Finding your rhythm at work is really important these days. We juggle more than in days past. We have more technological tethers pulling us in different directions than we used to. Maintaining a delicate balance of all of these demands is akin to spinning plates on sticks, but there’s a better way. I tend to focus more on making sure my rhythm is right than emphasizing the phrase “work-life balance.” This phrase is used so much that it is hard to put a clear and consistent definition around it.
I prefer rhythm because it means there will be slow and fast movements during your day, similar to what you hear when listening to a symphony by Bach or Beethoven. The music moves along and has amplified moments and soothing sounds to it as well. Sure, there will be days that you have to stay late or be at the office early, but if you keep it all in perspective and work on ways to have the right mindset and symphonic flow to your day, it will go well rhythmically and realistically.
So, what are some ways to make this rhythm work for you? Here are a few things that work for me:
- Spend some time alone in the morning to ponder your day ahead. This daily commitment to yourself can be done in a quiet place you designate in your home or by cutting off the noise and distractions in your car or just by being still for a few minutes after you park the car — no phone calls or email or text messages. Studies now reveal we are on our smart phones every six minutes. Take six minutes to take a breather. The world won’t end.
- Take time to laugh. There is always something to make you smile during the day. Seek it out or better yet initiate it.
- Give someone an encouraging word at the office and let this person know you appreciate them.
- Have lunch by yourself occasionally. Cut off the technology and just think about how the week/month is going, what you can do better and how you can make a continued difference to those around you, including co-workers, family and friends.
- Embrace silence when you can. If you can’t get much silence during the week, try to make it happen over the weekend.
- Exercise. This keeps you not only in strong physical shape but also in a good mental state.
- Listen to soothing music – like jazz, classical or acoustical – whatever helps you mentally slow down and push the proverbial pause button.
- Think of a friend at work who has a good rhythm and ask her or him what they do to keep the melody of life. Learn from them and emulate what they do. It can be infectious. One little nugget you might find when talking to a rhythmic role model is that they have good days and bad – comes with the territory.
- Finally, don’t take yourself so seriously nor tell everyone how busy you are all the time. It is not healthy. Be serious about your work but continue to have a light touch with those around you and a sense of calmness with what the day at work might bring.
So, rhythm matters in more ways than one. Embrace the fast and slow movements within this rhythm and be someone who has the right speed of acceleration at the office. It will be noticeable and appreciated.
You will influence those around you and create in them the right perspective about what really matters. After all, a balancing act is work, but rhythm keeps you moving the right way. Give it a try, find your inner Beethoven, if you will, and find yourself in good company.