When we work ‘hard’, many people like the idea of constant movement towards a goal or deadline. But is it realistic, knowing more about the mind?
Look at the ocean, temperatures, seasons, electromagnetic, light or radio patterns – they’re all waves, sometimes extreme, but mostly a rising and falling we associate with waves.
If you looked at your brain activity at night, you’d notice these waves. Even a heartbeat, jaggedly shaped though it may be, has ups and downs, contractions and relaxations.
As natural beings, our energy, attention and mood undulates throughout the months, days, and hours of our lives. So when we look at a work project, or even a single work day, there may be times when we are super productive and other times when we’re… not. This is natural, and here are four tips to help you deal with your mind during the ups and downs of your day, for better focus and feeling better…
1. Watch the Waves
Be the detective rather than the critic. Over the next few days, chart your wave patterns. So if you bound out of bed and do exercise or work right away, that would be an energy peak. Notice how long it lasts and when you begin to lag. It’s ok. When you find yourself gapping or weary or stuck, that might be a trough. It’s ok too. Just note it. Without berating yourself for the ‘down time’ remember it is part of the cycle. This collection of data can be useful to you once you take the judgement out of it.
You needn’t correct it right now, because it’s just your terrain. You can’t blame a mountain for being a mountain, or a valley for being a valley – and you’re charting it so you have the tools to mount or descend as need be.
This pattern may differ in and out of work, it may be special to specific aspects of your day, it may change when there are other areas of attention added to your day. I have discovered that there are certain times of the day when I feel (and am) most creative, others when I need to do ‘housekeeping’ that doesn’t tax me as much, and other times when I can deal with the hard stuff that I don’t see as a strength. It has helped me to allot my time in a way that best respects my energy and focus. But first you have to know what your energy and focus is…
2. Reschedule (if possible)
Once you have better insight to your ‘on’ and ‘off’ times, you may be able to reschedule certain things. While you might feel you have to respond to others’ schedules, there may be ways to adjust your times to better support yourself.
As you’ve tracked your patterns or waves, you’ll need to figure out what tasks are challenging and what are easy. Peaks can better handle important or difficult tasks, troughs go for the simple or less important. And they might be very individual (which can work in your favor). I know that I can do work ‘housekeeping’ in a low ebb energy time, but have to have high energy when I do home housekeeping (which I find is more challenging).
If you have some say in your scheduling, shift meetings to your peak times. “But I can’t do that! Someone else makes the schedule!” Sometimes a simple suggestion in a workplace can set in motion what others have been thinking. Even one shift to align more to your natural wave can help you retain your energy which can be put back into other times when you have less control over the situation.
3. Celebrate a Deeper Understanding
You are a human not a machine, so embrace your wave-like nature. Generally humans have about 40 higher energy minutes per hour with 20 less so. Knowing more about this pattern can help you to ‘ride’ rather than ‘crash into’ the wave pattern. It is not because you are lacking efficiency or are flawed or lazy… it is a natural pattern that our 24/7 world wants to ignore but would do better to celebrate. You can note your ‘off peak’ times with gentleness, knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ (the great thing about being at the bottom of the wave is that there’s only one way to go!).
Or it might just give you an opportunity for compassion about others who might be going through the same dip – either at the same time (a meeting where everyone is tapped and tired) or at different times (when you think someone isn’t responding, it might just be a low point for them).
Understanding usually takes the fear and judgement out of the equation which tends to be energy-sucking, so you can find the beauty in your undulations.
4. Take a Micro-Mini-Break (if you can’t take a bigger one)
So 20 minutes out of the hour are troughs… does your schedule allow for that amount of ‘chill time’? I didn’t think so, even though this might make us much more effective in the long run. So what do you do in the time you “don’t” have?
How about, after every 40 minutes or so of work you take a minute of self-care. This could be ‘eyelid relaxation’ or ‘warm hands’ or any other quick self-hypnosis technique. If you don’t know how, make sure you’re signed up or updated on the newsletter so you can get an example or two of quick techniques. Feel the difference after only a minute or two of hypnotic rest – it’s pretty cool.
And even as you’re doing it, for as little as 30 seconds, IMAGINE as if you’re doing it for 20 minutes. While the time doesn’t change, you may be surprised to feel even better that before, because the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality, so it might feel as though you’ve had a 20 minute nap/massage/time-out.
Bonus tip: Hypnosis can help.
If you need some suggestions or ways to use your best nature in your work and life, speaking directly to the subconscious mind is a quick and easy way to help you increase your productivity as well as your personal calm. If some of the other aspects of your life are putting pressure on your ability to ‘ride the waves’ well, hypnosis can help to support you through the ups and downs. Schedule a session or discounted bundle so that you can start moving naturally into a better work and life experience.