This week I was at a presentation by a local osteopath, Dale Hardiman which was about how you can optimise your productivity through looking after yourself. It was a bit of an eye opener. Obviously I am aware of the health benefits to eating, exercising and sleeping well, but I hadn’t really thought about how my health could affect my business.

Effectively, poor health = poor productivity. Oh dear.

Dale talked about a triad of life elements that if not kept at a good level could have an adverse effect on your well-being and consequently, your productivity. There are no surprises here, but when you start to think of these as affecting your ability to be successful in life, then maybe we need to take a second look.

Firstly, sleep was discussed. Apparently 7 hours unbroken sleep is the optimum amount we should have to wake up feeling refreshed. (I immediately thought of the cat and her ‘I’m hungry!’ meow at 5.30). For most of us, that means a different going-to-bed time, but Dale also had a few pointers to get the unbroken bit sorted. Here are some of his ideas:

  • Sleep in the dark. Turn off any unnecessary LED lights that could fool your body that it is day time. And get a blackout blind if you live near a street lamp.
  • Keep your phone away from your side. I have heard to keep it downstairs, which is something I have now trained myself to do, but if you have it upstairs, Dale recommends an app called f.lux which turns the blue light to a red based one which does not set off ‘wake up’ hormones in your brain. It also means that you are not disturbed by the endless stream of things that come to your phone all night.
  • Have a caffeine cut-off. Try to make sure that you are not still full of caffeine when you go to bed. It takes around 6 hours for caffeine to leave your body, so make sure that you don’t have too much in the day and stop 6 hours before you want to be asleep.
  • Have an empty bladder before you go to bed. Any major movement in the night will make your body go into natural wake up mode and pump in cortisol to get you ready for the day. This has a natural shelf life so if you then go back to bed, it is all used up when you actually want to get up.

If you don’t manage the whole 7 hours unbroken sleep, a 20 minute nap in the day can help to negate the negative effects of lack of sleep.

Secondly, Dale talked about exercise and movement. He explained that you are far more productive if you take time out for movement during your working day and to start the day with exercise will kickstart your body into action, make you happier and more alert throughout the day.

To complete the triad, Dale discussed the benefit of a protein-high diet to keep you alert. He suggested building carbs into your day as the day wore on, keeping the negative benefits of carbs from slowing you down in the morning. He finished by saying that if you eat food that has been grown or that was once alive instead of food substitutes, this will also have great benefits for your body long term.

So how does this affect you? What changes can you make to you daily routine that will have benefits for your whole day? Yes, we all should be a bit healthier, but if that healthiness can make you have a better day, every day, maybe we can start tweaking here or there and be more productive, more energised and more successful. Start with one! Today 🙂

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