A long time ago we were more in sync with nature. We relied on our internal clock and knew exactly what the best time was to take action or to rest. These days we are always working, maximizing the amount of hours we have in a day. We neglect our own internal clock. Be smart and know when to rest and when to peak.
My dog sleeps a lot during the day. And when we go out he becomes really active, running and playing with the other dogs. He spills all his energy and then he rests again. Is he lazy? No! He is just being a dog, living in sync with his internal clock. That means he knows exactly when to rest and when to be active.
In sync with nature
A long time ago we were more in sync with nature. We relied on our internal clock and knew exactly what the best time was to take action or to rest. It helped us to preserve our energy and spend it wisely. Energy we saved for important things like protecting ourselves against predators, hunting or gathering food for our family. All a matter of survival.
Surviving became easier and we invented electric light. We forgot about our internal clock and started to rely on the new clocks we invented. The ones that we hang on our walls. We even invented those annoying alarm clocks that disturb our precious sleep and remind us to get up and go to work!
Work and our internal clock
Yes, work. The industrial revolution and Taylorism have made us into ‘human resources’. People became machines that are used to to produce things or provide services. Work is great and can be really fulfilling. But we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are not machines.
These days we have a standard workweek that spans five days, Monday to Friday. On those days we usually work from nine to five. Hours that are based on our new clocks, hanging on our walls. That means we neglect our own internal clock. Our biological clock that has always helped us to survive.
We are always peaking, maximizing the amount of hours we have in a day. Getting things done. Making progress. We sleep for a few hours and never rest when we are tired during the day. The clock on the wall keeps telling us there is no time for that. But we are not machines. We are all unique, finely tuned organisms filled with all sorts of chemicals. Chemicals that are balanced and fluctuate during the day.
Peaks and dips
Do you love to get up early and get stuff done? Or do you prefer staying up late, getting things done in the evening? Most people know if they are an evening or a morning person. Our biorhythm is determined by cortisol. At 3 AM our bodies start producing it to prepare us for the day to come. Our biological clock tells us that mornings are the best time to make important decisions or to deliver a performance. The peak in the morning – usually between 10 and 12 – is perfect for things that require concentration and focus.
In the afternoon we usually experience a dip and we peak again in the late afternoon, between 3 and 6. The peak in the late afternoon is ideal for doing routine work. Or for exercising. In the evening many of us lose the energy to do things again.
Don’t be ashamed to be lazy and rest during the day. Remind yourself to sleep when you are tired and to be active when you need to be. And when you are working: know when your performance peak is and adjust your working day accordingly.