How to optimize your workdays - The Ayurvedic Approach

How we do things today, what are the effects and how to align with our natural rhythms to be more efficient and experience greater wellbeing.
June 22, 2021

“ Tell me about your daily routine, and I’ll tell you how healthy you feel. Tell me when you eat, and I’ll tell you if it is easy or difficult for you to maintain your weight. Tell me when you turn off your television or computer at night, and I’ll tell you how sensitive you are to stress. Tell me when you fall asleep, and I’ll tell you whether you need coffee to power your way through the afternoon, or whether you snap at your loved ones at the end of a long day when you wanted to be patient”. By Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar 

If I asked you the time at any given moment, you’re very likely to give me quite an accurate answer; one that will probably be based on what you just did or what you need to do next. Am I right?

Because of our busy schedules, most of us are hyper-aware of the time all day: an alarm wakes us up, our morning routine, followed by deadlines, zoom calls, then dinner, putting the kids to bed, etc. 

On top of this, we spend most of our time in climate and light controlled environments that hijack our body’s natural ability to self-regulate. This creates or exacerbates our most common physical complaints. 

The good news is that there is a different kind of clock within our body which rules its every single function. This natural rhythm, known as the Circadian Rhythm, operates on a nearly 24hour cycle and uses available natural light to coordinate all of its systems.

The Circadian Rhythm directs the body’s systems to do different things depending on the time of day or night. Think: digestion, sleep, regulation of blood pressure, metabolism, hormone production, body temperature and cellular repair. 

This is why we experience different things throughout the day: our deepest sleep cycle at 2am, strongest digestion by noon, release of melatonin around 9pm to start winding down, and so on.

In order to avoid being at odds with our body’s needs, we should try to align our schedules to what our body is naturally equipped to do throughout the day. 

Ayurveda, the oldest known medical system, provides an optimal daily routine that helps us live in tune with nature so that we can experience our natural state of health and well-being. According to it, the days are split in 6 phases (2 cycles of 3 phases each), which correspond to the 3 Doshas (energies) and carry their same qualities. 

Ayurveda understands that everything (including us!), is made up of a unique ratio of Elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. At every level of life - from seasons, age, to time of the day -  these 5 Elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) are present. 

Doshas are the three vital energies that relate to the specific combinations of these Elements, giving each their own qualities and characteristics, and governing certain functions.

For example, this means eating our largest meal of the day at noon, when the Pitta principle is strongest and our digestive fire (agni), the most powerful. 

But this idea also extends beyond our physiological function. We can use this inner clock to leverage our ability to focus and to tap into our creativity at the most convenient times of the day. 

So, how can we optimise our Workday according to this?

6 –10 a.m. (Kapha Energy)

This is a good time for activities that need mental endurance and a steady mind. The stability and structure of Kapha is ideal for reading long reports, preparing a presentation, or responding to emails that need a thoughtful reply. 

10 a.m.–2 p.m. (Pitta Energy)

Time for transformation and mental assertiveness thanks to Pitta’s sharpness. Problem solving, logic and decision making. Our digestive fire is at its peak, also for mental activities. Prioritise planning, strategising and organising. 

2–6 p.m. (Vata Energy) 

This is our most creative time of the day. Vata rules movement, is light and mobile, and is  related to our vital life force. Carve out this time to connect with others, hold meetings, brainstorming, or team building.

Though these might sound like a mouthful for those unfamiliar with an Ayurvedic Lifestyle, the important thing is to remember that we are meant to live in tune with these cycles rather than fighting against them. 

Adjusting your work (and daily) routine to the Circadian rhythm, can do wonders for achieving more balance in your life and feeling successful and productive throughout your day!

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