I know I have. As much as I tried to focus on doing the work, for some reason I hit an invisible wall.
On the opposite end of that energy spectrum, have you experienced a moment in your day when you felt wide awake and full of energy, and your ideas appeared to flow with vitality and vibrancy?
I’ve experienced these lively moments as well. In those times I felt full of creative energy, ease and grace.
If you’ve had these kinds of energetic swings in your day, you may have even witnessed a pattern. For example, I’ve noticed over time that I feel more alert around 10:30am. But later in the day around 3pm, I really feel the lull. These shifts in energy have been pretty consistent, no matter the day.
I call these patterns your life rhythm.
Maria, one of my clients (and not her real name, by the way), is writing her first book. In one of our sessions, she shared with me that she felt she was experiencing writer’s block. After asking Maria a few questions, one particular inquiry made her pause.
“When in your day do you schedule your writing?” I asked.
“Ideally, I’d love to write in the morning because that’s when I feel connected to my ideas,” explained Maria. “But I have so many other things that I have to do in the mornings that I can’t get to my writing until the afternoons. By then, I feel like my brain doesn’t have the energy and the bandwidth to do any writing at all.”
After Maria spoke those words, she paused as she realized what she just said.
“Wait a minute,” Maria said, as she looked straight at me. “Why am I trying to do my writing in the afternoons when, instead, I could be writing in the mornings when I’m more awake and likely to be inspired? I’m going to try that!”
Maria uncovered one of her life rhythms. When you become aware of your life rhythms, you can make choices that operate in alignment and in tune with your rhythms.
A life rhythm is an underlying pattern in how you operate.
Some life rhythms are conscious, like a habitual morning pattern of waking up, brushing your teeth and taking a shower.
And some life rhythms are unconscious, meaning there are ways that you naturally function that are not entirely evident to you.
When you feel like things are moving along with ease and flow, then most likely you’re in tune with your life rhythm.
But when things might feel a little clunky in your life, or if you feel you’ve been working too hard without knowing why, you may be out of tune with your life rhythm.
So how can you find out what your life rhythm is?
One of the first steps to uncovering your life rhythm is awareness.
In other words, simply watch and notice your own feeling of flow, and what activities you're engaged in that assist in that flow.
You can feel flow in a number of different situations. Flow can happen when you're doing laundry, when you're writing a book, when you're watching tv or even when you're running a marathon! Feeling the flow means you're in tune to life's rhythms.
Taking the first step of awareness and uncovering some of your life rhythms can be your coaching assignment for this week:
- When you start out your day, make an intention to take note of your activities and your levels of energy as you engage in these activities.
Example: Okay, I’m starting out my day. I’m looking at the calendar and notice I have these things planned. What can I do to take note? Hmmm…since I already have my calendar in place, I can write little remarks in my calendar to make notes on my energy.
- As you move through your day, take note of any energy shifts. Notice when you might feel mentally alert, or feel the need for physical activity, or needing to rest or take a break, or even wanting to be alone or be around other people.
Example: In the morning I feel more alert. I can see that’s why I like to do more writing and tackling bigger picture work then. Around the middle of the day I notice I like to be physically active, which is when I like to take a workout class at the gym. In the middle of the afternoon, I feel a little tired and can’t think too much, so that’s when I usually do some easier work tasks that don’t take a lot of my brain power. By the early evening, I feel a surge of energy and want to connect with other people, so this is when I usually like to meet up with friends. Wow, I didn’t realize that I have this pattern to my days and why I create activities that seem to match my energy.
- At the end of the day, review the day and see if you can glean any insights about you life rhythms and whether your day’s activities tend to match those rhythms.
Example: I noticed that my day’s activities really matched my rhythm. But this also made me think about other days when it didn’t flow like this. Sometimes I do easier tasks in the morning because I just want to get stuff done. But I realize that may not be the best use of that time. My mornings could be better spent when I’m most alert and open to tackling more challenging tasks.
The exercise here is for you to become more aware of how you naturally operate. What may be a time of alertness for you may be a time of rest for someone else.
Each person has their own life rhythm. Your rhythm is one of your unique signatures.
And as you become more aware of your own life rhythms, you then get to choose activities that are more in tune with your rhythm.
And here’s a greater truth: there are multiple rhythms in life.
You not only have a rhythm to your day, but you also have a rhythm to your week, your months, in accordance with the seasons of the year, and with the different stages of your life.
Your workplace and the city where you live have a rhythm. Your family and the communities you belong to have a rhythm. Earth itself has a rhythm.
Ultimately, the act of uncovering your own and life’s rhythms are about tuning into the greater flow of life.
It’s like paddling a boat in a moving river. When you’re trying to paddle upstream, you’re choosing a path where you’re more likely to exert a lot of effort and feel a lot of frustration.
However, when you notice the natural flow of the river and you decide to navigate along that direction, you hit a sweet spot and life unfolds magnificently.
Where can you better tune into life’s rhythms, where flow is simply waiting for you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s blog post. Please leave a comment below. And if you’d like some support in figuring out how to bring more flow in your life and in your work, you can sign up for a complimentary life coaching consultation. Click here to find out more.