How having a cadence can help alleviate the chaos in your life
Have you ever seen a second grader play soccer?
Instead of playing their positions in concert with the game plan, they follow their natural impulse to chase the one thing they see in the chaos of the game, the ball!
As funny as it sounds, entrepreneurs and career-minded professionals often do the same thing. For them, the “ball” is something new that pops up in their life, the game plan is their business strategy or Wheel-of-Life. The flexibility of our digital, mobile lifestyles makes it so easy to put a new ball in play. We have the means to schedule impromptu meet-ups, get connected to anyone through social media and order same day delivery on almost anything. So you end up chasing lots of balls and your schedule looks like a second grader playing soccer; creating chaos.
I’m not immune to the perils of modern life. I have struggled with random acts of entrepreneurship and been caught up in a project that took over my life (click here for a funny vacation story). To overcome these challenges, I decided to develop a cadence to organize my schedule and bring order to my life.
I first heard of a cadence in a nursery rhyme called “Monday Washday” when I was a child, the concept stuck with me. Being curious, I looked up the story behind “Monday Washday” and learned that long ago, the cadence of a typical household was fairly standard. Each day had its own task, so the work got done in a logical, orderly fashion as the week progressed. It went like this:
Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest
There was a foundation to this natural rhythm:
Laundry was far and away the heaviest task requiring a great deal of strength and fortitude to hand-wring clothes and carry big baskets of wet laundry to the clothesline. Monday was the day to do it, when you were still fresh and rested from Sunday.
Tuesday's ironing followed Monday's wash.
Mending and sewing on Wednesday made sense when you'd just been through the clothes and noticed what needed a button or a patch. And so on…
I saw the simple wisdom in this approach and set out to develop my own weekly cadence to bring organization to my personal and business tasks so they flowed in a “Monday Washday” cadence. I use the first part of the week for planning, the middle of the week to interact with clients and work on projects, the last day of the work week for executing administrative tasks (i.e. Financial Fitness tasks) and the weekend for rest (or an adventure).
After doing this for a bit, I discovered that when you align your cadence with your Wheel-of-Life it gives you a framework to say “No” to things that don’t fit into your day’s cadence. “No” to opportunities that don’t harmonize with your monthly goals. “No” to ad hoc projects that distract you from your quarterly or seasonal targets. Basically, it helps you say “No” to anything that makes you feel like you’re “chasing the ball”. Creating a cadence of similar activities allows you to focus on the main thing; bringing your vision to life.
If you use these tips to establish your own cadence, remember to make it fun and realistic so you enjoy it and can use it to bring calm to the chaos.
You got this!