Connecting is one of my 2020 goals. To be intentional about reaching out, staying in touch. I was rewarded on Saturday and had a great conversation with a friend and coaching peer. She is in the midst of shifting around how she held on to work and time. Michelle is a powerful and passionate coach with an unrelenting work ethic. Recently she is aware of the stories she tells herself about what she can and cannot do. Things like catching up with friends, going for a walk and having her nails done were in the cannot do, no time for, category. She is in the sweet spot, having people regularly contacting her to work with them. But, not all requests are a fit. It’s one of the hard and wonderful seasons in entrepreneurship when we realize we don’t need nor want all the business available to us. Learning that the dollar is not always so mighty. That our own sanity should be a weighted consideration when taking on work.
She, like almost everyone I know has more on her plate daily than can be done in a day. Out reach, follow up, content creation, coaching sessions, speaking, social media, etc. Michelle was practicing both saying “No.” and taking time with life. Her taking0time-with-life list includes reserving time to be present with her wife, allowing for friendship connections, and getting out for a walk.
She is also actively removing as many constraints as possible. This really put juice into our conversation. If she wakes up at 4 AM she goes with it. Getting up and doing something. Instead of putting off going for a walk until after there were checkmarks on the task list she went for the walk first. She is listening to her body and checking in with her energy. Asking “What is important in the moment?” This has lead to revelations on productivity and work flow. When her brain is ready to dump creativity (like 4 AM) she’s in creation mode. When she walks then goes to the desk she is accomplishing more.
I was fascinated. Some of what she is working with was a reflection of my own current process. I have decided to allow myself to nap. When I’m tired I lay down for 15 to 20 minutes. Then I get back to the work at hand. My previous mode was fighting it, berating myself because there was “No good reason to be tired.” pushing through, being cranky about the task list. When I began allowing for the nap I cut out a significant section of time spent in the fight. Once I get up I’m more alert and get more done. The old story “I don’t have time to take a nap.” Was a lie. Not only is there time it helps with efficiency.
Like Michelle I am paying more attention to what’s going on with my brain and my body. Sometimes when I’m stalled for what task has priority or I’m feeling sluggish I get up and move around. Put some laundry in or play with the dog. I inevitably clear my head. Stepping away from the desk is a refresher. The key (as always) is awareness. The answer (as always) is choosing. There are still times when I’m dragging and it doesn’t register (no awareness) or it registers and I do nothing about it (choice).
I am a big proponent of a master weekly plan sheet. To create blocks of time to address the myriad activities required to run a business and have a life. I will also be the first to admit what looks good on paper often does not translate to real life. I tell people the master weekly plan is a frame work. Not hard rules. More like guidelines. It is better to discover what works for you and change the plan than to adhere to standard that does not serve you.
I believe we all have rhythms and patterns to our lives. They are rooted in our DNA. Shaped by how we were raised. Influenced by society, the weather and physical health. When you are in flow with your own rhythms I believe you are at your best. I’m discovering the more I can work with how I am the better all aspects of life seem to go. Yet it is incredibly challenging. The stories of what accomplishment has to entail get in the way. How I am doesn’t hold against what culturally constitutes giving it your all, living full out, or putting in a hard day’s work. The comparison game definitely screws me over. Viewing others as successful, making it, or accomplished, pushes the need to do what they do. If I am really being me it will look nothing like any of them.
The good news is we continue to grow and learn how to do us. Conversations with cool friends helps. Naps are good too.
For Your Best Possible Self
Coach Christine Clark