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Posts Tagged ‘rest’

When Are You At Your Best?

October 28, 2010 4 comments

Leading YourselfLeading yourself well sets you up to lead others well. Part of leading yourself is knowing when and where you’re at your best. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you plan weeks in advance or wait til the last minute? Are you inspired by nature or energized by the city?

Here’s a list of 10 things I know bring out the best in me. Do I need all ten to be my best? Not necessarily. But if I go too long without any of these my performance starts to tank.

1. Shower & Shave. I get more great ideas in the shower than in any other place on earth. I don’t know why and I don’t care – it just works. And not shaving makes me feel lazy – unless I’m in the wild, then it makes me feel manly.

2. Time Outside. I develop cabin fever quickly. Rain, snow or sunshine it doesn’t matter – I’ve got to get out of the house or office frequently or my mind starts to cave in on itself.

3. Exercise. The pain, the endorphins, the sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel more alive, active and alert throughout the day.

4. Good Food. Irregular or unhealthy eating (usually due to traveling) cause me to lose focus and energy. I find that when I eat well, I lead well.

5. Water. Cold and clear, it’s by far my favorite drink (lucky me). I get headaches and lose clarity when I’m dehydrated. When I drink enough, I also eat less (but I do go to the bathroom more!).

6. Sleep. Not too much, not too little. For me, 6-8 hours is optimum. More than that and I start to drag throughout the day. Less than that and I get irritable and my decision-making is impaired.

7. Play. I’m serious about having fun. I don’t schedule play, I let it into everything. Fun makes everything better. Ideas, relationships, solutions, meetings, workshops, learning – they’re all enhanced by fun.

8. Time alone. I’m an introvert in an extroverted job. I’m also married to an amazing, extroverted woman. I schedule – and defend – my time alone to recharge. If I don’t, I’m no use to my family, my colleagues or my clients.

9. Tidy workspace. This I have to work at. I’m not a naturally organized individual, but I know how much a visually de-cluttered space improves the quality and efficiency of my work.

10. Tidy Mind. Ideas and thoughts stream through my mind at broadband speeds all the time. I must have a system to record everything – get it out of my head – so I can fully focus on what I’m doing at any given moment. My current system uses Things, Evernote, and a Moleskine journal.

What about you? When are you at your best?

Rest Smarter – Lead Smarter

December 29, 2009 4 comments

Leadership Rest Beyond books and seminars and courses, the best road to becoming a better leader is self-reflection. As 2009 comes to a close, I’m looking back on my year to find the biggest leadership lesson I’ve learned.

The Answer? I need to rest smarter.

It’s been a full year at work and home. At work we soft-launched our new brand and debuted several new services. At home, the arrival of our daughter in June literally doubled the number of children in our home. Among the added responsibilities, more than once I felt like I was not enough.

Too often I filled the gap by cheating on my rest. I’m not saying the occasional late night or early morning isn’t warranted – or even necessary. It’s when lack of rest becomes the norm and not the exception that your efficiency and effectiveness as a leader begins to diminish significantly.

Bottom line: when I don’t rest well, I’m not the best leader I can be – at work or at home. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about resting:

1. Rest your body. Get the right amount of sleep: not too much, not too little. Maintain your schedule as much as possible: if you travel for short periods of time, stay up late or get up early to maintain your rhythms as much as possible. Keep exercising: you’ll sleep better!

2. Rest your mind. Rest isn’t just the absence of physical work – you must rest your mind as well. Quiet all your scheming and planning. Don’t check your email. Take a break from worrying and thinking. Build a reliable system to hold your thoughts and trust capable people to handle things while you are away. You’ll return mentally refreshed and ready to think!

3. Rest your heart. How you think and act as a leader are important, but – at its core – your leadership comes from your heart. Like your body and mind, your heart needs exercise and rest to remain healthy. How you rest your heart is unique to you. Some need time alone, others need time with friends or family, still others pour themselves into a hobby. However you do it, make time to rest and restore your heart. You’ll need it to lead well!

What have I missed – what tips do you have for resting smarter?