Time Management for Journalists: from an Ayurvedic Perspective – by Malaika Davies
Life as a freelance journalist can get a little hectic. There is a lot to juggle between sending out query letters, researching, interviewing, writing, and keeping track of the invoicing. If we’re not careful we can end up chained to our desks trying to hammer out an article when, perhaps, larger forces are against us.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word for ‘life-knowledge’. It is an ancient Indian form of natural medicine and has been used for thousands of years. One fundamentalpart of Ayurveda is to understand the three main doshas.
Doshas are energies that affect our body and mind and are governed by the properties of the five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. The doshas underlying influences can help us understand the world in a different way; and in particular how they affect our productivity and creativity at different times of the day.
Kapha is a slow, thoughtful, calm energy. It is best to start the day in a relaxed manner going about your morning routine. When ready to sit down to work, start with tasks that don’t require a lot of mental energy or creativity. Check your emails, deadlines and invoicing. Scan over your favourite websites that keep you current. Ease into the day by ticking off a few things from your ‘job list’.
It is worth noting that our minds are at their ‘clearest’ first thing in the morning. They are yet to get clogged up with the day’s busyness. So pay attention to your thoughts if you are awaiting inspiration or clarity for a piece you are working on.
Most Productive: 10am to 2pm
Pitta time of day is a high-energy phase both for the body and the mind. This is a great time of day to do research, conduct interviews, call the editor, and get the bulk of an article written up.
Given that this high-energy phase is both mental and physical it is beneficial to get away from the computer and fit in a quick walk. Five minutes after you’ve finished your lunch is an ideal time. A 10-15 minute dash will aid your digestion as well as keep the mind and body charging.
Get Creative: 2pm to 6pm
Vata energy is very creative, an excellent time to work on new article topics and angles. It is also a great time to go over work for a second draft to bring a piece to life.
Be careful not to over-do this phase as Vata energy can crash quickly if not looked after. Vata is flexible, so if you are not feeling the creativeness, or you’ve had a good flow of it and are starting to get tired, stop and come back to your work tomorrow.
Wind Down: 6pm to 10pm
The evening Kapha energy is much like the morning, slow and relaxed. According to Heidi Spear in her book The Everything Guide to Ayurveda: Improve your health, develop your inner energy, and find balance in your life, Kapha energy at the end of the day is about grounding you and preparing you for bedtime. If you work in the evenings, as many freelance journalists do, it is important not to have high expectations. If possible, go back to the tasks that take less mental energy and minimal creativity.
In this phase it is wise to be careful that you allow time to wind down after work and get to bed early before you get a ‘second wind’ as Pitta comes into play again. Pitta leads into Vata again, and so the cycle continues.
With these different energies in mind we can structure our day to optimize our productivity and creativity – producing better writing with less stress, and who doesn’t want that?
About the Author:
Malaika Davies is a travel writer and outdoor educator who has travelled and adventured around the world. Her enthusiasm for new places and cultures has taken her to places such as the remote NW corner of Namibia and to teaching Nepali women to whitewater kayak in the Himalayas. Her desire to share a good story means she can be found typing away on her laptop in places such as the Amazon Jungle or an Indian chai shop.
Malaika recently completed the Magazine Journalism Course at NZ Writers’ College.
Image credit: Flickr.com_RelaxingMusic