In this week’s episode, we talk about the impact the winter season can have on our productivity and how we can make the most of this crucial season of introspection and rest.
Linearity versus cyclicality
Fundamentally, we are cyclical beings. Our energy levels vary throughout the day, the weeks and months (if you menstruate), and the seasons. These variations are always cyclical in the sense that they go from high to low, to high again, and then low, and so on and so forth.
So contrarily to what our society expects of us, we don’t have linear energy. We can’t be active 24/7. We can’t produce the same amount of work in the same way 100% of the time, like robots. Each period of action and productivity must be compensated by a period of rest and reflection.
I believe that if we listened more to our body, its needs, its cycles and rhythms, we’d be much more efficient and in a more sustainable way, which is crucial if we want to be able to be productive in the long run, and not only in the short term.
So as entrepreneurs (but it applies to everybody, really), it’s important to respect the rhythm of the seasons within your business because it’ll help you do so in a lighter, easier, more fluid, and serene way. In a way that honours and respects our body, which helps us keep high and positive energy levels all throughout the year!
The impacts of winter on our energy and productivity
Key words: feminine energy, yin, water, rest, introspection
In nature, winter is a season of rest. Many animals hibernate, plants go dormant.
And for thousands of years, humans also rested during winter.
Why is that? Because we are also affected by the changes during this season. During the winter, our energy tends to be lower. We need to sleep more. Our immune system is also weaker during this season. Many people also suffer from mood slumps.
A study even suggests our brain might adapt its efficiency level based on the season. And what happens to our efficiency level during the winter? Our “brain is less efficient” which makes it “more difficult to do the task and in a way more costly because requiring more other resources to maintain performance.”
How to make the most of the winter season?
Despite the fact that winter is not a season meant for “productivity” as our society intends it (aka getting things done), it doesn’t mean winter is a useless season in which you can’t accomplish anything.
On the contrary, winter is a crucial season to restore your energy, reflect on the past cycle (i.e. the past year), and plan for the new cycle that will begin with the Spring!
So here are a few ideas to help you spend a restful yet useful winter season:
We tend to need more sleep during the winter, so go to bed earlier than you usually do or wake up later than usual.
If you can, reduce your working days and take more time to do things that energize you (ex. working out, reading, meditating, spending time with your family and friends, etc.).
If you can’t reduce your working days, take some time during your workday to rest: go for a walk during your lunch break (in the sun, if possible, so you can get some Vitamin D), take 5-10 minutes to do breathwork or take a power nap.
In general, take more breaks during the day.
Reflect & Plan
Take the time to reflect on the past year/cycle and your life in general. You can check out the article and/or podcast episode “How to Do a Year Review to Set Yourself Up for Success” to get a list of questions to reflect on the past year.
Assess your current life and whether you are headed in the direction you want. Is it aligned with who you are now and who you’d like to become? What contribution would you like to make to the world? You can ask the same questions for your business.
Plan for the coming cycle. Review your vision, set your goals, and create a detailed action plan to help you achieve them. Take the time to list down all the tasks and actions you’ll need to take and plan them.
Review your current organization system: is it aligned with your needs and wants? Does it allow you to have the life you want?
Review the core elements of your business: your mission, your positioning, your ideal client, your offers, your prices, your visual identity, your content strategy, your sales strategy, etc. Are they all coherent? Are they aligned with who you are and how you want to develop your business?
Let go of anything that doesn’t feel good anymore!
And don’t forget that this doesn’t mean you can’t be productive and get things done during the winter! It just means you shouldn't expect to be as productive as you can be during the rest of the year and that some tasks might require more time and energy to get done compared to other seasons.
Of course, it also varies from one person to another. For example, winter is a very hard season for me. I need to be extra careful about my energy. Otherwise, I tend to burn myself out more easily during this season. But some people live the winter season very well without feeling this energy slump as much.
So my advice is to observe yourself and get to know yourself better to make the most of each season! And since the four seasons are very similar to the four phases of the menstrual cycle, I’ve prepared a workbook to help you track your energy, emotions, physical perceptions, etc. throughout your cycles and also the seasons. In my opinion, getting to know yourself better is the most important thing you can do to be more productive but also more in tune with your needs and desires!
Here you go, I hope these tips will help you spend a great winter season!
I wish you a zenly organized week,