Women have had to adjust to the patriarchy’s definition of success, and (like with most things) we’ve done it well. So well, that any alternative to hyper-productivity, competitiveness, and linear thinking seems so far fetched that it gives most women I work with anxiety at the mere thought of operating in any other way. We’ve internalized that if we’re not pushing on all levels, what is our worth?
Historically, we have lacked the resources and necessary representation to inform and guide us into what feminine success looks like. Now we have a ton of data that shows us that we can be more productive if we simply learn to lean into our own femininity when we approach our work and relationships.
Most women experience a 28-to-32-day cycle, and in that cycle, there are four distinct phases. In these phases, the brain has specific neurochemical patterns. These patterns correspond to different energy levels and can be leveraged to bring more success to our work and personal life.
Weeks 1-2: Strategic and High-Energy The first two weeks of your cycle is the menstruation and follicular phase. During this phase, estrogen levels rise, highlighting the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Your prefrontal cortex is responsible for:
Planning for the future
Making major decisions
Better impulse control
Estrogen and testosterone combined sharpen your concentration and amplify your confidence. Testosterone heightens your ability to take risks. During these two weeks, you want to focus on planning for your month ahead, finishing projects in advance, planning strategic talks with your manager and team, working collaboratively on projects and holding brainstorming sessions. You’ll have the energy to do it all during this two-week span. This is the time of the month where you want to go go go!
Week 3: Highly Verbal and Analytical
Week three is the ovulation phase. During this time, estrogen levels continue to rise in left-hemisphere of the brain (verbal fluency/analytical brain) and a decline in right-hemisphere activity (visual-spatial ability/creative brain).
During this week focus on more analytical and problem-solving activities. Do things like planning for an interview or reviewing resumes. Since your verbal fluency will be high, this is the time to do all your networking or execute a pitch idea.
Week 4: Rest and Self-Care
Week four is the luteal phase (aka PMS week). During this time, you will notice your energy turning inward. Progesteron takes center stage, decreasing your estrogen and testosterone. If you’ve ever noticed high energy in one week and lower energy in the next, it’s absolutely normal. In addition, many women begin to feel moody, irritable and can’t sleep (this is common, but not normal).
This is where that patriarchal messaging starts to tap into our psyche and cause us to push past our means. Many of us judge ourselves harshly during the PMS week for not producing, executing and overachieving, and then we label ourselves unproductive.
During this period, you want to spend a lot less time socializing, and instead take more time to rest. This is where self-care is paramount. For work projects, focus on more detailed data-driven work, run reports, reflect on how the month went. Inward projects that involve minimal extroverted energy should be your priority during this week. This will set you up for success when it’s time to begin the follicular phase.
Track your cycle, harness your strengths
Your cycle is a guide to help you plan, create and execute. Now that you have a brief glimpse into the four phases of your cycle, you can begin to plan your productivity and rest (this is necessary) in advance. If you aren’t already doing so, you should begin by actually tracking your cycle. Take a look at your month ahead and plan to execute your projects accordingly.
It’s an exciting time to be a woman! Take a bold step and break the conditioning of patriarchy! And because we can all use a little guidance sometimes, visit my site and schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more.
We’re changing the narrative around money but change can’t happen with a one-sided conversation. That’s why we’re excited to bring different voices and experts to share their wisdom. Send us an email and let us know what you think. And remember the nav.it money app offers you free tools for checking in and managing your money moves.