Solopreneur Strategies

Find Your Work Life Rhythm

With Lydia Lee

The Rhythm and Seasons of Your Work Life

Growing up in British Columbia, I’ve experienced four seasons in one year. When I started building a life in Bali, I’ve adjusted to having two seasons – rainy season and not so rainy season 😉. It’s “winter” in Bali right now, which means a bit more rain and me wearing socks in the mornings!

I’ve always liked the changing seasons. It signifies for me a natural shift to reset with fresh energy and new activities fit for that season. Even though I haven’t experienced four seasons in some time, I’ve loved designing my year to adapt to different seasons of change.

In hustle culture, we’re taught to be “on” all year round. We’re expected to have the same level of energy from January to December. We’re constantly producing without much time for rest and reflection.

It can be what we believe has to happen in a business as well. That every quarter, months, and weeks of the year required us to push ourselves to achieve big goals as an entrepreneur. I certainly felt this way, which resulted in severe depression and burnout in 2015 during my highest revenue year in my business.

What if We Could Honour Our Personal Rhythm and Seasons of Change?

What would it then look like to align our plans for the year according to our energy levels, commitments, and personality type?

I’ve been analyzing my own ideal work schedule and times of the year where I’m best suited to do different things. For example, I’m someone that’s built in a way where I like a sprint of focus for a few months, and then I need downtime and more rest right after.

I also have different levels of energy throughout the year. I tend to be inspired to take action for big projects around March or September and need more rest in December and January. I like taking longer time off for a whole month during summer periods and again in the winter.

What if you can adjust your expectations and intentions by creating “containers” throughout the seasons of the year to adapt to your energy style and focus?

I love creating “themes” for each season so that I can leverage my energy to focus on specific goals that make my business work for me. Here’s an example of how I theme my seasons and the activities I do in these containers:

Working with my own personal rhythm and building an ideal business for my lifestyle helps me to design my work around how I want to live. It’s why I chose to have a tiny business instead of trying to compare myself and keep up with the business “Joneses”.

To gain clarity and construct a vision for our ideal way of working requires us to take necessary pauses to evaluate and gain perspective. We can’t get here if we’re on “doing” all year round.

Enter the Quarterly “Thinking” Retreats

I’ve loved having a ritual of going away for a mini thinking retreat at the end of every quarter where I get to nourish myself while reflecting and planning for the next 90 days. Sometimes I get an Airbnb just for a weekend or choose to go somewhere special for a week. But you can choose to do it for a full day at the library, a cozy cafe, or your happy place by a lake or a park.

It’s an opportunity to take a necessary pause and give myself a big reset to pivot plans and create fresh intentions if I need to. It’s also a time to reflect on what happened in the last 3 months that can provide insight on what I want to keep pursuing or put to bed going forward.

It’s been such a beneficial ritual for me that I introduced a virtual concept of this to my students at the 90 Day Launch Academy. With a handy music playlist to set the mood and space in our schedule to reflect and plan for the next 90 days together, people have really loved giving themselves permission to have a big reset and create new commitments to their goals.

Here’s a preview of the template we use to do this:

As I work with different personality-type clients, I’ve discovered there’s so much nuance in what’s “ideal” for each individual.

Some of us are neurodiverse and require different types of systems and approaches to work that aligns with how that type of brain thinks. Some of us need variety in our schedules to keep us interested in our work. Some need more white space in their schedules to recalibrate before they dive deeply into projects.

You are a unique individual and your business should be designed to amplify you genius zone and honour your personality style.

If you gain more awareness and understanding on how you like to operate throughout the year in your business, you’ll get better at having healthier boundaries and pinpointing the best ways to utilize your energy to take action.

Start with these questions:

  • How do you prefer to work most days? – i.e. face to face interactions, behind the scenes work, etc.
  • What does your work rhythm look like? – i.e. deep focus for a specific amount of time and rest, theme days for different tasks, client days on certain days of the week…
  • Are there seasons or months of the year where your energy is high? And when is it lower? What activities make sense to focus on in your business during these times?
  • Do you have other important commitments every year that are non-negotiable (travel days, kids out of school, certification program…) that you need to prioritize so that you can plan your business and life activities around them effectively?
  • Do you prefer a short burst of rest/holidays every quarter or prefer longer time off at certain times of the year? We may be used to “corporate life” telling us we only get 2-3 weeks off a year (and everyone takes off the same days in the year), but if you could ideally create your own schedule, what works for your lifestyle choices?

Thinking through these questions can inspire you to design the type of work, schedule, and model that aligns with your natural tendencies and authentic self.

It’s never too late to re-evaluate how you’re getting to the best version of your life and business.

When you adjust and refine your goals to honour your personal rhythm and seasons in life, you’re creating your own version of success and happiness that’ll be sustainable for YOU.

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