Yes, its true, we don’t always take care of ourselves as well as we should. It’s hard, because life gets in the way—doubly so if we have a busy and productive work life. We then faced with the choice between hard work and convenience, guess which one wins out most of the time?
Whether it’s convenient or not, maintaining our health should come first, before our daily to-do’s, before our work and yes even our family.
Why? Because if we aren’t healthy, we can’t be successful, either—at home or at work.
So let’s start basics — food, sleep, exercise
It’s lunch time. You might have started your day without breakfast and you have been working since six o’clock in the morning. When those hunger pains strike, and the easy solution, is ultra-convenient fast food, like burgers and fries. Let’s be real, how often do you yearn for a meal like a salad. But what are those excessive calories found in burgers and fries actually doing to your post-lunch productivity?
What you eat affects your productivity in different ways, so eat smart.
Ron Friedman, for the Harvard Business Review lays out the facts about how different foods affect work performance. He cites a study where participants reported “food consumption, mood and behaviours over a period of 13 days.” The participants who ate less high-fat meals and more fruits and vegetables were “happier, more engaged and more creative”. Than those who opted for high-fat, high-calorie lunches.
We tend to think simplistically about food. Those of us who face a daily barrage of emails, reports and mounds of work like to think of it as “fuel.” That interpretation, is a little misleading. As Friedman points out, you can expect a certain level of consistency with fuel.
Food, on the other hand, is less predictable. What you eat affects your productivity in different ways, so eat smart.
When your work life is demanding, you keep weird hours. You get to the office early, before the sun’s up, and you leave late, after dark. At home, you take out your laptop to “finish up a few things.” Three hours later, you crawl into bed. And then you wake up before the sun does to do it all again—constantly in a fog, does this sound like you?
Maybe it just kind of comes with the job. Even if you play the role of night owl and early bird, there are still steps you can take to ensure you’re getting adequate rest. But first, why is it so important?
Being sleep deprived has been linked to higher levels of stress, higher blood pressure levels and lower brain function.
It’s safe to say your performance will suffer if you aren’t catching enough ZZZs.
So, how does one combat chronic sleeplessness? Creating and sticking to a regular schedule certainly helps. If you work primarily from home, create definite work hours, making sure you give yourself enough time to unwind after finishing work.
If work is still on your mind when you hit the sack, you’ll probably find yourself lying awake for a while. Try some soft meditation music to unwind to. And when your alarm clock goes off, get up NO MATTER WHAT. Resist the snooze button and screw up your sleep cycle.
Stress can get the best of us at times, and what could be better for you than melting your problems and fat away with every rep, stride or lift at the gym? Not much. Working out is a great outlet for relieving stress, to distract you from daily pressures—and to get fit at the same time. Regular exercise wards off depression and a host of other mental blocks that make success hard to achieve.
As little as a 30 minute walk every day can lead to a much healthier you and can ward off many illnesses going forward.
Of course, we could talk about exercising more until we’re blue in the face. The important thing is that we actually get out and do it.
Schedule 30 minutes to an hour of workout time into your day. Don’t promise yourself you’ll do it at lunch or when you get home.
Nine times out of 10, the drain of the day prevents us from lifting a finger when we get back to the house. Instead, treat your workout as an essential aspect of your success. Schedule it like we do appointments. It’s not just something you should do; it’s something you must do.
After all what’s the point of being successful in your business or your life if your not healthy enough to enjoy it. Self-maintenance is critical to your success because it allows you to go further, get more done and most importantly, be happy doing it.
Here’s to your health!