Tired of Being Tired?

16 11 2011

This is a fantastic post written by Leo Babauta on the popular blog Zen Habits, which focuses on ways to simplify life and in doing so enjoy it more. I wanted to share this, though don’t have a lot more to add as the post pretty much says everything perfectly. It certainly made me think, and perhaps it will for you too. Lifestyle change, anyone?

–          Quinton

Tired of Being Tired

‘A man grows most tired while standing still.’ ~Chinese proverb

It’s tough being tired all day. I’ve had days like this, when I’m struggling through the day and don’t have the energy to tackle anything that matters. Hell, I’ve had years like this. When you’re tired, not much seems appealing. Life is dulled, and you don’t get much accomplished. Worst, you don’t have the energy to change the situation. These days I don’t have many days like this, but when I do, I rest. We have gotten good at ignoring our body’s signals — much of our lives is training our minds to pretend our bodies aren’t tired, so we can be more productive. This is wrong. It ends up in burnout and less production, because we inevitably run out of energy. Listen to your body — your long-term health and sanity depend on it.

Why We’re Tired

Mostly we’re tired because we don’t rest enough. Yeah, I know: duh, Leo. But if it’s so obvious, why do we ignore it? The Spanish famously have siestas. When I get tired, so do I. It’s a luxury not everyone can afford, but even when I had a day job I would find ways to sneak into a back room and take a power nap of 20 minutes. We don’t rest enough. It’s not as important as other things: waking early, getting stuff done, attending to a thousand meetings, being sucked into the world of online connections and reading, god-forsaken television. So we cut rest in favor of these other things that are much more important, and then wonder why our energy levels are low.

But there’s more. If you’re like me, you drink coffee in the morning. You might drink more later in the morning, to keep yourself energized. By the time afternoon rolls around, you’re in caffeine withdrawal. This is often why people are sapped by mid-afternoon.

We also run ourselves too fast, like a sprint, when life is much longer than a sprint. Try it: go outside and sprint all-out for two minutes. Stop, breathe for a sec, then sprint again. See how long you can keep that up — most can’t go very long. Our days are like a series of sprints. Note: Sometimes chronic fatigue can be a sign of deeper problems. For athletes, it’s often a sign of overtraining. For others, it could be a sign of depression or other medical issues. If it’s a continuing problem, I’d recommend getting checked out, just in case.

How to Get Started When You’re Too Tired to Start

My first suggestion is to take a nap. If you’re too tired to take other steps, taking a nap is easy. If you can’t take a nap, at the very least disconnect from digital devices. Computers and smartphones are powerful tools, but being on them for too long tires us out. Disconnect, get outside, take a walk. Cancel an appointment or two if you can. Stretch. Massage your shoulders. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Breathe. These are small things you can do right away, and they will help you become more rested. Once you’ve taken the first steps, you’ll be a bit more rested and can take a few more steps:

1. Sleep more at night. If you’re not getting at least 7 hours of sleep, you’re probably getting too little. Lots of people need a full 8 hours, and some need more. Go to bed earlier — the Internet will be fine without you. I like to read before bed (a book, not websites) as a ritual that helps me sleep. It takes awhile before your sleeping patterns change. If you have insomnia, try my simple cure.

2. Take stretch breaks. We sit for too long at the computer, sapping energy. Get up, stretch, every 20-25 minutes. Walk around for a minute or five. Move in any way you can — do pushups, squats, lunges, jump up and down, do a dance. Get the blood circulating.

3. Exercise regularly. You needed me to tell you to exercise, I’m sure. But it’s amazing how even a little exercise can help you to feel more energized throughout the day. A huge workout session can leave you exhausted — in which case you should rest — but shorter workouts leave you physically just a bit tired, but mentally you feel amazing.

4. Cut back the caffeine. If you go cold turkey with caffeine, you’ll really have no energy. But cutting back a little at a time, while doing some of the things mentioned here, won’t be bad. And you’ll skip the afternoon withdrawal, which can ruin half your day. If you feel tired from drinking less caffeine, take a short nap.

5. Be less busy. Seriously, we’re too busy these days. Cut back on commitments, put space between things, allow yourself to have a slower pace. Your energy levels will thank you.

6. Focus. While most people multitask, in truth that’s mental juggling. And there’s only so much you can do in a day. As most of you know, I advocate single-tasking — it’s basically doing one thing at a time, and being fully present while doing that task. This really transforms anything you do, from work tasks to conversations to chores like washing the dishes. It’s less tiring, mentally, and it can make anything you do more enjoyable. Life is less tiring when you single-task.

7. Hydrate. This is actually a huge factor that most people don’t realize is making them tired. Drink water throughout the day. You don’t really need 8 glasses of water (we get some in food and other drinks), but drinking more water doesn’t hurt. Your pee should be a light yellow if you’re well hydrated (not clear, definitely not dark yellow).

8. Freshen up. Sometimes a quick, cold shower in the afternoon or evening can be refreshing. Or change your socks. If you’re sweaty, a fresh outfit also helps. Wash your face. You’ll feel brand-new.

9. Work on something you’re excited about. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll feel energized. If you don’t really care about your work, you’ll be dragging. Read this if you need help.

10. Work with interesting people. If you work with other people who are passionate about something, you’ll feel more excited about the work you do. It’s incredible to work with a partner or group of people who care about what they’re doing, who are fired up. If you don’t have that, seek it out.

11. Learn what makes life effortless. We thrash about in the water all day, making the swim exhausting. Instead of working against the world, learn to glide. I write about this more in my new book, The Effortless Life, which comes out next week. More soon!

‘A lot of people are tired around here, but I’m not sure they’re ready to lie down, stretch out and fall asleep.’ ~Jim Jones

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BE THE CEO OF YOU INC.

9 05 2011

Just read this brilliant article by world leading business brain, Robin Sharma. Enjoy. 

–          Quinton

DU TELECOM, the upstart telco in Dubai, that in just four years has become truly world-class, brought me in to speak at a special function for a few hundred of their CEO clients. My job was to inspire them, to challenge them and to help them get their leadership genius to its next level of excellence. As I finished, I offered them 6 challenges:

1. GET OUT AND EXPLORE: Extracurricular activities are not a waste of time. The best leaders are interesting people. They pursue passions. They love art. They experience unforgettable travel. And they engage in conversations with fascinating people. This allows them to stay inspired. And hungry. And offers them a steady stream of ideas that actually makes their businesses more successful.

2. LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE WITH THE DIRTIEST HANDS: Want to know what your customers love – and can’t stand – about your business? Listen to the people on the front line. The grocery clerk hears exactly what’s being said about the products on the shelves. The person answering the phone knows what people are most dissatisfied with. The technician gets exactly what needs to be fixed for the brand to grow. Learn to listen to the people who are closest to your customers. The data they carry is priceless.

3. YOU ARE PAID NOT ONLY TO WORK. YOU ARE PAID TO BE SCARED:  It’s easy to do what you do every day until it becomes second nature. But what leadership’s truly about is having the courage to out-think + out-perform who you were yesterday. And that’s scary. Because you need to consistently do what’s uncomfortable. But all growth lies on the outer edges of your comfort zone. Commit to not just doing your work but accepting the challenges that frighten you.

4. HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH: These were peak-performing CEOs leading 24/7 careers. There was utter silence in the room when I shared this statement: “Health is the crown on the well man’s head that only the ill person can see”. Why be the richest person in the graveyard? And what’s the point of getting to the mountaintop but reaching it sick? Get serious about becoming superfit. Then watch the caliber of your work and the quality of your life fly.

5.  FAMILY FIRST: With children, we have a little window of opportunity. And once it closes, it’s very hard to open it up again. Having a strong family foundation of deep relationships with those you love makes you a more effective businessperson. And who wants to get to the end of your career and realize you’re all alone?

6. BE VALUABLE: Business, to me, is nothing more than a breathtakingly great vehicle to deliver unusual value to as many people as possible. Want to double your sales? Then double the value you bring to your customers. And the whole game of life’s about much of the same thing: contribution. Being of value. Making a difference. No one on their deathbed wished they had made more money. Most of us do wish we have had a greater impact. As a seminar participant in Qatar shared with me: “The measure of the greatness of a person is the length their shadow casts on the future.”

Why do I share the 6 challenges I offered to the CEO crowd with you? Because you are the CEO of your own career and the Leader of your own life. I encourage – and challenge – you to reflect on these ideas and then to act on them with speed. There’s never been a bigger need for leaders in our organizations and within our world. And whether you have a title or not, that need applies to you.

LEADERSHIP QUOTES TO THINK ABOUT 

 “There’s been nothing but discipline, discipline, discipline all my life.” – Celine Dion

 “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon Winner 

 “The average are addicted to leisure. The exceptional are obsessed with learning.” – Robin Sharma on Twitter





Be Responsive, Be Successful

13 09 2010

– Adapted from an article on Get Rich Slowly

I found a piece last week that addresses an important facet of personal relationships. Michael Hyatt is often asked, “What’s the secret of your success?” His answer: “Responsiveness.”

So many people I meet are unresponsive. They don’t return their phone calls promptly. They don’t answer their emails quickly. They don’t complete their assignments on time. They promise to do something and never follow through. They have to be reminded, prodded, and nagged. This behaviour creates work for everyone else and eats into their own productivity. Hyatt is describing the good old-fashioned procrastinator. Procrastination springs from many sources — stress, over-commitment, depression, fear of failure — but ultimately it hurts both the procrastinator and those around him.

 Reality is that we live in an “instant world.” People want instant results. They don’t want to wait. And if they have to wait on you, their frustration and resentment grows. They begin to see you as an obstacle to getting their work done. If that happens, it will begin to impact your reputation. Your actions affect how other people see you. If you’re unresponsive, people will look for other ways to get their job done. If you’re an unresponsive salesman, your customers will call somebody else. If you’re an unresponsive manager, your employees will work around you, not with you. But if people know they can count on you, they’ll seek your assistance in the future, and you’ll be rewarded with increased reputation and responsibility.

Not sure how others see you? Ask them to tell you the things you never hear. The truth is, you are building your reputation — your brand — one response at a time…You can’t afford to be unresponsive. It is a career-killer. My basic rule is this: respond immediately unless there is a good reason to wait. Free Money Finance often states “your career is your most valuable financial asset.” It’s true. Responsiveness will help you to succeed at work; lack of responsiveness will lead you to fail.

The great thing about being responsive is that it will quickly differentiate you from your peers. People love doing business with responsive people. Nothing will advance your career faster than this. Here are some ways to become more responsive:

•Develop a positive attitude.

•Modify your environment to eliminate distractions.

•Learn to put others’ needs before your own, especially on the job.

•Think creatively — reach your goal through any means necessary.

•Compare your actions with your personal values: are they in line with each other?

•Implement a system to assist you in Getting Things Done.

•Don’t be a slavish adherent to rules and procedures — be flexible.

•Don’t put things off — take care of them now.

Just do it!

– Quinton





3 keys: Happiness in a busy city

26 07 2010

Three pointers to finding happiness amidst the hustle and rush of life in a concrete jungle… taken from an article on Psychology Today. Enjoy.

-Quinton

Happiness Comes from Inside. No class, event or person is ever going to make you happy. The order goes like this: Become happy. Then go out into the world and do what you need to do. You see, the high we get from our senses or material possessions lasts about six minutes. Yep that’s it. Then we’re ready for the Next Big Thing. Sounds crazy, but it is entirely possible to find more happiness sitting alone at home than running around. Get still and secure with your life first, then make decisions about what you want and where you want to be.

Focus on What You Have. My brain used to run the same script every morning, running through everything I didn’t have in my life. Now I realize that what we focus on is exactly what we get. The more I thought about not having love or a dream job, the more stuck I got. When I started waking up with gratitude for everything I did have in my life, more of that grew.

Watch What You Tell Yourself. Every thought and word you say has power. That cynic in you criticizing every situation just created his or her destiny. What we see and what we believe is exactly what we get in life. Even if you have to convince yourself, think positive thoughts and make wishful statements. Using positive affirmations is the best trick.

Living in a busy and anxious city isn’t always a walk in the park. But by looking inward and changing some of your habits and thoughts, it’s possible to live your dream life in the city. No to-do or check list needed!





What could you do in 10 minutes?

18 06 2010

Yesterday I read this thought-provoking – and challenging – article on what we can do in ten minutes, from the famous “Time Management Ninja” productivity website.

Enjoy.

Quinton

**

Too many people say that they do not have enough time in their day to get their stuff done.  Yet, they let their time slip by bit-by-bit.  Minute-by-minute. Five minutes here.  Twenty minutes there.  Ten minutes before a meeting.

For many people, it is this “in-between” time that becomes a major source of lost productivity.

Let’s not underestimate what we can get done in just 10 minutes.  These little bursts of productivity can drive your whole day. So, here are 10 things you can do with those 10 minutes:

  1. Respond to 10 emails – Keep it short, and remember that not all email messages deserve a response. 10?  Yes, and be ruthless with that inbox.
  2. Respond to 3 phone calls – Return that call.  Reach out to that colleague that you need to meet up with.  And schedule that doctor’s appointment that you have been putting off for 6 months.
  3. Pay some bills online – In just a few minutes, you can pay your bills with online billpay.  You’re not still dealing with paper bills, are you?
  4. Catch up with a co-worker – 10 minutes early to that meeting?  This can be one of the best times to have a meaningful conversation with another colleague.  Re-connect with someone.  At a recent meeting I had the chance to reconnect with one of our executives.  Someone who I might not normally have a chance to chat with on a personal level.
  5. Read 10 pages in a book – Whether it is in the doctor’s office or the car dealership, use that time to read a few pages.  Some people carry a book with them for these moments. 
  6. Write – You will be surprised how much you can write in 10 minutes.  Write a memo.  Start a blog post. Whatever you need to get done.
  7. Prepare – Get ready for a future appointment.  Look at tomorrow’s calendar.  Is there any prep work you need to do?  It could be as simple as getting some documents together or researching a topic.
  8. Reflect – Spend the few moments, reflecting on your day.  What you have accomplished?  What has made you happy today?  What you still need to address?
  9. Reach Out & Touch Someone – In these days of email, Twitter, text msgs, and more… it has become increasingly rare to actually communicate in person.  When I find I have a 10 minute block of time to spare, I will walk down the hall and speak to someone face-to-face that I normally would not see.
  10. Do Nothing – Of course, you could just waste the 10 minutes surfing the net or checking the news.  Unfortunately, too many people choose this last option.

What do you do with your 10 minutes?  Or do you let them slip by?