Tag Archives: morning rhythm

Rhythm, Baby – SHP005

Rhythm, Baby - Episode 5 of The Slow Home Podcast

When it comes to routine versus rhythm, it’s rhythm all the way for me.

In today’s show (another solo outing to round out the big podcast launch week) I talk about the difference between rhythm and routine, and why it’s important to apply the friendlier notion of rhythm to our days.

Shifting into a rhythmic approach has been one of the best changes I’ve made to my life over the past few years and I feel like I actually get more done (most days) than if I was to apply a regimented routine to my days.

Later in the episode I also take a look at what my morning rhythm looks like at the moment, why my alarm is set for 4am and what I manage to get done before other members of my family wake up.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first week of the show as much as I’ve loved bringing it to you! After today’s episode I will be releasing a new podcast every Thursday morning (Australian time) so be sure to subscribe to the show so you don’t miss out.

If you’ve been enjoying the show, I would be so grateful if you could take one minute to subscribe and leave a rating or a review in iTunes. Apparently this gets the show pushed up in the iTunes rankings and will help other people discover the podcast who otherwise may not. One of the biggest reasons I’ve created the podcast is to help share the ideas of slow living with a wider audience, so any help you could offer would be amazing.

With that in mind, grab a cup of something tasty and dive in to today’s episode.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Alternatively, you can listen to the show directly from the blog, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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What You’ll Hear About  in Today’s Episode:

  • The difference between rhythm and routine
  • Why I think rhythm is a better option, particularly when trying to create a slower, simpler life
  • Why I choose to get up at 4am
  • Why this approach may not work for everyone
  • What my mornings look like and how I have created a rhythm that helps me get a lot done before my family wakes up

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

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Rethink. Reset.

Rethink. Reset.

If you’re a regular reader of Slow Your Home you probably know my family and I spent December and much of January in Canada. We had our first (magical) white Christmas, we snowboarded, we ice skated, we spent whole days by the fire watching movies and reading books.

It was one of the most incredible holidays we’ve ever had. And it was also the longest time we’ve spent together without daily pressures of work, school, home and general life stuff. We had the opportunity to view life through a wider lens and have come home both refreshed and with a very real need to rethink and reset and our priorities, goals, rhythms and habits.

Because when you’re in the thick of life, it can be hard to get a 10,000-foot view. But when you do and life opens out beneath you, it can become abundantly clear that things need to change.

Since we’ve been home, I’ve been on a resetting binge. Life is going to look really different this year, with our eldest starting school and our four-year-old at preschool two days a week. So my approach to our days and weeks needed to be overhauled. But what’s more, it needed to change because it was no longer working for us.

Resetting our Rhythms

I’ve spent a lot of time rethinking how our days, our home and my work will feel this year and resetting the rhythms that help make it all happen in a (relatively) simple way.

This means I’ve deconstructed all the things that need to happen in our mornings, our days and our weeks, and I’ve put it back together in a way that makes sense to the way we want to live and the way we want life to feel.

I’ve written before about how you can create a rhythm for your days and weeks, but essentially it means looking at:

  • what needs to happen
  • what currently happens
  • what doesn’t need to happen
  • the time you have available for these things

Then plug it in to a rhythm (which is a little like a routine, but not really) that fits your life.

(You can read the full post about creating rhythms here, and download the Rhythm Worksheet here.)

Resetting my Mornings

Early mornings are when I like to get the majority of my writing work done, and last year I fell in to bad habits. I would hit my snooze button one too many times or waste time online (Facebook, reading emails, news websites). This meant I got less done, which would leave me frustrated, and I would carry that feeling through the rest of my morning, constantly feeling overwhelmed and behind schedule.

This needed to change, so I spent a lot of time thinking about my priorities and decided to:

  • stop using my phone as an alarm clock.
  • start getting up at 4am again
  • avoid the internet completely before 9am – this means no email, no messages, no social media, no posting to the blog at all during this time.
  • finish my work at 6:30am and get the rest of the morning underway – regardless of whether I’d finished or not.
  • have a list of no more than 3 things to do every morning

We’re only in the first full week back but I can already tell you that the no internet thing is working incredibly well.

Resetting our Level of Stuff (Again)

Another thing I love about travel? You recognise how little you really need.

After coming home I decluttered even more of our stuff (mostly toys, decor and clothes the kids no longer fit into) and was amazed to see how easy it was to let go, even though we didn’t have a huge amount to begin with.

With toys in particular, it was really interesting to see how the kids reacted to having only a few things to play with while we were away. They each had a little bag of figurines, a puzzle, a board game, a soft toy and some Lego and we also packed colouring books and pencils.

They never got bored. And while part of that was being on holiday and having us around more than normal, I think part of it was also that they weren’t overwhelmed by choice. There was plenty there to keep them occupied but not so much that they didn’t know where to begin.

When we got home, I held a second packing party for the kids toys and no-one has missed a thing.

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If January had an unintentional theme of Resetting, then February has a very intentional one of Momentum, where my new goals and habits of:

  • writing 500 words (min) every day
  • going to the gym three days a week
  • waking early (4:00am) every week day
  • no internet before 9:00am

become an ingrained part of my rhythm and where the New Year just becomes the year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together and whether I need to readjust again once we’ve settled back in to our everyday rhythm.

I hope you and yours have had a good introduction to 2015. I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting year!

Why Rhythm Trumps Routine

Finding Your Rhythm

From this week, or maybe next, life generally returns to normal.

People are back at work, families are getting prepared for the school year ahead, dance enrolments open, swimming classes fill up, as does the calendar, and the year simply rolls on into another version of its former self.

I know many of us resist this return to Life after the holidays. It feels like a drudgery, a constant battle to remain balanced when there is simply too much to do, a reminder that the more relaxed way of life we have been enjoying was merely an interlude. A pause between hectic periods.

Which is kinda depressing, don’t you think?

Instead, we can see this new beginning as an opportunity. Not an opportunity to create an uber-routine of ultra-productivity, but to create rhythm for our homes and the people who live in it.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Routine. It’s the domain of the successful, the organised, the on-time. It’s what You Should Be Doing. Right?

But do you know what else routine is? It’s restrictive, it’s unfriendly, it’s regimented.

Rhythm, on the other hand, speaks to you. It moves you, it moves with you, it feels good.

You’re right, on the face of it there isn’t much difference between the two. Both help you get things done, both deliver guidelines on what needs to happen and when.

The differences though, are really important. And if you’re looking to create a simpler life with less stress, then…  you gotta have rhythm, baby.

Rhythm Over Routine.

After our daughter was born a few years ago, Ben and I were determined to establish a routine, get her sleeping pattern regulated, and create comfort and predictability for everyone involved.

As it turns out, babies don’t really work like that.

In fact, life doesn’t really work like that.

It took us well over 12 months to learn that routine – a strict, sequential approach to our days – was less than helpful. It made us feel we were failing if we missed a step or fell behind.

Rhythm, however, was a much friendlier notion. It spoke of order, but also flexibility and movement and fluidity. It even sounded friendlier.

Rhythm.

Rhythm moves you. You dance to it, find your groove, let go a little, enjoy the moment and see where it takes you.

Routine? Notsomuch.

You march to routine. It’s a steady metronome keeping time. And if you sway, if you linger, if you move out of order or miss a step, then you fail. You’re out of time. You’re lagging behind.

Rhythm allows change and flexibility for different seasons in life. Which is why rhythm wins out over routine every day.

Embracing Rhythm

To embrace this idea, you need to ask yourself some questions about the rhythm you want to create.

You can create a rhythm for your mornings, evenings, weeks, seasons or even holidays, and what it looks and feels like is entirely up to you.

Choose a rhythm and ask yourself:

What are my priorities? Is it exercising before breakfast, or taking the time to eat dinner as a family every night?

What do other people in my home need? Does my husband need time to study? Or perhaps my school-age kids need to pack their bags in the evening?

What feels positive? What makes me feel vital and happy and energetic? Make this a priority.

What can change from the current situation? It’s always possible to get up earlier or go to bed later. Similarly, if there are areas where a lot of time is wasted, this can be shifted elsewhere.

What can’t change – no matter how much I’d like it to? School times, bus and train timetables, meetings and appointments can’t change. Make sure these are taken into account and allow some wiggle-room for the inevitable delay.

Once you’ve answered these questions, take some time to work out your best rhythm. Literally write it down on a piece of paper, establish a sequence and then bring it in to your day.

Once it’s there, you simply let your day unfold around it.

And the best thing? There’s no need to keep up a rapid tempo if it’s the season for a slower tune. Similarly, if you feel the urge for dancing, for growth, for expansion, then up the tempo and dance for your life. Always know that it’s your rhythm and you choose the pace. You choose the moves.