In today’s world, most of us like to think “busy” is a badge of honour, but it is driving us to unprecedented levels of distraction and is ultimately affecting our performance as individuals and as team members. How did we get to a point where we need to be constantly reminded to focus on what we are doing at the present moment?
Where is our busy life going to take us? What are we achieving?
Filling up our lives with activities, scheduling every minute of our day with tasks and constantly adding to our “to do” list gives us a sense of purpose, but also the excuse for not reaching all our goals or our peak performance levels. How many times have you used the excuse, “I’m just too busy”?
Take a moment to stay in the moment.
There is one certainty in life. We will all die. Now I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but if we accept the inevitable, maybe we may take more interest in enjoying every moment and start living differently. Taking on too much and trying to cope with constant stress leads to fatigue. Fatigue stops you from reaching your peak performance level. It has been reported that workers with fatigue cost employers over $136 billion annually (USA) in health related lost productivity time.
Fatigue is the body’s response to sleep loss or continued physical or mental exertion. Your quantity and quality of sleep directly affects your performance, whether in the workplace or on the sporting field, your mind and body cannot function to their full capacity without adequate sleep.
Three simple steps to improve your sleep and reduce your stress:
1. No caffeine after 3pm. Caffeine is a stimulant that has been shown to have a negative effect on sleep even when consumed 6 hours prior to sleep time. Reduce caffeine intake as the day progresses.
2. No screen time 1 hour before bed (leave your phone and other devices outside the bedroom). Using electronic devices and playing video games activate the brain. Electrical activity increases and neurons start to ignite. This activity increases the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies at a time when we need a reduction to enable us to sleep. Also, the light from electronic devices can delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin which is vital for effective sleep.
3. Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day so your body gets into a routine, and aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Keeping a set sleep and awakening time, even on weekends will enhance your sleep quality. It is important to maintain a consistent circadian rhythm to maximise your quality and quantity of sleep.
Try following these simple steps for two weeks and you will see a difference in how you feel. Keep at it, and it will become a habit that will help you maintain peak performance levels. Adequate sleep quantity and quality is one major step in ensuring you are ready to manage stressful situations and enjoy each “moment”.