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4 Habits That Are Keeping You Up at Night

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 30% of employed American adults get under six hours of sleep per day.

Lisa Evans

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Tired

We all know the health risks of lack of sleep, yet despite warnings of increased risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiac conditions, most of us fall short of the recommended seven to nine hours of shut eye per day. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 30% of employed American adults get under six hours of sleep per day.

Lack of sleep is a serious problem for business. Dr Michael Breus, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4 Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health (Dutton, 2006) says sleep can cause you to make bad business decisions. “The more sleep deprived you are, the more emotional your decision-making becomes, the slower you react and the slower you think,” says Breus.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School found one-third of American workers aren’t getting enough shut-eye to function at peak levels and this chronic exhaustion is costing companies billions of dollars in lost productivity. Being a smart sleeper is just as important as being a smart entrepreneur, but lack of sleep often goes undiagnosed.

While you may think you’re getting enough sleep, if you answer yes to any of the questions below, chances are you aren’t reaping the benefits of your slumber.

Are you in asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow?
“If you fall asleep in less than ten minutes, this is a sure sign you’re significantly sleep deprived,” says Breus. Sleep is a process that takes approximately 30 minutes for the body to complete.

“Sleep is not an on/off switch. It’s more like pulling your foot off the gas and slowly putting it on the brakes. There’s a process that needs to occur and the body needs time to shut down properly,” says Breus.

Do you enjoy a drink before bed?
“Alcohol is a muscle relaxant,” says Breus. While alcohol may help you hit the pillow faster by calming you down, it has a negative impact on your quality of sleep. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so it may wake you in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and keeps you out of the deep stages of sleep (REM sleep), causing multiple awakenings and leaving you feeling fatigued the next day.

Do you exercise right before bedtime?
While it’s true people who exercise sleep better than those who don’t, Breus recommends completing your workout at least 90 minutes before bedtime. “That’s how long it takes for your body to cool down,” he says. Exercise raises your core body temperature, which needs to drop to signal the brain to release melatonin – a hormone that signals your body to shut down for the night.

Do you have coffee in the evening?
While you may be able to fall asleep after drinking a cup of coffee, your body will feel caffeine’s stimulant effects into the night. “The average person metabolises caffeine in about eight to ten hours,” says Breus. Drinking coffee late in the evening disrupts the body’s natural sleep patterns and leaves you feeling sluggish the next morning.

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Self Development

How You Can Make Failing Part Of Your Growth Strategy

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

Entrepreneur

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failure-dominoes

The concept of ‘fail forward’ basically means that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Once you shift your mindset regarding failure, it becomes an asset to your growth. What’s not to like about learning?

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

1. Take risks

If it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it, then it’s okay to embrace the idea of taking more risks. Try new things and see if they’ll work. If they don’t, then at least you’ve tried and learnt.

Related: Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune

2. Learn constantly

Failing and learning shouldn’t be one-offs or isolated incidents. They should weave together in a constant stream of learning that builds and rewards as we move forward. That way, we can improve and eventually succeed more often than we fail.

3. Search and reapply

Learn from each other’s mistakes. Marketing is a spectator sport — you can learn from watching each other’s brand activities — both the wins and losses.

4. Accept failure

This one is the hardest step. It’s not easy to fail. It’s not something we’re taught to do. It distracts us from our mission and it takes time away from being successful. Or does it? If you start failing forward daily, not only for yourself, but for your teams as well, you will create an environment where failing forward is accepted and embraced as part of a learning culture that seeks continuous improvement. That improvement includes actively learning from your individual and collective mistakes.

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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