Working to Your Natural Rhythm
Since working for myself and needing to focus on my health, I have fallen into working to my body’s natural rhythm.
A typical day looks something like this;
6.30am Wake. I wake very early, I think this is a result of going back to a natural rhythm. Pre-electricity people would have woken when the sun rose. This habit fits in with that.
7.20am Get up. Without needing to be anywhere I can take time to get up more slowly. I often consider the day ahead and run through what needs to be done. I tend to have some new ideas at this time so I’ll mull those over. If I have no thoughts then I will read a book for a while.
7.30am Between 7.30 and 8.30 I catch up on emails and social media. I will deal with anything that needs a response right away so it’s not playing on my mind all day. I’ll also get Erin ready for school.
8.30am Shower, dress, breakfast. I prefer to wait a little while before eating, I feel it allows my body to start working before I start fuelling it with food.
9.30am Intense work period. I’m at my best at this time in the morning so I will write, mentor and create during this period.
1.00pm The intense period starts to wane some time between 12.30pm and 2pm. When it does I’ll stop for lunch.
2.00pm I will usually go back over emails, do some planning or some studying/reading. If I feel tired I will have a nap instead.
3.00pm Whether I’ve had a nap or not 3pm – 6pm is my lethargic period. I watch tv, help Erin with homework and cook dinner. I don’t do anything that involves much brain power.
6.00pm I get another burst of energy around 6pm so I’ll do a combination of cleaning and work, whatever feels most urgent!
8.00pm I’ve usually run out of energy by now and I’ll relax with a book or watch some tv
What has developed naturally is an authentic routine that seems to work to my strengths but also gives my body chance to recuperate. Whenever I fight against this natural routine I find both my work and health suffers. Of course there are times when I break away from this, for example when I go to London for the day as I am this week. What I tend to do in this situation is allocate an equal amount of time (in this instance a day) to go off this routine and recover. I basically allow myself to do what I like and my usual routine naturally falls back into place.
This isn’t the most productive or efficient routine in terms of output, however it is sustainable. I don’t believe working long hours over an entire lifetime is sustainable. I think people will reach burn out, need to take mini retirements and sabbaticals, or will work fast and hard for a number of years so they can afford to do something more sedentary later on. If you want to stay in good health and live an authentic life I think you do need to find ways to work to your natural rhythm as much as you can.
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