Something I love about my work is exploring the interrelated nature of time management,
energy management and productivity in the ever-evolving workplace. Picking up on the energy management theme, another layer here that I’ve been investigating over the recent years is the male and female hormone cycles and their impact on the traditional 9-5 work model.
If you’re a woman who has found herself wrestling with the constraints of the 9-5 grind, you are not alone. I remember in my old life, working in Government, struggling with this. Some weeks I felt great but then the following week I’d feel so uncomfortable in the open office and unable to do much of anything. I didn’t understand what was going on until Menstrual Cycle Awareness came to my knowledge.
A few years ago I came across Claire Baker’s work and it just blew my mind. I hadn’t recognised how much my hormones were affecting my productivity throughout the month. Embarrassingly, until my early 30s, I would just think of my period as when I was bleeding and didn’t think much about the rest of the month. But now, since having an understanding of the menstrual cycle I feel like it is possible to do life in a feminine way and I lean into that.
Instead of hating on my hormone ups and downs I now embrace them and see value in each phase. It’s grounding because as I mentioned before, I would think of myself as having good weeks and bad weeks, and I would desire to be the ‘good Christie’ that showed up for only two weeks of the month and not the other Christie who was around for the other two. When working with my female clients this conversation has often come up after they’ve said something like “I didn’t do anything this week and I feel really crap about myself and my direction.” I will ask them “Where are you in your cycle?” and they often realise that yes, wow, their period is in a few days. I’ve noticed that even just realising and taking note of when your period might be starting is a game changer and a huge comfort.
As a society, we are slowly coming to the realisation that the 9-5 framework is not the only path to success. For years, it has felt like the only way to navigate the working world but it doesn’t work for everyone, and from where I sit, especially not for women. Let’s dive into the intricacies of why the 9-5 model might not be your best fit.
Understanding the Male Hormone Cycle - A 24-Hour Journey
The male hormone cycle follows a 24-hour rhythm. As the sun rises, so do their testosterone and cortisol levels. This hormonal surge brings a burst of energy, focus, and readiness, setting the stage for efficient and productive work.
As the day unfolds, testosterone levels take a dip in the afternoon, putting men in a more sociable and connective mood. It’s the perfect time for networking, pitching ideas, or even planning that evening date.
As the sun sets, testosterone levels diminish further, and the male body craves rest and relaxation.
The Female Hormone Cycle - A 28-Day Symphony
Now, let’s shift our focus to the female hormone cycle, a complex 28-day (ish) journey. I like to use the seasons to explain the four phases of the menstrual cycle because we’ve all got an understanding of it. Bleeding or not.
During the menstrual phase, think of it as an Inner Winter, women naturally gravitate towards rest, reflection, and thoughtful decision-making.
In the follicular phase, similar to Inner Spring, we’re inclined to plan ahead, conceive new ideas, and nurture fresh beginnings.
Enter the ovulatory phase, think Inner Summer, marked by a spike in testosterone, which fills us with energy and a desire to socialise.
Finally, during the luteal phase, likened to Inner Autumn, women find themselves at their most focused, productive, and organised.
Connecting the Dots
Since the female 28-day hormone cycle bears no resemblance to the male 24-hour cycle, it’s no surprise that many who bleed feel less than fulfilled in the traditional 9-5 workspace, which aligns more with the male hormonal rhythm.
But there’s good news! Knowledge is power, and all people can use this understanding to their advantage. It’s time to tune in, listen to your body, and make work, well, work for you.
Many forward-thinking companies are already embracing flexible working arrangements, core working hours, or granting employees the autonomy to shape their workdays. This progressive approach creates a culture where both female and male biologies can truly thrive.
So, take some time and think about the changes you can make, advocate for, or implement in your workplace. If you’re a female business owner, consider how you can sync your workdays, weeks, and months with the rhythms of your own body. I truly believe that time management is an art, and understanding your unique biological clock helps you paint a more fulfilling work-life canvas.