become a heavy burden. In the monastery we structure prayer times first and then work the rest of the day's activities around that structure.
The idea is that the monk's life becomes prayer. From liturgy celebrated with his brothers (Vigils, Lauds/Mass, Sext, None and Vespers / Compline) and in his own personal prayer, each monk carries his prayerful attitude into his work, whether on the ranch, in the cookie bakery, or doing house chores. The monks life is based more on how he lives than on what he does, and how he works more than what that work is. While prayer supports the apostolic work of members of the active Orders, prayer is the apostolic work of a monk.