I've come to respect, even embrace, the fact that I am not a machine. This has likely dawned on me due to the fact that I'm now in my thirties and no longer have youthful abundance on my side.
I don't actually have a constant source of power enabling me to perform endlessly, without breaks. Blind effort is no longer a viable option to solve a problem.
We're all pretty aware that energy levels rise and fall with each hour of the day. But it's less obvious, or we seem to forget, that they also wax and wane over weeks, months and even years.
Sometimes I'm in a period of great motivation and energy. Where nothing is insurmountable. Other times, I do what I need to do to survive and no more.
January, February and March are productive for me. But, without fail, I always crash in April and May. Things slow down. My brain becomes foggier, and things become a little more arduous.
This is my natural rhythm.
A couple of weeks ago I'd forgotten this, or perhaps tried to fight it. I was frustrated with my lack of passion and effort.
As a result, I'd created a negative virtuous cycle: I'd give myself a hard time for not living up to my typical routine. I'd become increasingly frustrated and stressed. This would then impact my sleep. Which would create additional stress... and ultimately push what I wanted further and further from reach.
So what am I doing? Times, like now, when I'm running on empty and need to slow down don't have to be unproductive. I'm taking this as a time for reflection. Letting ideas to ferment and incubate. Processing and analysing big decisions. Letting other background functions that don't take much energy, but do take time for the mind to resolve the missing pieces.
Planning my life around these patterns
It is important to manage the ebb and flow of energy and motivation, both on a daily basis and a long-term basis. Managing these cycles rather than ignoring them (or fighting them) can make us more productive, and happier.
Like our energy levels, the tides of the ocean have a consistent ebb and flow. Fishermen know the tides like the back of their hand and that means they always know when to go fishing and catch the most fish.
So rather than get upset or annoyed that my streaks are being broken: be it in the number of runs I'm doing per week, or the decreasing number of blog posts I'm writing, I know I need to give myself a break in April and May, and other times during the year to reflect that of my natural rhythm.
Every Sunday I send out a newsletter. My aim is to inspire you, make you smile and leave you having learned something.