Working a 5 day week, Monday to Friday, has its upsides, or so I'm told... Over time, I've come to realise that I actually prefer spacing my commitments out, which means I quite often work across 6 days of my week. For me, this is 'smart working', as it provides a rhythm and pace that I am attuned to, and feel most productive within.
What this arrangement doesn't entail is a very clear 'week-end'. Whereas others maybe finish their working week on a Friday afternoon, mine usually continues until the middle of Saturday afternoon. It wasn't always thus, but this is how it is right now, and I've made a conscious decision to structure my time in this way.
Rhythm is important, it helps us sustain momentum, and I know that I work best when I there is a quality of 'flow'. In terms of my working week, it is important that I create spaces, in order to sustain myself, and my replenish my energy levels, whilst reviewing my progress and acknowledging my achievements, in light of the sometimes seemingly endless to-do list.
Having a vantage point in any given week from which we can look both forwards, at what is to come, and backwards, reflecting on what's gone before comprises an important ingredient of the work-life balance our well being rests upon.
Taking 'inventory' in this way allows us to chart our progress, and observe the direction in which we are travelling. Unless there is a point at which we can stop climbing and survey the view, there's little point in ascending the mountain.
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."
Thomas Merton (American author, 1915-1968)
Taking a moment at the end of the week, before moving into the next, allows us an opportunity to recognise how much we do in any given week. Reflecting on what how we've spent our time, and what we've produced as a result is a good way to check that we're doing what we want to do, rather than just what we need to, which is another important aspect of self care.
In any week, we need to have spent time doing things we enjoy, and things that we know we do well. These activities allow us to connect with our sense of pleasure, and also the important sense of mastery. Building this mini check-in into our weeks can be very helpful in the long term, as we are apt not to notice the passage of time, until we realise we've 'lost' it, or sense we may have 'wasted' it.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Finding the balance is a very personal thing. We are all built differently, and may have varied preferences as to our pace of life, and routine. We all need breaks, that much is well documented. For myself, I know I thrive on variety. My own weekly set-up is, to my mind, a luxury for which I am grateful for (most weeks, at least). It was not always an option. Whilst it works for me right now, I am conscious that it may not at some point in the future, at which point I will be able to review it. The important thing is to create the space to reflect on that which is within all of our control - how are we spending our free time, are we doing things we enjoy, and things we are good at?
"One has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself."
Jessye Norman (American musician, b.1945)
Enjoy your weekend...