The Secret to Success?

Although I am a bit saddened to see the summer ending, I admit there is one thing the increasing darkness contributes toward making my life significantly better. When it gets dark earlier, I can go to bed earlier.

I am a night owl and always have been. It’s been a bit of a challenge in the corporate environment since companies expect for employees to have butts in seats at a time I consider early. Like 8:00 a.m.  Even as the CEO of my own company, I find it hard to throw off a couple decades of work habits. Truth be told, I feel guilty if I am not at least reading email and drinking coffee before 9:00 a.m. And not still wearing my bunny slippers.

On the flip side, I am completely able to stay up deep into the double-digit hours indulging myself in my creative pursuits. There is no guilt, and despite evidence to the contrary I can always convince myself that tomorrow won’t be that hard to get through.

So the other night, after one more experience of nodding off inappropriately in the middle of the afternoon, I made a pact that I would go to bed early that night. I did, and lo-and-behold, I found out something the next morning that surprised me. Here is my big “ah ha”. Jumping rope and boxing is MUCH EASIER when you have had enough sleep.

This doesn’t appear to be rocket science, and actually seems like an elementary conclusion. But I had been using my morning torture session at the gym as the means to wake me up by forcing a bunch of air into my lungs and extremities. I even thought it was working (since I obviously didn’t interrogate reality in any meaningful fashion). I was fully invested in the notion that a morning workout would make my mind sharper and enhance all of my pursuits of the day. And substitute for sleeping, which seemed to be interfering with my pursuits of happiness.

I tested my discovery for the next three nights. Not only did my workouts get more fun, more productive, and less painful, but my work became crisper, more focused, easier, and actually quite a bit better.

I am sold.

If you are one of those over-stressed folks that I work with every day, changing your life could be as simple as longer sessions with your favorite pillow. I know, you are all way too busy and there is  just not enough time in the day. I agree. But indulge me and try increasing your sleep for just three nights in a row. I think you may find a new normal and a new path to success.

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One Response to The Secret to Success?

  1. Bryce says:

    Hi Maryann…. I’d like to second your thoughts on going to bed earlier and working out in the AM. I definitely feel better and sharper when I do both. As an aside, cardio exercise improves one’s ability to think. Here’s an article that I think you’ll enjoy – it connects CEOs, exercise and productivity.

    http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/running-brainpower?fullpage=true

    Bryce

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