SPOTLIGHT – Watch your body clock

Biorhythms govern every moment of our lives, directly affecting our work and efficiency.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if human being could be governed like robots? What if someone managed to harness the energy and skills of human beings, ensuring that they delivered their best, and in some cases better than the best? No, this is not the plot of the latest Spielberg science-fiction thriller, but the concept of biorhythms. Something that is catching the fancy of individuals in all walks of life.

Biorhythms are the natural monthly fluctuations (a hypothetical cyclic pattern) that govern a person’s physical, emotional and intellectual capabilities. “Bio” pertains to life and “rhythm” to a regular flow. These cycles start the moment we are born. They are at a middle-point at the time of birth and then go up or down at different rates over our lifetime. These inherent rhythms are said to control and initiate various biological processes. Biorhythms are composed of three cyclic rhythms that are said to govern human behaviour: the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual (or mental) cycles.

With biorhythms governing every moment of our lives, they are bound to affect your work and efficiency levels. Says, Sriharsha Achar, HR Head-India, Xchanging, “These rhythms directly impact one’s productivity at work. Performance at work does not only require high intellectual responsiveness but also physical fitness and a high emotional state of being optimistic and open to ideas.” When the curve of any cycle is above the midline, we experience a “high” in the corresponding field (physical, emotional or mental). If it is the physical curve, you will feel well. If it is the emotional curve, you will be in a good mood and your communication with other people will be positive. If it is the mental curve, your thought processes will be sharper, con centration will be easier and you may have a lot of ideas. When the curve of any cycle is below the midline, you experience a “low” in the corresponding field. If it is a physical low, weakness and listlessness can set in; if it is an emotional low, you may feel miserable and out of sorts and with a mental low, your thinking can be foggy and you may find it hard to communication.

The cycle of work and rest is evident throughout nature. Research has revealed that it is in the morning that we are most active. Midday meals are followed by an afternoon lull — a nearly universal break time. People resume their activities in the late afternoon but at a slower pace. Thus planning our work schedule as per our individual rhythmic patterns can do wonders. “Certain workplaces like the railways and airlines have experimented the most with biorhythms,” says J. P. Santhanam, Director- Secure Synergy.

So what does an organisation do to ensure maximum returns from an employee? “We follow convenient working hours and shift timings that are geared not to put employees out of their biorhythms. We also strictly discourage employees from staying in office beyond their stipulated working hours,” adds Achar. However, it is tough to match the rhythmic patterns of scores of individuals and get a balanced output. “But if this concept is individually exercised with a disciplined sense of commitment it could help the individual better understand the workings of the bio-mechanical aspects of his body … and probably help in the individual’s productivity!” adds Santhanam.

However, some amount of contradiction occurs when views are sought about the utility of biorhythms in the Indian context. “In the IT & ITES industry, ample amount of research and work has gone into the areas of sleep management, diet and eating habits,” says Achar. However, he further adds that awareness levels definitely need to increase. “People need to be educated about biorhythms so as to be able to understand their own physical, emotional and intellec