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

Fun Stuff and Musings

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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The Hidden Power of Smiling by Ron Gutman

Summer Super SmileOver the course of the weekend, the always insightful Isabelle Ayel shared across, over in Google Plus, an amazingly inspiring thread by Ron Jeffries about one of those TED Talks that can surely change the way we all see things in life. TED Talks are usually just like that. A good bunch of them can surely aim at transforming the way we see and experience things in our lives and manage to make it through. The one that both Isabelle and Ron shared across a couple of days back surely is one of those and on one of my favourite topics, too!: The Hidden Power of Smiling by Ron Gutman.

Indeed! If you can spare a little bit over 7 minutes, you are off to an amazing trip by Ron Gutman where he talks about some of the recent research that’s been done around the topic of smiling and the kinds of benefits it can have in all of us, going from increasing our life timespan the more we keep smiling, to improving our overall well-being and that one of those around us. Never before were we probably going to consider how such a simple gesture as smiling, both at people and things, something we can all *do* at any given point in time, would have such a comforting set of rewards.

The Hidden Power of Smiling” surely deserves this week’s spot for “Inspiring Video of the Week“, not only for the many insights shared across about how beneficial smiling can well be for all of us, but, mostly, because this is certainly one of those TED Talks to save for later, specially for those moments where we may need it the most! Ron does a beautiful job at reminding us all how, way before we are all born, we were already smiling big time, so why put a stop to it, as we grow older? Where have we gone wrong? Most importantly, what can we do to bring it back into our daily lives? I am not sure what you would all think, but after watching it, there is only one single thing that I just can’t get out of my head at the moment: to keep smiling! That’s just how powerful this TED Talk is, and, like I said, if you have got 7 minutes to spare and would want to cheer yourself up or just simply be reminded about why you need to keep on smiling, no matter what, and the more, the better, then this would be the Talk to check out:

I can strongly recommend it to everyone out there who would want to find out plenty more about some of the traits and amazing qualities that have certainly differentiated us from all other species. It’s just one of those rather touching and inspiring Talks difficult to forget. Oh, and if you would want to find out plenty more what passion and creativity are all about and how technology can impact something so relatively traditional like dancing, allow me to suggest as well you watch this other TED Talk (A bit over 17 minutes long) on “The LXD: In the Internet Age, Dance Evolves…“, which I am sure is going to put a couple of lovely smiles on your face, as well experiencing plenty of WOW moments!

Not too bad for inspiring videos of the week, don’t you think? Well, keep on smiling, you know, you will live longer!, and in the meanwhile get on with some of those moves, too! They look like some pretty good fun, too! Although for me, I think I’ll just stick around with the smiling part … 😀

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It’s Time to Try Social Technologies by Kevin Jones

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves in the WinterAt the beginning of the series of blog posts on Google Plus that I started earlier on this week I mentioned how I would be putting together about four different articles about my first impressions on playing around quite a bit with G+, something that those folks who have been following this blog for a long while now would know it’s not something that I do rather often, so you can imagine how it is starting to grow on me more and more by the day. You could say I am having a blast with it, to the point where most of my other external social networking activities have gone a bit dormant in the last few days! I do realise though how I still need to post that fourth article and all, but I thought I would go ahead talk about something else today: the value I am getting from Google Plus already on my first week of usage. Because I guess that’s what we all care about  at this point in time, right? What (business) value do we want to get from G+? We all remember that social for the sake of social is not going to take us anywhere. So how am I benefiting from making use of it at the moment? Well, let me summarise it with a single sentence: facilitated serendipity on steroids!

Yes, that’s right! Earlier on today I had the great pleasure of experimenting some more and play with some of the various different features from G+. If a couple of days ago I mentioned how important and critical the combination of both real-time and offline interactions would be like (See “Google Plus – Bridging Together Too Irreconcilable Worlds“) today I had the mind-blowing experience of trying out Hangouts with my boss, another one with a fellow IBMer, and another one with Paul Jones, who is going through a truly fascinating experiment I am hoping to talk about very soon, as it relates, quite a bit, with my own mantra of living “A World Without Email“. But more on that later on …

Anyway, like I was saying, the experience of the Hangouts was just utterly surprising and very re-energising. Fantastic, to say the least!! Having an opportunity to do a simple video conference with the highest quality on both video and audio fronts is just priceless, even more when that videoconference can host up to 10 people concurrently without a glitch! Well, I know now that with that blog post I mentioned above I fell short, very short, on what I think is going to be the killer feature from Google Plus at this point. And I keep hearing lots of great things as well about Huddle, the one other feature I still need to play with!

So this whole Hangouts experience surely has got a very clearly defined business value, at least, for me: connect, reach out, share your knowledge and collaborate with those folks who you share a common affinity with! Your social networks. But it gets better, because earlier on today, while most of us are still trying to get the hang out of Google Plus, so plenty of the conversations are still around how do we do what in G+ without going crazy, we are starting to see plenty of golden gems come afloat amongst those conversations that are starting to make it worth while hanging around for a little while longer.

And I thought I would go ahead and share with you folks one of them I bumped into myself earlier on today, that I think you would also enjoy it yourselves. It’s a short video clip, very witty, sharp, straight to the point, hilariously funny, very engaging and fun to watch, put together by my good friend Kevin Jones, which makes for some perfect viewing before the weekend kicks off:

The video clip lasts for a little bit less than three minutes and in a very refreshing and truly entertaining manner Kevin reminds us all why it’s worth while paying attention to Social Technologies, experiment with them, find out our sweet spot and use cases and figure out whether they would be providing us with an additional value add that we can incorporate into our overall productivity, effectiveness and business performance, or not, and his point on the importance to overcome fear and embrace change is just brilliant!

In a way, the whole spirit permeating through the video clip is just proving the point of why a whole bunch of us are exploring Google Plus at the moment, to see whether it’d be another social networking tool we would be adding into the mix, or whether it would replace a few others, or, just simply, whether it would stick around. Keeping that open mentality towards it certainly is one of the strongest points from this video and one of the reasons why, for yours truly, Google Plus is here to stay. At least, for me. Even thoughit will redefine the whole strategy of how I make use of social tools out there on the Social Web. Next I will be sharing that final blog post on the concept of Circles and how I am using them, but first I would encourage you all to have a look into Kevin’s video clip and if you still want to have a play with Google Plus, leave a comment over here, including in the comment form your email address, and I will share along an invite. I have been sending a bunch of them already today… A few more wouldn’t hurt, I am sure! Come and join us! The waters are lovely!

Let’s keep plussing and trying out these social technologies!

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Amo La Vida

Gran Canaria - Caldera De Los Marteles in the WinterAfter enjoying another gorgeous summer weekend back at home, and while I am starting to prepare things for the next upcoming business trip to Boston, MA, to attend & present at Enterprise 2.0 conference event (#e2conf), as well as sharing a series of posts with highlights from the Social Business Forum event in Milan from last week, I thought I would get things started with another week @ work with that inspiring video entry I have been sharing over the last few weeks. This time around, probably, making it even more special than ever. And you will see what I mean in just a few minutes… Have you watched Amo La Vida? No? Well, if you haven’t, please *do* so today. I can guarantee you it will change your life for good!

Yes, indeed, it’s that inspiring! Once again, my good friend David Gurteen keeps finding golden nuggets that are sure a treat for everyone’s lives. This time around he shared across a short video clip (A bit over 10 minutes long…), over at KarmTube, from filmmaker Nic Askew, which is a black-and-white interview with Julio Olalla. And where Julio comes to talk about a good bunch of things with such natural charm, delight and spontaneity that’s probably going to leave a mark in all of us difficult to erase, nor forget.

It’s one of those video clips that will surely get you to shed a tear or two of pure joy filled with humanity, of what it is being a human being and behaving like one. Julio gets to talk about gratitude and why we need to get it back into our day lives by sharing one of those moving stories that will make you think for a long while. He gets to talk as well about wisdom and how much different it is from knowledge itself, about the lost art of conversation, about what real friendships are all about.

His sense of touching & embracing life is remarkably inspirational and one that permeates wisdom throughout, as well as being far too difficult to describe it in a single sentence or two over here without having my fingers tremble at that failed attempt. I know for certain I wouldn’t do any justice to it, so I better leave it down to you folks to go and listen to it further with just one thought: Amo La Vida:

Video from KarmaTube

(I told you… mind-blowing altogether, one of the most touching video interviews ever, that I can remember, to say the least, and what a wonderfully superb way of starting a new week, don’t you think?)

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Enjoying a Disconnected Life in an Interconnected World

Gran Canaria - Caldera De Los Marteles in the WinterAs much as we all love being interconnected with our family and friends, our peers, our customers and business partners, etc. etc. through the Social Web, there are plenty of times when you know you probably should disconnect a bit to look around and treasure those precious little moments that one gets to enjoy in life, specially when living through those tiny things that really matter. Those that bring you a smile or two to your face in content and appreciation for what you have around you. Well, I am having, at this very time, some of those very same moments, as, once again, I hit the road and go for my next business trip to Barcelona, Spain, but taking some time off, this time around, to disconnect from things, connect in the physical world with those around me, re-charge my batteries a bit and get back for more! The end-result? Priceless!

That’s the main premise behind this week’s inspiring video that I bumped into a few hours back and which I thought would be the perfect kick-off for another week at work, where I’ll be travelling for most of the week, but that I’m hoping to keep up with some more blogging as the week develops. The thing I am hoping though, is that, as the video clip tells in a good number of rather compelling stories that I, and you, too!, find some time to disconnect from everything and find that space where you can not only treasure the moment you are experiencing, but also enjoy being the company of those around you who matter, because, at the end of the day, isn’t that what life is all about?

Here is that mind-blowing short video clip that will certainly do a much better job than myself describing what I meant with the original blog post title “Enjoying a disconnected life in an interconnected world” and which I think would make a perfect start for another exciting week:

Then, once our batteries are fully charged and we are ready for more, we just need to move into the next step,  the next challenge, which is when technology would help influence changes in real life in anything we can / do / want… Getting there? Most probably. Only time will tell … the truth is that it’s already started and there is no way back! Now more than ever! #nolesvotes

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Gotta Share! – The Ultimate Conference Event Experience

Gran Canaria - Risco Blanco & Santa Lucia in the WinterYesterday, my good friend Ian Thorpe put together one of the most interesting and relevant blog posts I can remember around the topic of conference events and how to get the most out of them in today’s, now more than ever, social world, by pointing out a good number of suggestions and enhancements, mostly around the area of networking, good and relevant content less concentrated in presentations (The well known Death by PowerPoint), and more into conversations and discussions, as well as having great speakers, amongst several others, for what I would surely consider the next challenge for live events: Conferences 2.0. Pretty much along the lines of the insightful blog entries that another good friend, Rob Swanwick, put together a couple of years back and which still seem to be pretty relevant. Worth while a read, specially, for those conference organisers that are starting to ramp up activities for the next upcoming conference season, which, in my case, it always seems to start in June (Don’t know why…).

Once again, like I have been doing for the last few years, I keep wondering whether events organisers would take into account some of these various different suggestions, helping us all progress further into what (social) conferences should be like. What do you reckon? Will it happen in 2011 this time around?

I guess time will tell… but for now, and while I gather some additional further thoughts on improving face to face conference events with some of the key learnings I have acquired based on my own experience over the course of years, I thought I would share with you folks a very funny, hilarious and rather entertaining video clip that I am sure I am going to be reusing quite a bit over the next few months, mainly, every time that I plan to attend a live conference event and I may get told that I cannot live-blog, live-tweet, take pictures, microblog / microshare, bookmark presentations, share information across, etc. etc. It’s just not going to happen. I am sorry.

It’s just pretty much part of me, and who I am, when I go and attend those events, to go ahead and share a bunch of insights of things that are taking place live while we are all physically participating in that event, and as most of you folks already know, if the conference wi-fi connection holds strong it’s also a great pleasure, and a privilege, to be sharing with the rest of the world some of those live experiences acquired and assimilated during the course of the event, as a powerful method to help amplify what gets shared across and what conversations have gotten started already, just as much as try to keep the conversation going, at the same time, before, during AND after the event. I guess that is the same thing that happened to these folks I mentioned above from this brilliant video that lasts for a little bit over 3 minutes and which certainly will make us all have a giggle or two, perhaps a good laugh, even, but also set the right level of expectations for the next time we all get to attend a live conference event.

What do you think? Shouldn’t ALL conference events strive to provide that seamless, unified, shareable social experience, not just for the “in situ” participants, while attending a live conference, but also for those folks who may be remote, but still rather interested in the topics discussed? I hope so. And that’s why I am hoping that, as the conference season is about to kick off, we will all start witnessing a shift on how conferences get organised and how knowledge workers get to participate seamless both online and offline. Quite a challenge, I know! For sure we would never be capable of substituting the powerful interconnectedness of face to face events, it’s what still makes pretty much worth while attending them in the first place! Yes, indeed, the networking part, as I have mentioned already over here a couple of times, but can you imagine the potential outcome of such perfect blend of both virtual and physical worlds while participating in a conference event?

The opportunity to make it work is just mind-blowing. We just need to seize it and somehow I keep wondering which conference around Social Business, Social Computing and Enterprise 2.0, amongst several other concepts related to social, will be capable to lead by example and share with each and everyone of us some of the potential to turn upside down the way we participate and engage in conference events today. Yes, I know, and I do fully realise that no conference out there is going to be 100% perfect in meeting everyone’s needs, but if you were to single out a component from a recent event that you attended that you could have done with what would have that one been like? And the opposite, what has been the activity you have enjoyed the most from any of the recent conference events that you have attended face to face? Care to share it in the comments, please?

Let’s do it! Let’s all try to build the ultimate conference event experience for the world around Social Business, Enterprise 2.0 and Social Computing. It’s very much needed, in my opinion, as both Ian and Rob already mentioned in the blog posts I referenced above, amongst several others. So, what else, apart from a rather robust, scalable and pervasive wi-fi connection throughout the venue would you like to have available and what would you drop out altogether for good? Any initial thoughts to get the ball rolling?

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