Rhythm: August 2013 Theme

Happiness and rhythm quote

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance, rhythm, and harmony.”
– Thomas Merton

Amidst all the big changes, new lifestyles, and great dreams, I am now trying to find a new rhythm. One that fits life as it is, right now.

It’s always scary when we have to alter the way we do things and the way we live our day-to-day lives. That’s why change is terrifying.

But, changes can be good because it can give us the opportunity to see if doing things in a new way can bring about freshness in our lives.

That’s what I am finding right now.

And, the new rhythm that this freshness is bringing has been showing me all sorts of different things.

Like how going to bed, feeling like I’ve done enough (or in some days, more than enough), can be quite refreshing.

How many times have we all turned off our computers and walked away from our work feeling like that that was a good, productive day?

If you’re like me, you would be almost always wishing there was more time in the day. To do more.

But, that kind of thinking becomes way too stressful. It doesn’t give us the liberty to do other things that we love. It doesn’t help us to enjoy our “down time” enough.

That’s why in my new rhythm, I am trying to develop a system wherein I feel like I can shut down and allow myself to enjoy a TV show, a movie, a book, or long cuddle times with my kids – after a full, productive day. Not as though I’m always behind. Always trying to catch-up.

Shifting My Rhythm

In order to achieve such a feat, I am trying to shift certain areas of my mindset. Some of the things that I am working on developing right now:

    • Scheduling things that matter. And, when I say “things that matter”, it doesn’t just include work. It includes things that makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something worthwhile during the day or during the week. For example, I’ve started adding my 750 Words/Daily Writing habit as a recurring task on my To Do List. I’m also slowly adding in things like blogging and time for writing my novel/script. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be brave enough to start adding things like regular “artist’s dates” and “creating time” too. 
    • Developing new flexible routines. That doesn’t very convincing, I know. But, being a non-fan of routines (I get bored easily), I try to avoid them. However, I’ve learned over the years that no matter how much I don’t like them, I can’t function well without them either. The creative and the productive brain thrive on limitations and routines provide those limitations. So, I work on routines. But, I try to make them flexible enough so that I don’t get too bored too easily. And, I don’t end up beating myself up if I move my scheduled break time from 10am to 10.45am. Or something like that.
    • Practicing mindfulness in different aspects of my life. In this case, mindfulness is more than just meditating or finding peace. It’s keeping things in check on a regular basis. One aspect of my life that I try to practice more mindfulness is the use of social media. Making sure I avoid checking in first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And sometimes, even just shutting it down completely during the day. Not an easy thing to do when your work revolves around social media and the web. But, I’m glad that I do take time away from it, especially  because I already do a lot of it.
    • Being “all there”. I’m a multi-tasker. I tend to do it because I feel more productive that way. But, lately, I’m trying to avoid multi-tasking in a way that shifts my focus too easily. Maybe that’s part of the idea of my word of the year. To learn what focus really means. To understand what it means to “be all there” in whatever moment I am in. Sure, I still multi-task. Running the washing machine and the robot vacuum cleaner while I work can make me feel like I’m doing both my professional work and my housework at the same time. But, when I’m putting my kids to bed, I like to be just there - reading a book, talking, cuddling – not worrying about what else I need to do before I fall asleep.

    What’s Your Rhythm Like?

    Are you a planner? Do you schedule your days? What shifts in mindset do you recommend in order to develop a daily rhythm in life?

    About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

    Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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