Regardless of the hours you work in and on your business, it’s important to remember that you are not your computer, your machinery or your technology. We are not designed to be ON all the time. Despite being natural super powerhouses of healing and regeneration, our bodies need essential down time to do keep working efficiently. We all know that sleep is vital, that exercise benefits extend beyond the physical and that eating a healthy diet helps us to think more clearly. But what many of us forget is that our minds – based on our body clock – need some time offline too, to do their best work.
Look at it in terms of ROI. If you can learn to work more harmoniously aligned to your own personal rhythm or body clock, you will find that a little down time returns a far greater production level than just forcing yourself to push through.
Running a business often means you’re required to manage many projects at one time and spread yourself across a wide variety of disciplines. That requires a lot of mental gymnastics, often moving from one project to the next without pausing for breath. This pattern can lead to feelings of tiredness, overwhelm and a range of physical and health related symptoms.
In the productive hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm, our bodies are performing miracles we take for granted:
7-9am is stomach time – The optimum time to eat a healthy breakfast and prepare for your day
9-11am is when your spleen is active – This is associated with mental processes, metabolism and converting nutrients into energy. After a healthy breakfast your mind is nourished and ready to focus.
11am-1pm is heart time – This is good collaboration and conversation time and the best time to take time out for lunch. If you’re an extravert, socialising will restore your energy while you lunch. If you’re an introvert, your energy levels will refill best with time out in solitude.
1-3pm your small intestine is at work – Having had a healthy lunch, it’s a good time to then solve issues and get organised.
3-5pm focuses on the bladder – the time when your body is doing some detoxing. So if you’ve kept well hydrated during the day, you will avoid the afternoon slump and this can be an ideal time for efficient work.
5-7pm is kidney time – Your body will be storing energy reserves. If you feel tired, this is when you step away from work and put yourself first to restore energy levels.
It is important to give your body and your mind some break times during the day. Give your adrenals a chance to settle and watch your digestion, cognition and ability to relate to others improve. The quality of your sleep and best of all, your mood will also be positively affected. When you have those things working in harmony, work feels lighter and in fact, you are more productive.
Designing balance in your day is key to supporting healthy hormonal function and ultimately mental and cognitive processes. Creativity and problem solving are unique human attributes, but they’re not plug in and run programs. They are housed within a living, organic body that requires balance in order to thrive. Energy regenerates, but only if you let it.
So work WITH your body. Take a proper lunch break. Get outside when you can, get sunlight on your skin and in your eyes. Breathe fresh air and give your mind and body a breather. Build healthy habits into your work – walk and talk with your team to find solutions. Creating healthy patterns and breathing spaces helps you do better work, in less time.
You have one body and unlike your mobile phone, you don’t get an updated version every year. Treat it well and it will be well.
Neroli Jones, CEO, Paradigm Switch