Sometimes within the circle I work magic purely within my mind, magic of thought alone. Sometimes I perform physical rituals. It is a flexible and useful thing.
But when I do a personal practice, even a simple meditation casting my blue sphere is always the first thing I do and this is because it has well outgrown its original purpose. After using this technique for 11 years it is now a powerful psychological trigger. Beginning the through processes to cast my circle are deeply ingrained in my psyche so that I hardly have to think about them. The simple act of going through the motions alone signals to my mind that it is time to get focussed and drop into that particular headspace needed for working magic.
I would recommend any magical practitioner to get a regular magical practice, something that you could do for the next 20 or 30 years, something simple you can keep coming back to because the discipline of the practice alone is invaluable – regardless of the other purposes of the practice. Attaining the ability to switch into your magical head state as easily as possible is probably the most important thing I have achieved so far.