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Find Your Rhythm: How To Work At Your Best

Have you ever had one of those days when you just couldn’t “get with it”? Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try to focus on literally anything on your to do list, you feel like you’re falling short or worse delivering crap work?

If so, then you may be missing one key ingredient to staying organized, being productive, and being focused when you need it most. The ingredient is: your internal rhythm.

Surely you have days when you can jam out a ton of work (the critical work we talked about yesterday). Maybe you even have certain times of the day where work seems to flow off your fingers. Where all the appointments for your family, preparing dinner, getting your workout done…it all just happens without struggle. You are a superwoman!

Well, I know I have definitely experienced both this feeling of effortless and the struggle to get things done. Some days I’m super focused, others not so much. Some days I literally get 2 days worth of work and living done and the next I just can’t seem to function. I’m exaggerating a little bit of course, but this was a really frustrating situation for me…until I realized that I just hadn’t been honoring and respecting my personal rhythms.

How I Lost Mine

I moved into a new home in a new area last fall. I struggled for months and months and months…with not feeling right. Feeling kind of cranky and like I was wearing my bra backwards.

The grocery store was different. The surrounding services were different. The drive to Mila’s school was different.

It threw off EVERYTHING – my workouts, the way I cleaned my house, the way I brought her to school…where I worked!

In order to finally get it under control I had to do a lot of work. Piece by piece by piece I started to create a new rhythm. I worked at specific times and places. I hired someone to help me clean our home. I got used to the stores & services nearby. And just last week I finally got the timing/place for my workouts in order…

What Are Rhythms And Why Are They Important?

Your personal rhythms are the up and down patterns of how you act/behave/function in every area of your life.

You might be a morning person, but not want to talk to anyone until 10am. You might be a night person and prefer to work and create until late in the night. You might get a better workout in the morning (or the evening). You might sleep better if you go to bed early. You express yourself better after you have lunch. You need a nap in the middle of the day.

You like bombing through 2 days of work in 1 day and then being completely off the next. You prefer sex in the morning with your husband – before your brain has a chance to turn on and give you marching orders for the day. You like to burn off energy in the evening with your spouse or mate.

Whatever the case is…your rhythm is kinda like your natural tendency to do and relate to the world around you.

We all have them.

But we don’t always pay attention to them.

After years and years of pushing myself to work at prescribed times, I’ve learned to stand back, prep for my day and then move forward based on how I’m feeling. Sure, I always need to get certain things done – regardless of my rhythm. But – I take the time to acknowledge what’s going on – and do my best to plan accordingly.

When I’m aware of my personal rhythm:

I schedule my time better.
I feel more rested.
I stick to my goals.
I laugh more.
I ask for help when I need it.
I rarely feel overwhelmed.
I feel at peace.
Everything feels right!

When I ignore my personal rhythm:

I am cranky.
I feel anxious.
I snap at everyone around me.
I don’t pay attention to the details.
I don’t admit when my strengths aren’t being used.
I feel overwhelmed.
I feel turmoil.
Everything feels wrong!

Here are a few simple steps you can take today to discover your personal rhythms:

Step 1: Starting today, as you move through your day, write down or notice when you feel off–you might be procrastinating some activity or project, getting annoyed every time you start it, or complaining to your friends/family about it.

Step 2: List 3 activities that brought up those “off” feelings. Experiment with doing the recurring activities at different times/places during your day or week.

Step 3: At the end of a week trying to reconfigure these recurring activities, evaluate how they make you feel now. If it’s not working yet, you may need to look a little deeper at them, test another time/place … or you might consider having someone else handle it.

Step 4: Enlist the help of a friend who you interact with on a daily or regular basis. Ask them to tell you when/if you seem to be dragging your feet on something, so you can quickly identify what might need a little adjustment!

Take a moment now to share what your “off” activities or projects or regular tasks you might need to reconfigure. Leave a comment below!

Leave An AWESOME Comment

{ 3 comments… read them below }

  1. Melody Granger March 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Beautifully said and SO true, Anne! I agree that it’s all about your internal rhythm. Some days you are just gonna feel off, but that’s okay!

    And what you described sounds like you were thrown out of whack with all the changes in life, which I describe as “situational disorganization” that occurs. Once you adapt to the changes and get back in-sync with yourself & your surroundings, then those blah feelings get replaced with hope and energy!

    Have a beautiful Spring day,
    Melody

  2. Julie Millett April 6, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Anne – I love this, thank you. Connecting with my rhythm makes ALL the difference, and carries through to all aspects of my day. Also, I find the more I honor my own rhythms time-wise, the more easily I can adapt all kinds of things to my own rhythm or style. For example, I wanted to create a second quarter business plan for myself based on a fantastic model that a friend did, but, as soon as I sat down to do it, I knew it wasn’t quite my model. I tweaked it based on ideas that flashed into my head and it felt right immediately. It felt mine.

    • admin April 8, 2011 at 11:07 am #

      I know right? I have big problems if my rhythm is off…and because of my personality, sometimes it doesn’t take much to shift me off target. Thanks for commenting! Hope to see you soon at Thyme!