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Time management and the prime time of day

Category: HRM

Time Management is the effective use of your time and that of your subordinates, which means organising yourself first and then your subordinates

Your prime time of day

All living organisms, from molluscs to men and women, exhibit biological rhythms. Some are short and can be measured in minutes or hours. Others last days or months. The peaking of body temperature, which occurs in most people every evening, is a daily rhythm. The menstrual cycle is a monthly rhythm. The increase in sexual drive in the autumn — not in spring, as poets would have us believe — is a seasonal or yearly rhythm.

The idea that our bodies are in constant flux is fairly new — and goes against traditional medical training. In the past, many doctors were taught to believe the body has a relatively stable, or homeostatic, internal environment. Any fluctuations were considered random and not meaningful enough to be studied.

As early as the 1940s, however, some scientists questioned the homeostatic view of the body. Franz Halberg, a young Austrian scientist working in the United states, noticed that the number of white blood cells in laboratory mice was dramatically higher and lower at different times of day.

Gradually, such research spread to the study of other rhythms in other life forms, and the findings were sometimes startling. For example, the time of day when a person receives X-Ray or drug treatment for cancer can affect treatment benefits and ultimately mean the difference between life and death.

In recent years the science of “chronobiology” (or “clockwatching”) has become increasingly important. Along the way, the scientific and medical communities are beginning to rethink their ideas about how the human body works, and gradually what had been considered a minor science just a few years ago is being studied in universities and medical centres around the world. There are even chronobiologists working for NASA.

With their new findings they are teaching us things that can literally change our lives — by helping us organise ourselves so we can work with our natural rhythms rather than against them. This can enhance our outlook on life as well as our performance at work and play.

Because they are easy to detect and measure, more is known of daily or “circadian” (latin for “about a day”) rhythms than other types. the most obvious daily rhythm is the “sleep/wake” cycle. But there are other daily cycles as well (Temperature, Blood Pressure, Etc.).

Amid these and the body’s other changing rhythms, you are simply a different person at 9-00 a.m. than you are at 3-00 p.m. How you feel, how well you work, your level of alertness, your sensitivity to taste and smell, the degree with which you enjoy food or take pleasure in music — all are changing throughout the day.

Most of us seem to reach our peak of alertness around noon. Soon after that, alertness declines, and sleepiness may set in by mid-afternoon.

Your short-term memory is best during the morning — in fact about 15% more efficient than at any other time of the day. So students, take heed: when faced with a morning exam, it really does pay to review your notes right before the test is given.

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