What upsets your rhythm?

The activity we’re doing gets easier when we’re in a rhythm and consequentially we’re able to either get more done or perform at a higher level. This is evident at work but also applies to everyday scenarios such as going for a run in winter where starting off in the cold can be reasonably hard and uncertainty can creep in with “I don’t think I can do this today” but if we persevere until we get into a bit of a rhythm our mood usually changes to “I’m glad I got going as this wasn’t so bad after all.”

Conversely, if we’re not mindful it’s relatively easy to get out of rhythm. For instance, you might go to the gym twice a week but you skip a session or 2 and before you know it your gym sessions somehow became more infrequent.

Factors, such as complexity (I don’t know how to proceed), time (I don’t have enough) can also impact our ability to either establish or stay in rhythm.  However, I believe the reasons for getting out of rhythm at work are often much simpler to influence.

For instance, how often do you distract yourself from the task at hand? It’s probably not surprising this happens because the average person has 70,000 thoughts a day (that’s 48 thoughts per minute). The key is to reduce and manage the distractions ie. if you remember you need to get milk on the way home then record it (write it down, enter a reminder in the phone, calendar etc) and get back onto the task at hand. Or if you get bored with the task then maybe it makes sense to link a reward to it ie. I’ll have a coffee when I’ve completed “X.”

We’re usually interrupted by others but too often we just accept the non-urgent interruptions ie. instead of the same person interrupting you on 10 separate times during the day, it might make sense to suggest a more productive way is to have a short meeting to address the 10 items at the same time.

You might be surprised the positive impact on the amount of work you’re able to produce from getting your working rhythm right. What do you need to do differently to improve your rhythm?