On beat/off beat: The rhythm of effective creation

There’s a cadence to an engaged person’s routine day. 

You can almost set it to iambic pentameter. There’s a sequence of on and off beats. 

Maybe awakening to prayer or meditation or contemplation, maybe exercise, a meal, a drive, a blast of epic work, a meal break, another deep dive into one’s work, then total cessation of work and an opening into relationships that matter.

Each person’s ideal rhythm will differ, but the on beat/off beat is there.

In bioneurofeedback, a common issue for those who have problems sleeping is this: 

Because they enter the day without enough sleep, their brain waves have not peaked enough during their waking hours. While going about their day their brain waves are slipping into alpha and theta waves — wave patterns associated with sleep. The brain is trying to rectify the lack of sleep by indulging in a semblance of it, even if only for microbursts of time.

Hence the brain patterning becomes confused, jumbled. A consequence is that beta waves — high alert brain wave patterns — spike their way into the sleep hours. 

The antidote is to be very awake
. Being very awake leads to its counterbalancing rhythm at the end of the day — being very asleep.

It’s the same with creatively engaged individuals. By being very on when they are on, their off times productively counterbalance that intensity. 

The off times renew. Reinvigorated, creators can thrust themselves back into their work with vigor. 

Effective people become very good at on/off. 

Fortunately we can emulate them. We too can find our way into on/off.

We can be on and then break away the moment we find ourselves flagging. On/off doesn’t have to mean on for ten hours then off for four. It can mean on for half an hour, if that’s all you can muster. Then off for five or ten minutes. Then on again. 

On/off is a handy way of gauging what you should be doing any given moment.
If you find yourself on — do it, be it, create it, engage it, work it.

If you find yourself off, then be off. Walk away. A minute, an hour, the rest of the day. Be off. Do one of the many off activities that nourish you. Then come back and be on. 

This is part of the What creators do series, where I look to people who are creating something meaningful in the world for inspiration and tips  and pass them along to you.

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