Last time I wrote to you I was getting ready to send the first draft of my book to my editor.

Since that time, I have done that, had a phone consult with him to look at content and structure of my book, begun rewrites, and met with someone to set up the deadlines necessary to get my book to publish. I have also learned a whole lot about the publishing process. Whew! That is a whirlwind of activity.

At the same time I am refining my programs and making their reach broader so I can help not only those who are grieving a loss, but also anyone who wants to live a life worth living. As I looked at everything I have on my plate right now, it was clear to me that I needed to change a few things in order to stay focused and not get burned out.

I knew that I could do everything that I wanted to do if I took a closer look at how I was spending my time.

I also began to look at my patterns, the way I moved through my day and through my week. I noticed when I tended to veg out, where and when my energy lagged, and when I felt most energetic. I began experimenting, changing things around a bit, all the while noticing the effect on my focus and my energy.

In a lot of ways it feels like this is an advanced level of finding my own rhythm, something I have been working on since I took early retirement almost three years ago. I am very adaptable and I am finding that can work for and against me. When I do not have enough of a structure in my life, I can “adapt away my day” in other words I can distract myself and loose my focus.

I decided to join a three month Awakened Accountability group.

This is providing me with a structure and accountability as I create a schedule for the rewrites of my book, the writing for my programs and the support I need as I move through this time. I have created my own supportive structure. Some of these things are self-care, creativity, play, and good nourishment. When I get busy, play and self-care are the first things that go. Good nourishment is a close second. I get so wrapped up in meeting my deadlines that I forget that taking care of myself will help me meet them in a better, less stressful way. I need to break out of my trance of busy-ness so I can be fully present not only to my writing, but also to everything else that makes my life worth living.

How can you break out of your trance so that you can have more access to the best parts of your day to accomplish what is most important to you? Here are a few things to try.

  1.  Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish. Write down everything that is important to you and prioritize your list.
  2. Is there a special project you want to take on? If so, make a list of all the components of your project and assign deadlines to each component. How does your special project fit into the list you made in #1?
  3. What kind of self-care and creative endeavor or play do you need to have the energy and inspiration to stay focused on your list? Be specific here: what, how often, and how long.
  4. What stories do you tell yourself about why you do not need self-care or play? Take some time to examine your stories. Where do they come from? Are they even yours, or did you take them on from someone else? What could you do if you did not have this story? Do some writing here, and continue to come back to them. If you know Samyama, it can help you unravel your stories.
  5. Look at your schedule now. Are there patterns you can shift around to access more time in your day? Maybe if you did some movement as play first thing in the morning you would then have more energy later in the day to focus on your project. Or maybe taking a few minutes in the middle of the day to walk outside would make a difference. Experiment and see how you can switch it up and what effect that may have on your energy, your time, or your focus. You can always change it up again if something does not feel right.
  6. Make some time each week to reassess your schedule and your priorities. Pay attention to how you feel, your energy levels at different times of the day and after creativity and play. Notice the difference even a small adjustment to your day or week can make to your schedule.

We often get stuck in a way of doing things that no longer serves us.

Maybe it did at one time in our lives, but as we evolve and become more aware of our hopes and dreams the old ways do not have the desired effect any longer. When you find yourself repeating a behavior time after time, yet wanting different results, it is time to take a closer look at your patterns and break out of your own trance.

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Having someone to help you be accountable can go a long way to help you unravel your limiting stories and find your own rhythm.