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DAILY RHYTHMS PART 1: EDIT YOUR LIFE
Welcome back, Lovie, to the RS Blog. Today we are kicking off our series on daily rhythms. I think this topic is applicable regardless of your life season, but it is most helpful in transition seasons. Over this three-part series, we are going to make room in your life for growth, determine how you want your life to look, and then eliminate anything that doesn’t align with the vision you create. Let’s dive in.
TIME TO EDIT YOUR LIFE
Our first bite-sized foray into this will focus on how to edit your life – specifically your physical environment. Author James Clear sends out a weekly newsletter and in one of his recent ones, he asked a question this is a perfect jumping-off point for us in this series. He asked: Before you ask, “What should I do today?” Ask yourself, “What should I remove today?” Create the space you need to succeed.
Did that one hit you as it hit me?
MAKING SPACE IN YOUR LIFE
As you look at your life – the part you are actually living in the day-in-day-out routines – how do you create space to succeed in the areas of your life you say matter? I’m serious here. How do you set up the physical spaces in your life to make your life easier, lower friction, and create the margin for you to exhale?
Maybe a better question is: Do you make space in your environment, in your calendar, and in your relationships to be successful?
THE INVISIBLE WORK OF WOMEN
In the organization I am working the bulk of our work is focused on equity. As such we have been discussing how to bring equity to women in the workplace, especially in light of the amount of invisible work women do.
Because most women today work outside the home, they find themselves working the equivalent of two very full-time positions. They take care of their responsibilities at work, and they take care of their responsibilities at home. Even for those with very supportive and helpful partners, the invisible load running on hyperdrive inside their minds is 100% on them. This leaves them moving through life on auto-pilot, being pushed by the pace of life and a primal need to survive instead of being intentional about coming present and choosing each step they take.
It is up to us to do what we can to help us get off the hamster wheel of hustle, wake up to our dreams, and design a life (and home and calendar) where we minimize the load we carry and begin to live a balanced and well-managed story.
OVERWHELMED NO MORE
I believe we have all experienced feeling overwhelmed. I mean, 2020 happened to all of us, right!?!? Today it is time to learn a new way to set daily rhythms so we kick overwhelm to the curb for good.
Life has undergone a season of transition leaving chaos in its wake
Dealing with the emotional aftermath of a transition season can leave us feeling out-of-balance and off-kilter
It is wrong to navigate a season of transition as if nothing has changed. We have to acknowledge it and adjust accordingly so we can begin to establish new daily rhythms.
Lovie, please hear me say this: I understand that transitions can wreak havoc on your life. This can happen regardless of the shape or size of the transition. Let’s use 2021 as an example.
BACK TO "NORMAL"
Some businesses began to transition from being fully remote to being hybrid workplaces. Others brought all their teams back to the office full time. The rhythms everyone had established during the pandemic ended, and it was time to get back to “ normal”. This created areas of friction as we moved into a new season of transition.
It is hard. Transitions are hard, so we must be ready and willing to edit our life to help us get the wheels back on the bus and the bus back on the road. This requires us to practice making a pivot. If anyone gets the need to pivot following a transition, heaven knows I do.
RISING FROM THE ASHES
When your life gets blown to bits by a very challenging divorce, everything is suddenly a transition. Every. Single. Thing. In that season, nothing remained constant or steady. Life as I knew got burned to the ground with only ashes remaining. But what I know is that the phoenix always rises from the ashes.
As one of our Coming Out Gold family, Lovie, you know that the fires only refine us so we come out pure, beautiful gold. If I can come thru the complete and utter destruction of my life and transition to a place where I am a stronger, wiser, kinder human, I know you can do the same, too!
GATHERING OUR TOOLS
One of the key tools I used to survive my most difficult season was found in implementing daily rhythms across several areas of my day. I used them to ease from one part of the day to the next.
Okay, if I am fully transparent ease probably isn’t the right word here. Drag me from one part of the day to the next, pull me as if with a tow truck, help me belly crawl as if moving through a battle zone…yeah, those would be better and more accurate descriptions.
Daily Rhythms saw me through my season of transition then. And they see me through the daily living of my life now. And I want to share with you the first step I always take in tackling my season of transition and that is to edit your life. For real, edit it like your seventh-grade English paper edited the first term paper you had to write. Take that symbolic red pen and go to town with three simple steps:
space to grow
Step one is to downsize. Here our focus is on a reduction- Reducing things, responsibilities, and the overcrowding of our spaces, calendar, minds, car, closets…all the things!
I want you to assess every area of your life. If your dining room table is too large for your space and you don’t use it as a result, sell it and buy a smaller one you will use. If you have clothes in your closet that bring feelings of shame, get them out. whatever is taking up too much room in your space or mind or spirit, let it go!
By downsizing the areas of your life you create fertile soil for a new season to grow.
Think of a gardener. They buy a piece of property that is overgrown, full of vines and brambles, and rocks. They begin by clearing the land. They may mow it down, weed whack, or even bring in a bobcat to get the overgrowth out. They pull up the rocks and reuse them to build walls and borders around the garden. Now they are ready to plant with an expectancy of growing beautiful, good things.
Downsizing creates space to grow.
DONATE IT ALL
Step two of the process is to donate. Google defines the word donate as giving to a good cause or allowing the removal of. Both work in this framework.
Perhaps in step one, you downsized some of your physical spaces. If so, bag those items up and donate them. As I discussed in post 26, clearing clutter clears your mind as well as your space. If there are items in your space that don’t bring you joy – or any that worse make you sad or angry – let them go!
I encountered this in my own space recently. I looked around and found I had some items that left me sad every time I looked at them. To leave them meant I was choosing to either feel sad when I saw them or spend time avoiding looking at them all together. Why subject myself to this type of torture daily?
Instead, I chose to donate what I didn’t want and store what I felt I needed to be kept. It is my space. I get to fill it with what, as Marie Kondo says, sparks joy. And I can eliminate anything that does the opposite.
By downsizing and donating you create space in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual world. Creating space makes room for new opportunities.
Now, for step three we are going to focus on deleting things. Much like the control-alt-delete configuration of buttons on a computer resets your computer system, deleting parts of your life helps you reset.
So how do we do this?
Look at your life. Look at what you say yes to. Look at your calendar. Look at how you spend your time and how you don’t spend your time.
Look at what you value – what you say you value and what your life and choices reflect that you value. And then start finding places you can delete things.
Lovie, remember that nothing you delete today has to be deleted forever. It is simply for a season. Sometimes we just need to pause something to give our time and attention to something else.
If you will spend time editing the things in your life through the lens of the three Ds – downsize, donate, and delete – you will create margin in your life for new daily rhythms. These rhythms will help propel you forward into your next season.
MAKE A HABIT OF IT
New daily rhythms lead to new daily habits. New daily habits build a foundation you can build upon. Building on a solid foundation allows you the strength and flexibility to move in the direction of your dreams. And that is the life we all deserve to live.
Now as a side note I want to be clear: Implementing new habits and daily rhythms can feel frustratingly slow. But if you stick with it, the energy you gain from how well they fill your tank will make the rest of your day smoother. You will be more productive because your mind is clear, your intention is set, and your focus is laser sharp. Push past the momentary discomfort found in downsizing, donating, and deleting because you will turn the corner. Neuro scientist Dr. Caroline Leaf says it takes three sets of 21 days to rewrite the brain so give this process time.
Cultivating new patterns takes time. Go back to the image of a garden. A lot of work happens before you can eat the food.
YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THE WEEK
In this upcoming week, I challenge you to schedule an appointment with yourself. Block this time to start looking around and seeing your environment with fresh eyes. Decide where you can downsize, what you can donate, and how you can delete things to make room for growth in this next season. By doing so you will clear your mind. Creating margin opens the floor for new discoveries. And when you love your environment, joy, peace, and harmony are easier to find.
Seasons of transition are going to come. If we are encased in a chaotic environment, our minds will be cluttered. A cluttered mind leads to overwhelm. Overwhelm leads to inaction. Inaction leads to stagnation.
Stagnation leads to hopelessness which takes a soul out.
GET INTERESTED IN THE LIFE YOU'RE CREATING
As we wrap up part one in our series on daily rhythms, I want to leave you with a quote from painter Georgia O’Keeffe on making the most of what you have: “Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”
May these words inspire each of us to begin establishing new daily rhythms as we tackle seasons of transition. May we steward well the moments and days that make up our life regardless of the season we are in.
Lovie, I hope these tips help and that you will return next week when we tackle part two where we will learn how to edit your calendar.
Until next time, remember, I am in it WITH you, always,