Rhythm of Life
Rhythm of Life is based on the thesis that every person has natural rhythms of energy for living and working. The more we are aware and cooperate with our natural rhythms the more energy we will have available for high impact times. We will also be healthier and less stressed.
Rhythm of Life is based on the following assumptions:
- No-one is a machine.
- Everyone has natural life rhythms
- Everyone needs rest and time to replenish
- We work to live rather than live to work (even when work is a huge passion)
- Everyone needs time to build the relationships in their world.
Rhythm of Life – How It Works For Me!
How does Rhythm of Life work? Well, since everyone is different there will be variations but this is a framework that works for me.
One of the first things I had to deal with was my guilt. I had to admit that I felt guilty paying attention to looking after me. It took me a while to realise that looking after me is important and is actually the starting point for looking after the organisation/business. If I don’t look after me then that somehow gets communicated non-verbally to everyone else in my world in negative ways.
Start with your annual holidays. I learned the first thing to put on the calendar every year should be my holidays, usually 3 weeks after Christmas and then another week mid-year. You can take all 4 at once though I always found it best to have a week away about 6-8 months apart from the longer holiday. Rhythm of Life teaches that you do not fully unwind from work and have time to refresh if you take less than 3 weeks away. And, ideally you do not stay in touch with work via Smartphone or email.
Plan travel carefully, especially getting away and re-entry. The second day after a trip or any energy expending activity should ideally not be a high demand day because that will be when energy levels drop and peak performance becomes difficult. If you don’t guard this, what suffers will be your health and your relationships with spouse and family.
- At least 1 day off completely from work, (ideally 2)
- At least 4 nights without meetings or work in which to relax and relate to family and friends
- You map the high energy times in your week and make sure you rest before them
- Do something relaxing on the night before your day off E.g. Friday night before Saturday. (The key to a good day off is winding down the night before.)
- Have some activity in your life in which you can relax and totally lose yourself (sport, reading, gardening).
- Make sure you are eating healthy nutritious food 80% of the time
- Make sure you are getting some regular exercise (at least walking 30 minutes 4 times per week)
25 – 35 day Cycles
High energy people can work hard for up to 35 days (5 weeks) before they find themselves tired and not performing at their best. Others will start to fade a bit earlier. It is a matter of genes, family demands and mental and emotional capacity. No-one can keep on going forever or they will get sick, make poor decisions, put pressure on relationships, find they forget how to relax or can even become addicted to adrenalin.
To determine your work capacity you need to monitor yourself carefully and also ideally have a mentor who helps you to be self aware enough to realise when you are starting to fade. Don’t be like me and try to prove to everyone that you are a high capacity 35 days type when your natural rythm is more like 28. This is about self discovery and,with time and practice, self-empowerment.
So, every 25 – 35 days (whatever number fits you) plan a long weekend (3 nights) in which you take time out and do something different, something that you look forward to and get your mind and emotions away from work.
Rhythm of Life is very challenging for those who have allowed themselves to become defined by their work. Workaholics struggle not to work. They are energised by work. Often they are addicted to the purpose and adrenalin rush that their work gives them. However, it is rare for such people to have health happening across their life. The cost they pay for ignoring their Rhythm of Life is measured in poor health, weight problems, family relationship conflicts, inability to relax and often a lack of close friends.
If you are married as well as all of the above, you need to factor in at least 2 and ideally 3X2 night breaks (mini honeymoons, just you and your spouse) away from children, home and work throughout the year. The pressures of senior management positions takes more of a toll on marriages than anyone realises and these ‘honeymoons’ will go a long way to safeguarding the most important relationship in your life, your marriage.
How have you learned to become aware and co-operate with your own natural rhythm of life?