by Varinia Rodriguez
When living a busy lifestyle, the desire to get most out of the day becomes the driving principle. “Carpe diem” may turn into your day seizing you. In some businesses, sleep deprivation can be seen as a badge of honor as to who got to accomplish more. And while sprinting through the day seems like a great way to get things done fast, the wear and tear on the mind, body, and soul accumulates. The anxiety creeps up and one can still feel the looming sense that “time famine,” the feeling of not enough hours in the day, is snapping at your heels.
In the piece, “The Truth on Sleep and Productivity” Kirstin recommends shifting your routine to include a nighttime ritual, meditation and better sleep, in order to curb anxiety and a busy mind. In other words, you have to redefine time. You have to reset your body clock.
What is a body clock?
Body clock is another way of referring to “circadian rhythm”. Think of it as the next big hashtag for mindfulness. It refers to the body’s natural 24-hour internal clock that your brain, and all the cells in your body, use to function. It controls the peaks and valleys of alertness and sleepiness, times when digestion is more or less efficient, and even when your muscles are primed for exercise versus getting ready for rest.
How do I start?
A great place to start is to be proactive and mindful about what your main goals are for the day. Plan your days ahead of time. I say this as a former, “I’ll just wing it” advocate, but intentionality is the key. If you know that you need to focus on a task from 1pm- 4pm, carve that into your schedule in order to get that task done. If you know you need to start sleeping 7 hours instead of 5 hours, plan out how to get to sleep on time. If you have an hour or even 20 minutes between tasks, figure out how to best use that time.
We are not saying you can’t aimlessly scroll through social media, just limit it and move on to the next planned task instead of having it seize you for the next two hours (try airplane mode!). Center critical tasks in the morning when you are generally most alert as creativity peaks in the afternoons. And keep in mind that digestion slows in the evenings, so late night snacks pack on the pounds.
Need a tool??
If the normal paper and pen calendar won’t do, or you need something specially designed to optimize your body clock, try the Owaves — My Body Clock app. Its novel, 24 hour sunrise clock interface lets you plan healthy activities like exercise, sleep and meals alongside the daily grind of building and growing your business. Set an alert for your sleep time, for example, with a motivational quote, and Owaves will send you a timed notification to prime you for your new nighttime ritual. Techradar recently described Owaves as an app for “Getting Things Done for the mindfulness generation.”
Carpe Diem with Rhythm! ?
Be mindful of how you are spending your time. The key is living in synchrony with your body’s rhythms, instead of trying to fight against them. For example, exercising outdoors in the morning before breakfast synchronizes your clock with sunrise and boosts your energy and alertness levels. It’s why so many athletes and entrepreneurs plan exercise as the first part of their day. Schedule your most difficult work tasks around 10:00am, to coincide with your peak productivity window. Allow for breaks, as this will make you feel less stressed throughout the day — the Spanish have it right with an afternoon siesta.
When it comes to creativity, wait until the evening before dinner, as you are most creative when you are tired. Wind down one to two hours after sunset by shutting off all your devices, because the blue light from our screens directly blocks melatonin, our sleeping hormone, from being released. As O’Donovan recommends in her article, consider your mattress, sleepwear, as well as the darkness and temperature of your room for optimal conditions. The optimal temperature for sleep is approximately 65-68℉ or 18.3-18.5℃, because your core body temperature needs to drop a little bit to initiate good sleep.
Sync with the Pros:
Check out the Owaves blog and get inspired by how elite athletes, entrepreneurs, business executives and celebrities seize the day with their body clock.