PRIORITIES & SLEEP
This is the latest I have ever sent a Thursday email. Even though it is a major priority for Thursday’s, even though it is my no. 1 work job for the day, even though I love writing them and look forward to it each week, and even though I know many of you get a lot out of what I write… it is still not my biggest priority for a Thursday, or any day for that matter.
Yesterday Court went in for day surgery. She pulled up quite good. She’s not too sore, not very ill, she could easily kick back at home while I go off all day and work.
But she is my number 1 priority (and Harper too of course). Yes she could have easily fended for herself and I don’t really need to be there. But if she truly is my priority, then putting aside all I need to do today so I can be there for her should be an absolute no brainer. Just because she has pulled up well on the outside, shouldn’t give me the all clear to bugger off on her.
On top of my weekly Thursday email I have quite a lot to do. With the gym rebranding underway there are so many tidbits to work through that just consume a lot of time. But really, in the overall scheme of things, the gym won’t close down and no members are going to be left high and dry today if I put all of that on hold until later. It will get done.
And hey… if a member does get left high and dry today but my wife feels cared for and looked after, that shouldn’t ever be considered a failure on my part as a gym professional. I love my gym and every single member in it. But if I have to choose between a member or my wife, I chose my wife. And I bloody well hope that every single person reading this does the same!
During my first few years as a gym owner I used to put work ahead of most things because I felt under the pump, like it all had to be done immediately or else… I don’t know… something may explode!
Yeah there was a lot to do. There always is. Hands up who doesn’t have a lot to do at work? Before you’ve finished what you are currently doing, there are three more new things to be done.
I thought I was balancing it all quite well. I was confident I was being there for my family plenty as well as hustling like a mo fo. Yeah I was definitely there, but should have been there a lot more.
And really… how much more of an impact can you make with 30 minutes more work, as compared to 30 minutes more quality time with your wife or child?
Everything can wait just that little bit longer.
But what if I feel like everything actually will explode if I don’t prioritise work?
So much of the time we consider ourselves busy, but we are actually being unproductive as all fuck. We have no planning, no order, we aren’t delegating properly, leaving us to be doing the silly tasks that take up all of our precious time from the more important tasks we should be doing.
We feel we need to work harder to provide more for our family to do our part. Yet we end up so tired that we feel we have no energy to be able to give ourselves to our family when the time does come. So we go harder in order to get more done in the hope that it will allow us more time to be more available. We then sleep less hours to try and fit it all in. We eventually become a walking zombie that just wishes for a moment to switch off in hope that it will all feel better one day…
I just finished reading ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker. It was fascinating! In a nutshell… if you don’t get enough sleep, consider yourself fucked. Just about every modern problem we currently face today can be linked to poor sleep. Ever since the birth of the Industrial Revolution, but even more so the invention of incandescent light, we have been experiencing less and less sleep.
One of the most fascinating facts I learnt, was that a reduction in sleep dramatically reduced your ability to remember things*. This means that we are finding it harder to learn new things and progress with what we do each day. Sleep deprivation also causes tiredness (obviously), moodiness, poorer decision making and speed of decision making, dramatically reduced productivity and a poorer ability to focus.
So if you are working long hours and sleeping less (less than 7 hours on average), your ability to think clearly enough to work productively is severely reduced. Therefore, you work longer hours of poorer quality in order to get the work done, work that you could be doing far more quickly had you gotten enough sleep each night. You are then so buggered and grumpy that you cannot give the quality time you wish to give to your family each day. So all of that relationship problem stuff will eventually hit you too.
Coffee and sleeping pills?
Absolutely not! Sleeping pills don’t give you the quality of sleep you are after, they knock you out like alcohol does, and alcohol has the same effect on memory loss as sleep deprivation. You also wake up so groggy that you end up over caffeinating yourself each day, leading to you struggling to get to sleep at night, leading to you reaching for the sleeping pills, and so the cycle keeps on cycling…
Sleep. Sleep is the only answer.
When you start sleeping more, you begin to think more clearly, you make better decisions, you have the energy to be both productive at work AND spend quality time with your family. You get your life back.
Switch of the screens at night time because they’re screwing up your melatonin (what gives you the urge to sleep) levels more than you would believe. Start developing a pre-sleep routine. Wind yourself down. Don’t over caffeinate during the day. Get a comfortable pillow. Switch off as many lights as possible when the sun has gone down. Use warm coloured lighting in your bathroom and bedroom. Allow yourself more time to sleep (including the pre-sleep time).
Do these things and not only will you be able to prioritise those who you should be prioritising, you’ll be even better at work than when you were running on an oily rag.
*You are likely to recall 50% less information if you get drunk or are sleep deprived, than if you get adequate sleep. To all the uni students out there drinking most nights and cramming every other night… if you just went to sleep and stopped getting on the piss so much, you would blitz your exams and have nothing to complain about. (This is a message to my younger self too)