E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock – Redefining How You Work for Best Performance

Gran Canaria - Risco Blanco & Santa Lucia in the WinterOne of the many various different things I really enjoy about participating in the Social Web out there on a regular basis, is the fact you never really know where a conversation will be heading once it’s gotten started, specially, if that dialogue beings with a good bunch of the folks who are part of your social network(s) and who share a common passion for a specific topic, whether business related or not. In the last couple of days, once again, I have been exposed to such kind of conversations and, as I am reflecting today about them in this blog post, I can only be but rather grateful about them, because they have managed not only to inspire me to do better, but they have managed to completely change the way I work and interact with others. Welcome to The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock!

It all started with a couple of Google Plus conversations where I was sharing a personal story of how about two months ago I decided to step back, stop the world for a minute, and reflect on how I needed to make some changes to some of the habits I have gotten so used to over the course of the years and start becoming a bit healthier again. I was going in the direction of a rather perilous road and thought it would be a good time to revert it. So I was sharing some first hand experiences on what that change has meant over the course of those few weeks, as well as share some bits of what that journey has been like all along so far. I couldn’t help, but be rather wowed by the tremendous amount of responses I got from the first thread. Lots of positive reinforcement, as well as a good number of really helpful and rather handy hints and tips on how to make both exercise and a healthier diet work for yours truly.

It may be a bit too early to judge what the results would be like, but so far it’s been very encouraging! Thus I decided to take things into the next level and start another conversation on a topic I wanted to query folks about and see what they would say. During those few weeks where I have started some regular physical exercise (Running in this case), as well as a healthier diet, my morning routine has incorporated a one hour workout where I run about 7 to 8 KM non stop. And the funny thing is that I have discovered how I feel a whole lot less tired if I do that exercise in the afternoon, early evening, than in the morning, where I feel pretty much drained after that workout. So I went to Google Plus and I shared this question:

Dear runners of the world … need a little bit of help … What do you prefer … running first thing in the morning … or right after work by the end of the day? Just got back from my first run in the evening, after work, and feeling less tired than in the morning!?!? Ha! Go figure! // Thanks for any insights / advice you can provide 🙂

From there onwards an entire conversation developed where there was a mix of responses of people in my social network(s) who commented and shared their tips on why they would run in the morning, at midday or in the early evening. Lots of rather interesting insights! But there was one in particular that caught my attention specially, and which has triggered the creation of this blog post. You will see how this entry doesn’t actually have anything to do with the stuff I regularly blog about over here about KM, Collaboration, Communities or Social Computing. But does it really? Read on …

In that thread, Sam Ramadan shared a rather interesting and intriguing link to a rather enlightening and educational documentary that has completely blown my mind away! Along with the link, Sam suggested that, according to some research, it’s actually much better for your body to run in the afternoon, early evening, versus the morning, where it could potentially become even dangerous at some point. Goodness! Imagine me reading that as I am doing my daily workout in the morning! Shocking!! Of course, I had to read further into that link and find out more …

Goodness! Truly fascinating stuff! Sam, right there, put us all together in the direction of one of those rather wonderfully inspirational documentaries that will surely make people think twice about their daily habits, customs, needs and wants and whatever else and start paying more attention to what our bodies really need / want after all. In The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock you will find some pointers towards a Horizon documentary that tries to explain, based on that research, how our own bodies really operate according to our bodyclock and, most importantly, how we keep ignoring it time and time again at our own peril. Yes, I tell you, some pretty amazing stuff!

The documentary itself is divided in four different parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4) and all of them make up for an entire day of what actually happens within our own bodies and our internal bodyclock. It’s rather interesting to see how we have actually been accustomed to following different habits throughout the course of a day and eventually find out how they may not be that beneficial to our bodies in the long run. And how by doing a few little adjustments here and there we may be able to turn things around for the better. Simple things like sleeping enough hours, including micro-sleeps or power naps right in the middle of the day, finding out the best times to eat and rest, or the best time in the end when we are the most apt intellectually speaking (It’s not 09:00 am in the morning, by the way!), or when we would get the best results from some medicines we may be taking, or when it would be the most adequate time of the day to exercise (It’s not early in the morning either!), etc. etc. are certainly going to help us all lead healthier lives, which, in the end, is going to help us become much more effective and efficient knowledge workers and people in general.

And that is what I thought was remarkable from the 49 minute long documentary… That by doing little things, changing a bit our habits and adapting our routines to how our bodyclocks work, we are in a position to become more productive in the long run and live healthier lives, which, I guess is what most of us, including employers!, would want for everyone out there in the end! And I suppose that remote workers, i.e. those folks working away from the traditional office environment , the ones who have got plenty of flexibility when adapting their schedules to the nature of the work that needs to be done, could surely benefit from adapting those habits as mentioned and shared across on that video clip. Even office workers could adapt as well some of their own schedules to be a better fit for their bodies! I know for sure that, after watching it, I’ll surely be making some adjustments myself into how I can get the most of my own bodyclock and how it works for the better for me. Starting with changing that routine for the daily workout from earlier on in the morning, to late in the afternoon, early evening. And I will be more than happy to share the results over the course of time and see how those adjustments are moving along and whether my bodyclock regulates not only the way I live, but also the way I work. It sounds like a fun experiment altogether, don’t you think?

Now, can you imagine having that kind of flexibility, say, 10 or 15 years ago? I guess that’s what empowering your knowledge workforce to take a bit more responsibility of their own health and work environment is all about. Not just about having the right (social) tools to get the job done smarter, not necessarily harder, but also having the right physical and mental health to be able to carry out those jobs in an effective manner … And it all starts by watching Part 1 of “The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock“, which only lasts for 12 minutes …

There you have it. Who hasn’t got 12 minutes to spare to become healthier by knowing a bit more about how our own bodies really work like and how we can start nurturing the right conditions for the perfect working (and living!) environment where we can all shine?:

After watching through each of the video clips, I wonder what it would take businesses out there to start adapting themselves more to the needs of their knowledge workers than vice versa. Somehow I suspect we are going to end up in another win-win situation where flexibility, mutual understanding of each and everyone’s responsibilities and, above all, trust are going to play a key part to help define the perfect environment for the future of the workplace in the 21st century. Something tells me that knowledge workers would be ready for that re-adjustment, but would businesses be ready for it as well? What do you think? Is your business willing to respect, understand and adapt to your bodyclock?

(I am just about to find out shorty myself …)

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