Want to be more productive? Pay attention to your Circadian Rhythms and Chronotypes

Want to be more productive? Pay attention to your Circadian Rhythms and Chronotypes

Would you like to know the best way to function at your maximum performance level and be able to prioritise and manage your tasks (maybe even your entire day)?

Well, your own body might have the answer.

 

What will we be covering here?

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

What is a Chronotype?

Knowing Larks and Owls

Dr Breus and the question of “when”

The four mammals

Synchronicity between your chronotype and your life

Manage your energy

Take an assessment

 

Get to know The Circadian Rhythms and the Chronotypes

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

In short, the Circadian Rhythm is a sort of internal clock, controlled mainly by the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls many things, such as your hormones, temperature, appetite, sexual behaviour and emotions.

chronotypes

Hypothalamus

 

This internal biological clock is reset every day by sunlight, and is different for each person, although its main function is exactly the same for all of us: to regulate the periods of sleepiness and wakefulness during the day.

So, this is the clock that tells you which part of the day you are more alert and which part you’ll find your energy levels lower and you feel more sleepy.

Because the circadian rhythm likes regularity, it functions at its best when you follow routines: going to bed at the same hour, eating at the same time each day etc.

This is why you might feel uneasy when you disturb this rhythm (for example, travelling abroad and dealing with jet lag).

 

What is a Chronotype?

When we talk about chronotypes, we are referring to the manifestation of the circadian rhythm, in the form of personal behaviour. Even though it is passed through the PER3 gene and therefore its origin is genetic, it might change over the years due to a number of reasons such as age, environment and hormones.

A more common classification describes people as either larks or owls, larks being the people that perform best in the mornings, and owls being the ones that are more alert in the evening.

Larks and owls can be differentiated, not just by sleeping patterns, but also by other behaviours and needs, such as appetite and exercise.

 

“According to conventional wisdom, there are three chronotypes: larks rise early, owls rise late, and hummingbirds are somewhere between the two.”

 

So, how can we adjust our daily performance for optimal business productivity in relation to these chronotypes?

 

If you’re a lark If you’re an owl
Try to concentrate on analytical tasks during the early hours  

Leave all analytical tasks for the late afternoon or evening

 

 

Leave all creative tasks for the afternoon

 

 

Try to do more creative tasks in the morning

 

 

To make it all easier, create a table with three columns where you can list your tasks and divide them into two big groups:

🖊 tasks that require focus, concentration and analysis

🖊 tasks that require creativity and expression

🖊 Then the third column is for notes.

If a task falls into both groups, you simply repeat the task in both columns and add a note about the aspect that you will tackle, specifically, during each part of the day.

Top Tip: For example, writing an article might require creativity (mainly with regard to the idea but also the writing), lots of research about the topic and of course, proofreading. Each one of those tasks would fit into a different column.

 

 

Top Tip: a task might belong to more than one column


For example, writing an article might require creativity (mainly with regard to the idea but also the writing), lots of research about the topic and of course, proofreading.

Each one of those tasks would fit into a different column.

 

 

Dr Breus and the question of “when”.

Dr Michael Breus, a psychologist and sleep specialist, described 4 different chronotypes following different structures but based on mammals. Mainly because we – humans – are not birds.

That question is “when.” “When” is the ultimate life hack. It’s the foundation of success, the key that unlocks a faster, smarter, better, and stronger you. – The Power of When

In his book, The Power of When, Dr Breus highlights the fact that our ancestors were deeply connected to their bodies, knowing when to perform certain acts like hunting, cooking or procreating.

Daylight and night time were perfectly distinguished as well.

Later on, civilization imposed its own rules and now, the modern era sees us doing all kind of activities in a perpetual “night”, with artificial lights, in front of all sorts of monitors.

The Four Chronotypes

Let’s take a brief look at the four chronotypes and their relationship with periods of alertness and drowsiness.

Dolphins: they wake up feeling fatigued and in fact, they can continue to feel tired late into the evening. They are totally alert late at night and might even suffer from insomnia. Their productivity ebbs and flows throughout the day.

Lions: they wake up early and do not feel tired until the late afternoon. They can fall asleep pretty easily and they are more productive in the morning.

Bears: they are slow risers as they do not wake up feeling fresh and awake. They tend to feel tired by the evening. Their productivity peaks before noon and they feel most alert from mid-morning to the early afternoon.

Wolves: they are evening types, so waking up in the morning can be a difficult task. They don’t feel tired until midnight or even later, so it’s in the late evening that their productivity is at its best.

 

Let’s take a look at the ideal routine for each chronotype, according to Shana Lebowtitz’s chart published on Business Insider and based on Dr Breus’ book.

 

chronotypes

 

But, what happens when your schedule and your chronotype cannot sync?

Let’s say you are a wolf, and your work (a well paid and interesting job) requires you be at the office by 8 a.m.

Well, you force yourself to adjust. Knowing your internal rhythm can help you to alleviate the burden and make the most out of the situation.

 

Manage your energy as it is needed, when it is low, try the following:

📌 Do some exercises to help you with your focus and concentration (young lady or old lady?)
📌 Close all the unnecessary windows on your computer
📌 Get some fresh air and replenish your energy
📌 Do some breathing exercises to increase your stamina (like breath of fire)
📌 If you can, take a 15-minute nap

 

Going beyond your type, there are some universal recommendations that work for everyone, both morning and evening types:

📌Set meal and sleep times and try to stick to them
📌Breakdown your work into manageable tasks
📌Take regular breaks
📌Plan your breaks in advance

 

If you want to know what type you are, try taking any of the following assessments:

AutoMEQ: Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ)

Dr Michael Breus’ Chronotypes

 

If you are curious about how Emotional Intelligence, Gestalt and other proven and tested approaches from psychology and neuroscience can effectively benefit your business, book a free 15-minute consultation with me.

 

 

What is emotional intelligence and how can it help your business?

What is emotional intelligence and how can it help your business?

 

Emotional Intelligence can be learnt and improved.

I’m sure you’ve already heard a great deal about Emotional Intelligence, mainly because even though it is not a new term, it has been the focus of a lot of scientific research in recent years, specifically looking into how it can be applied to areas such as business and sport.

The words Emotional Intelligence were coined by the researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and were later popularised by Dr. Daniel Goleman in, his 1995 New York Times bestseller, Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ.

Since then, the exploration of Emotional Intelligence has not stopped within the fields of psychology and neuroscience.

The result is that we now know that Emotional Intelligence can help boost any business and lead to its success. Any business.

You can learn how to improve and effectively apply your Emotional Intelligence whether you are the CEO of a big company or a small business owner, a freelancer or an employee, sell a product or provide a service.

Emotional intelligence leverages the game for you.

 

What will be covering here?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The Geneva Emotional Competence test

The four main areas of Emotional Intelligence

Self Awareness

Self Management

Social Awareness

Relationship Management

 

What is emotional intelligence?

Dr. Daniel Goldman defines Emotional Intelligence as
“the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions as well as others’“

By now, you might be thinking: ok, fair enough, I understand how this can help to improve my life and my relationships, but what does this have to do with my business?
Well, I would dare to say … everything.

Understanding your own emotions and learning how to train your brain to be able to manage them in the best way possible, is something that can help us all on a daily basis, as they touch all the spheres of our lives.

Research has proved that Emotional Intelligence plays the central role in the success and happiness of any person and is fundamental for any interpersonal exchange.

From growth in sales to gaining clients, happy workers and happy teams, improving rapport among co-workers and successfully achieving goals, from better engagement to better conversion, Emotional Intelligence can help at every step of the pipeline (sorry for the marketing reference; but it is pretty clear, right?)

Even though EI has been studied for decades, it was not until recently that research proved and tested its importance and efficacy.

In fact, the Geneva Emotional Competence test (GECo) is a new test created by Marcelo Mortillaro PhD – Head of the Applied Affective Sciences research unit at Université de Genève – which measures

👉 emotion recognition

👉 emotion understanding

👉 emotion regulation in oneself

👉 emotion management in others

Therefore, scientific research has proved and validated the importance of Emotional Intelligence so now, our homework is to get to know its benefits and learn the techniques to use in order to help it flourish.

 

Which are the four main areas of Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence

Self Awareness: recognising our emotions is the first step. If we acknowledge them, we can choose how to control them. 

Here’s a practical exercise: get a pen and paper (the old fashion way) and write down the answer to the following questions:

📝 Is it easy for me to recognise my emotions?

📝 If I am under stress, which emotion, feeling or sensation emerges first?

📝 Is this emotion located in a specific part of my body?

📝 Is it a good sensation or not?

📝 Is it motivating or, on the contrary, impeding my work?

📝 If it is not a positive sensation, do I know how to transform it into something positive or productive?

 

Self Management: this is the aspect that allows us to master our emotions, to be in control and give them better use when necessary.
Emotions can be manageable, and even the ones that we feel are negative can be a real asset depending on the situation and the use we make of them.

For instance, the questions that can help us here are:

📝 Is this emotion strong or mild?

📝 Is it a productive emotion?

📝 Is this particular emotion present every time I encounter the same situation?

📝 Can I control this emotion even if I am under pressure?

📝 Do I know how to adapt this emotion?

 

Social Awareness: recognising emotions in others can help us relate to them better. Happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise are the 6 universal emotions that we can identify in any human being.
Some of the questions that can help us here are:

📝Can I easily recognise emotions in others?

📝Can I change my approach to better understand the other person’s feelings?

📝is there anything I can do to help modify a particularly negative experience that a co-worker or a client is going through? (And yes, you are right if the word that immediately comes to your mind is empathy).

 

Relationship Management: this area is the one that allows us to have an impact on our company, neighbourhood or community, our daily work with others and any social sphere.
It relates to the emotions and behaviours of others and how we can be of benefit.

Therefore, some of the questions we might ask ourselves here are connected to the emotions that others show in certain circumstances:

📝 Are those emotions positive and constructive?

📝 Am I able to respond appropriately to other people’s emotions?

📝 How do they affect me?

📝 Do I know how to collaborate to change a problematic situation?

📝 And how to gain clarity and work towards a common objective?

📝 Are respect and validation the two strong points in the interaction? What about communication?

 

By now, you might be wondering, how can I improve my own EIQ?

Developing Emotional Competences (like soft skills, for example) will certainly help to improve social and emotional intelligence quotients.

We will talk about this in the next post.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your comments, questions and ideas below, I’ll be happy to respond! If you prefer to contact me directly for a free 15-minute assessment, book your call here 👇 

 

Emotional Intelligence