In the past few weeks many of my conversations with coaching clients and those on leadership events – and with colleagues, have focussed on sleep – or rather a lack of it. Pressures, stresses and waking up at 3am with minds full of things.
At the same time I saw one of the Rugby League Super League teams, Warrington Wolves, have a new form of ice recovery beyond the dreaded ice baths – which helped aid sleep as well as recovery from an intensely physical game. Sir Dave Brailsford with the Sky team and British Cycling team tries to ensure that the athletes recover well through a good sleep. If these folks are concentrating on sleep it must be important for that small edge.
An article in May’s American Scientific, about burnout, describes one of the causes as a compulsion to prove oneself–an excessive ambition to show colleagues, and themselves, that they excel at what they do in every way. These higher expectations and demands lead to working excessive hours and doing it all themselves, in an obsessive desire to prove that they are irreplaceable. People end up neglecting other life priorities. The article points out that “once important things such as friends and hobbies are completely dismissed. Their only standard for evaluation for their self-esteem is their jobs. They become increasingly emotionally blunted.” Leisure time becomes dead time. Know the symptoms of burnout so you don’t let this happen to you. This is an important area where self-awareness can help you manage your life effectively.
Watch Andy Puddicombe’s TED talk on achieving Focus, Calm and Clarity and I think Andy will stimulate your thinking about how you adjust at some point in the day – that means when you sleep, you really do. The talk is less than 10 minutes – I bet if you can stay focussed for that long it will stimulate some small thing you could do from today to help you get a little more mental rest. You may not want to do as Andy does, however you will have ideas for yourself – if you can just focus for that long!