Your Daily Flow

I’ve been going deeper into this whole EAT SLEEP MOVE theory of mine. The theory is simple: make sure you do these three things pretty well and you’ll be able to really rock it out in all other areas of your life. So what does this mean in practice? And what do I do when I walk someone through an EAT SLEEP MOVE session?

STEP ONE >>> lay it all out. What do you all got going on? Chances are, you’ve got too much.

Depending on your situation (usually related to your money situation), you may or may not have a lot of what I call “wiggle room” to play with in your schedule. I also don’t really like the term schedule. I prefer to call it your “daily flow” – doesn’t that just sound better? Your daily flow can be nice and easy. It might spike up with intensity from time to time, but in general, the goal is to keep your flow flowing – smooth and effortlessly.

With “wiggle room” comes the ability to choose to either add things to your plate or take them away. Sometimes both needs to happen and this is something that tends to surface once we start prioritizing our items.

STEP TWO >>> pick out your BIG ROCKS. We start prioritizing what’s most important. Note: this may not (and should not) include everything that you do (or want to do or need to do for that matter). This is where the going sometimes gets tough. Some items just won’t make the cut. They all can’t and that’s the point. Our goal, however, is to make sure that the EAT SLEEP MOVE categories remain among your top priorities. Getting good sleep, eating well and exercising regularly become your non-negotiables. These things happen no matter what.

When I sit down with someone and start examining their “flow” for the week, what I’m typically looking for is open space. I like to draw “bubbles” around any open space I can find. The more bubbles (or blocks of time) you have the better. Again, the challenge is usually not having enough bubbles.

The goal becomes to create more bubbles.

And this leads to the hard choices. For the students I work with, they generally can’t ixnay their classes or part-time jobs (sometimes bordering full-time even) for that matter. For people with kids, they can’t ixnay their kids. This question does comes up though (kidding)!

Then there’s the big picture question of your work and what you are trying to achieve in your career. It often happens that you don’t have enough bubbles to support forward movement with those “big picture” type goals you have. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily minutiae and just trying to keep yourself afloat.

The real goal is to start leading with intention. No you can’t control every little thing in your daily flow (and shit comes up, that’s for sure), but you can choose how you respond and you can choose how you intend to move through your day, every day.

STEP THREE >>> examine how you operate. What this means is thinking about when you tend to be “most productive.” Are you a “night owl” or a morning person? Do you like to workout and then bust out your homework or manuscript? We are thinking about our energy and how best to put it to use. Ideally, we want to match up those “productive zones” with as many of our “bubbles” as possible. What can you fit in where in your day that makes the most sense, that is time efficient and that leads to you feeling your best – and basically rocking it out?

STEP FOUR >>> create a “flow” that feels good. Once we have our “big picture” in mind that includes our non-negotiables, our bubbles, our ideal time frame for making things happen, like exercise, then we start to put it all together. The most important thing to realize at this point in the process is the reason behind being mindful in creating our daily flow. Yes, we are putting together an “idealized” version of a weekly schedule according to what’s most important and how we can best operate and maneuver. But, what we are not doing is creating any sense of rigidity in our mindset or our daily flow.

We want to keep the flow exactly what it is – a flow. Of course we can’t know what might come up from day-to-day, what projects, kids’ needs and activities, what emergencies might need tending to etcetera. What we can do is respond to such things with the greatest of ease because we are prepared to do so.

That’s the beauty. By establishing – at least in our mind’s eye – an “ideal” way of moving through our days – we can actually start to feel more in line with our intentions, our goals, our best work. We can actually start to progress in those areas that are usually left by the wayside albeit of huge importance to us in the long run.

So we build our flow knowing that stuff comes up. Our baseline self-care (EAT SLEEP MOVE) comes in by helping us to become more adept at meeting daily challenges while still keeping with our flow. When the small stuff starts to fall away (and you’ll be amazed that once upon a time you even gave this kind of stuff a second glance), there becomes all kinds of room – in our days, our heads, in our lives.

And the best way to feel is to feel spacious all around.

STEP FIVE >>> be fluid and flexible. Make it a practice to explore and situate your weekly flow on Sunday’s (this way you won’t feel anxious come Monday AM). You’ll have a list of your big-ticket items (maybe a big paper that’s due, a test, or work project to be presented), you’ll have your EAT SLEEP MOVE categories designated and you’ll have your bubbles distributed throughout as much as possible.

Try to keep some time blocks completely OPEN FOR NOTHING. Just open space. That could be for an hour in the morning before you really get going with your day. That could mean taking a half-hour after lunch just to read the paper and chill before you get back to work or go to class. That could also mean reserving that hour before bed for some light reading or basic downtime with no electronic devices in sight. Having time and space in your schedule or daily flow that is totally open and without any agenda = true magic. Magic for the mind, body and soul (however cheesy that might sound).

Move through your days and think about how you are feeling at different points throughout. Notice when you are feeling energetic, when you are feeling super productive and “in the zone,” notice when you are feeling relaxed and happy, notice when you might be feeling tense and anxious or irritable even. It’s all part of the mix. Through our intentions and using this kind of “mindful approach” to creating our days, however, we can begin to smooth out some of those more irritable and challenging times and replace them with times of greater ease, contentment and general “rocking it out of the park” kind of feelings.

Each week we come back and center again around what’s most important. We set our intentions and then we simply go with it.

Click HERE to explore the EAT SLEEP MOVE Challenge in the New Year.