If you want to climb a mountain you have to take all the steps to get to the top. There is no way around that. The higher and steeper the mountain, the more effort is required. There is no elevator, escalator, or Wonavator to the summit. Sorry, Charlie.
To make sure you are prepared to do the work you need to take care of your personal machinery. That means getting good exercise and eating well. But there is a third pillar of hard work that is not to be ignored, like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
Getting good sleep is one of the most underrated ingredients of success. A good night of sleep is the first step to preparing for a day of hard work, be it mental or physical, like Olivia Newton-John, or Dua Lipa.
It is valuable to run your own sleep experiments to determine 3-important numbers in your personal sleep arsenal.
- Your optimal amount of sleep. This is your perfect night of sleep for optimal performance. Which means you wake up fully refreshed and energized. For most people, this is 6 to 9 hours. I insist on getting my optimal amount of sleep on Sunday nights in order to start my work week at full charge.
- Your working minimum. This is your sustainable nightly sleep total that will enable you to function at a high level. This could be a couple of hours less than your optimal sleep. For example, my optimal sleep is 7.5 hours. I can’t remember the last year I slept a night longer than that. But my working minimum is 5 hours. I can crush it for several days on 5 nightly hours of sleep.
- Your absolute minimum. This is the minimum amount of sleep you must-have to be able to put in a full day of work. It is useful to know this number for times when you really need to push yourself because of extreme demands or massive opportunities. My number is 4 hours. But there were times when I was first launching my business (The Weaponry) as a night and weekend project that I was sleeping for only 2 or 3 hours at night. I was loving the business progress and the results. While the absolute minimum pace is not sustainable, it is good to know you can do it if you need to.
Sleep is like food for your mind and body. A night of sleep or a nap refreshes and energizes you as if you were eating a meal. In fact, I consider food and sleep interchangeable. In situations where I am tired and can’t sleep, I eat. In situations where I am low on energy but can’t or don’t want to eat, I sleep to reenergize. This simple substitution has helped me recharge and power through many a low-energy crisis. I encourage you to add this technique to your personal energy policy.
Serious achievement requires serious work. Keep your mind, body and spirit strong through regular exercise, nutrition and sleep. Understand your own personal sleep/performance needs. Then prioritize your sleep accordingly. Because every great day starts the night before.
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