Athletes talk about getting into a rhythm all the time. They talk about having a feeling like the next shot is going to go in or the next swing is going to be a hit. If you listen to any commentator, whether it’s a football game, baseball game, or a soccer game, when somebody’s doing really well; they’ll often refer to it as so and so has found their rhythm. They’ll say a quarterback has found his rhythm and is connecting their every pass. A soccer player has won every 50/50 ball that has come his way and he has settled into a rhythm. The baseball player has strung together several hits in a row and hitting is a notoriously streaky thing, it’s often attributed to finding their rhythm at the plate. I think in the work world, this idea of finding your rhythm is just as applicable.
A lot of times I’ll suddenly find myself really feeling like things are coming easily. That I seem to be getting things out with less effort and that the daily tasks of getting things done are just coming easier. I attribute a lot of that feeling to being able to get into and keep a regular schedule. In sports you’ll sometimes hear the crazy stories about guys that are in the middle of a hot streak and are wearing the same clothes, wearing the same shirts every day, and eating the same meals because they’re trying to find out what that secret recipe is for success. While I don’t necessarily think wearing the same shirt is going to help your cause I do believe there is something to be said for regularity of doing things.
If you can find and establish a good series of events that you do on a daily basis, that gets you through your daily tasking, and gets things accomplished, then you should do what you can to hang on to that to maintain the same types and orders of tasking. I try to get in in the morning and do some of the writing and creative tasks that I have created for myself right at the beginning of the day when I am fresh mentally. From there I transition into some of the more rote type tasks and meetings through the middle of the day and finally, I’ll circle back at the end of the day and do creative tasks again. The creative types of tasks are something that I enjoy so I don’t like slogging through it during my midday slump which generally doesn’t produce good results on those types of tasks. That’s when I try to crunch through some of the more mundane tasks that everyone has to do in their day to day life.
The mundane sort of tasks aren’t the ones that make you get out of bed in the morning but they come with any job so those are the things I try to do in the middle of the day when I’m sort of on autopilot anyway. So I think one of the keys to success is finding a schedule that works for you and trying to figure out why it works for you. Is it because you do certain things better at certain times of the day and that sort of thing. Once you find it, stick with it. There’s a lot to be said for doing a little bit of experimenting to find out what works for you. On the other hand I also think that when you get something going and you seem to be making great progress, you should be careful about breaking from that schedule. At the very least be conscious if you do break from it so if your productivity starts to suffer, you can go back to the things that are working for you.