It’s quite alarming to think that it’s 10.20am as I write this blog post and, according to experts, I’m supposed to be at my most alert… If I’m completely honest, I’m absolutely shattered. On reflection, perhaps I shouldn’t have stayed up late in bed watching ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ on my laptop. Desperate to see the end of the show, I fought the urge to fall sleep until the credits rolled. It was a great idea at the time but if this is going to be my energy peak, I dread to think how I’m going to make it through the rest of the day. And I’ve got that difficult client coming in this afternoon – help!
This morning, as reported by the BBC’s James Gallagher, scientists from some of the UK’s leading universities warned us that ignoring our innate need for sleep, greatly increases our risk of developing certain chronic diseases. We’ve heard it all before, everything from cancer to heart disease has been linked to a lack of sleep, but when experts club together and issue a ‘warning,’ it makes you sit up and think.
Off the back of these findings, the BBC’s health and science team (including @JamesTGallagher, @RachMBuch and @Vic_Gill) developed this very helpful #BBCBodyClock, an interactive reference tool that explains how your body should feel at certain times of the day. Perhaps we can use these findings to work out how best to tailor our own schedules to align with our likely energy levels, whilst simultaneously improving our chances of a healthy future? Fortunately for my peers, I have endeavoured to do exactly that by considering what the comms professionals’ ideal day could look like.
Laura’s Ideal Daily Schedule for Comms Experts (based on #BBCBodyClock findings):
- 6-7am – Wake up early and resist the urge to exercise (Phew – I’ve been getting that right, at least!). This is also apparently prime time for heart attacks so keep a packet of aspirins nearby in case you feel one coming on. This may be more likely if you’ve dealt with a number of comms crises in recent weeks.
- 9-12am – Set the morning slot aside for all writing tasks – everything from press releases to blogs to proposals – this is when your mind is supposedly most alert and is best for short-term memory.
- 12-3pm – Have a spot of lunch and then combat the post-lunch alertness dip with an engaging brainstorm. Perhaps consider a standing brainstorm to keep the creative juices flowing.
- 3-6pm – Apparently this is the best time for exercise, so in the absence of a treadmill at your desk, book out conference rooms for afternoon calls and walk continuously around the room during the call to take advantage of your fitness peak. Or schedule meetings across town and walk to them, avoiding public transport.
- 6-9pm – Get out there and network! Organise drinks and a light meal with journalists, fellow PRs, industry experts, etc. NB: This is supposedly a bad time to eat a big meal but a great time for your liver to digest alcohol.
- 9-11pm – Set morning alarm on smartphone immediately so you don’t feel the urge to read your emails right before you fall asleep, thengo to bed as soon as you’re tired. Perhaps read a few pages of your book to take your mind off tomorrow’s workload but switch off the lights before you fall asleep on the pages.
- 12-6am – Sleep in a peaceful, dark, quiet environment and retain memories from the day.
Now to put my plan into action…