How to Optimise Your Business According to Your Menstrual Cycle
An interesting blog post this week from Esme Marsh which gave me lots of food for thought! Enjoy…
By definition of being a female business owner, there are many obstacles that make our working lives trickier, a-hem #patriarchy — but I believe one of the biggest workplace challenges for women, is in fact our menstrual cycles.
Whether you work for yourself or are employed elsewhere, I’m sure you can vouch that there is a certain time of month you're feeling more tired, unmotivated and more unproductive than usual. No points for guessing the time of month I’m talking about is when we’re on our periods.
And despite the fact that these moods and symptoms are a natural, unavoidable monthly occurrence, it doesn’t stop them from being an inconvenience as busy business owners who need to get sh** done! It’s already hard enough to accept that operating in an aforementioned patriarchal society means we often have to work twice as hard as our male counterparts, but it’s outrightly unfair that the current systems in place does not accommodate for cyclic women (with which we all are - even if, for nuanced reasons you do not currently menstruate!)
Although schools, the workplace and society in general are yet to evolve to include menstrual awareness in their curriculum —despite it being something that affects half of the population (although more workplaces now are introducing and trialing menstrual leave), I believe that as business owners, freelancers and self-motivated individuals, we can implement a few simple practices and scheduling tactics that will optimise our businesses ALL month long.
Just as nature follows a Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, so do our bodies. But unlike nature, which experiences the four seasons in a yearly cycle — we experience them in a monthly cycle. This is the menstrual cycle. Commonly, Day 1 of your cycle is the beginning of your Winter, then as you move into the post-menstruation / pre-ovulatory phase you experience your Spring, and so forth (see diagram below to see the different cyclic phases split into their seasons).
You may be thinking — “what an earth does any of this have to do with optimising my business, it all sounds a bit woo woo to me,” but bare with me witches. Once you have identified where you are in your menstrual cycle, you can begin making decisions that benefit your business and productivity.
The first step is to start tracking your menstrual cycle. I recommend downloading an app such as Cluewhere you can easily input your data each day, but you can also go old school and write down your symptoms in a notebook if you prefer that method.
Day 1 of your menstrual cycle is the first full day of your period and is when you need to begin tracking. The last day of your cycle is the day before your next bleed - the next bleed being Day 1 again (it’s a cycle, see!) Typically a cycle lasts 28 days but everybody follows different patterns —especially if you’re battling certain health conditions or if you take hormonal birth control. But the process is the same for everyone.
Once you have begun tracking, you can start to understand which season you are in. This is important because just like you feel like hibernating in nature’s Winter, you will most likely feel like doing the same in your body’s Winter. With the different seasons come a whole host of varying levels of energy, creativity, extroversion and needs. In Spring, you start to pick up the momentum slightly, in summer you’re feeling your most extroverted and in Autumn your energy begins to wane once again.
Having this knowledge and awareness can mean that when we’re planning our months ahead, e.g. when to take meetings and work with clients etc, we can begin scheduling them for when when we are most physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually acclimatised to excel in these tasks.
For example, if you lead workshops or know you have lots of meetings coming up, I’d suggest planning these events between Days 14-21 of your menstrual cycle; when you are in your Summer and are most wired to being social and working with others. On the other hand, if you were to lead the same workshop but this time in the Winter phase of your menstrual cycle, you may find that you are less able or inclined to work to the same results you did in your Summer phase.
Another example of working with your cycle to yield the results of better business is by choosing to write and schedule your month’s social media posts when you are near ovulation. This is because this tends to be a time of heightened creativity and you’ll want to get all those great posts scheduled before Autumn and Winter; when you’re more likely to want to throw your phone away altogether!
It takes time to get into a rhythm and to understand how the different seasons affect and work for you, but once you’ve started noticing some patterns, you’ll be able to start using your feminine power to your advantage rather than resent it for its inconveniences. Hey, you might even find you begin to look forward to your period if you’ve planned to give yourself and your business more space to breathe around this time.
Of course living in a world that has not yet adequately adapted to allow women to explore their menstrual cycles and work WITH them rather than against them, it’s not always possible to plan everything around our menstrual cycle needs. But I do think as business owners, the ball is slightly more in our courts to begin exercising this methodology to not only offload the taboo of periods, but to begin running a business that works for YOU. Because that’s what we’re in this for right babes?!
N.B. If you do not currently menstruate (e.g. you are menopausal / postmenopausal, have health conditions or do not have a womb) you can still track your cycle and use this described method to optimise your business — it might just be tricker to begin with. Just follow all the other physical and mental symptoms that occur throughout the month aside from the bleed to discover your cycle and go from there!
For more information on menstrual awareness and how to work with your cycles, I recommend checking out the following experts: