I have several friends from my former life as a BlackBerry juggler who can’t find time for a yoga class in their 60 hour workweeks, can’t make it through the afternoon slump without a double espresso and/or work late into the night counting on a second wind. When you don’t have a moment to spare for lunch much less the indulgence of a yoga class, but need a better way to deal with business as usual, look to ancient Indian wisdom to plan the workday to your advantage. Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicine, believes a daily routine based around the three doshas or primary energy types helps maintain balance. I’m pretty sure it can also help maintain sanity, compliment workplace relationships and enhance your productivity, too. Here’s how to plan your workday in harmony with your natural energy ebbs and flows instead of fighting them and exhausting yourself in the process.
Dawn to Mid-morning: Best time for checking off to-do lists and holding staff meetings. Kapha energy associated with consistency, tolerance, nurture and overall slow-and-steadiness peaks between 6-10 a.m. This is when you can move methodically through task lists, complete projects and quietly produce. Move into the day by starting with mundane tasks, paperwork, and conference calls that you aren’t leading. This is the deep breath part of the day before the pace quickens in midday. This early part of the workday is prime for general staff or HR-related meetings since you’re focused and fair, not reactionary or distracted.
Mid-morning to Mid-afternoon: Best time to give presentations, strategize and deal with details and logistics. Pitta, the dosha of heat, fire, metabolism, ambition, clarity and general Type A tendencies, is strongest between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Your mind is sharp, analytical, decisive, energized and articulate. Need to motivate yourself or others? Do so now. Need to convince a team, close a deal or get buy-in from colleagues or clients? Make your pitch during this 4-hour window. Steer clear of rivals and competitors, and put your sharp wit to work instead with clients or your boss.
Mid-Afternoon to Evening: Best time to get creative. Vata vibes of airiness, creativity, potential boredom and the need for mental and physical activity thrive in the late afternoon. Indulge this energy with a short walk outside, a snack run with a colleague or some stealth yoga at your desk, and then let the right side of your brain take charge. 2-6 p.m. is prime for conceiving big ideas, including any accompanying worries, which you can jot down now to assess in list mode the next morning.
Try scheduling your workday around these doshas. You may even free up enough time to get to a yoga class once in a while.
Wanderluster and native Southerner, Elizabeth has lived, practiced and studied yoga in the U.S., Europe and Asia.