Consistency and predictability are supremely important to people in a leadership position. Care enough about your employees, your peers, your kids, friends and spouse to present a consistent persona. That way none of the people you care about have to waste their time figuring out what is going on in your head and how to approach you.
Below you will find important tools to maintaining consistency.
b. Sleep. Losing out on even an hour or two of sleep from your necessary 8.5 to 6.5 hours of sleep promotes obesity and shortens your ability to concentrate. Serious sleep deprivation, such as missing out on two or three hours of sleep a night reduces your ability to make executive or high level decisions, the kind you need to use when dealing with people you care about. Getting only a few hours of sleep really messes with your mind and your ability to function. How much does this kind of sleep deprivation affect you? Short term, the affect is about the same as two shots of vodka. Long term, the affect approaches psychosis. If a doctor had two shots of vodka and then wanted to operate on you, you would run screaming from the hospital. You would insist that the doctor be fired. So, why do we let doctors operate on us when they have had only two hours of sleep? I digress.
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c. Drugs and alcohol. There is enough literature about this and enough concern that I won’t go into it here.
d. Caffeine. Caffeine, in moderation unless you are sensitive to it, is a boon to energy, concentration, reaction time, and stamina. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you might feel nervous, experience heart palpitations, loss of sleep and other symptoms. How much is too much? Most people are fine with three to four cups of coffee or their equivalent a day. Most people’s sleep is affected if they take caffeine in the evening. There are outliers and the brain is very powerful in overcoming this legal stimulant.
My father-in-law can have an espresso at 10:00 PM and go to sleep at midnight and sleep like a baby. I can’t have caffeine much past 3:00 PM and expect uninterrupted sleep. My father-in-law is European. In Europe, caffeine is pretty much seen as an elixir. Literally hundreds of European studies show this to be the case. US studies, recent ones, now confirm this.
e. Napping. Humans are the only mammal that does not nap during the day. My beagle can sleep 20 hours a day unless he is on a scent. I am convinced that my last cat, Grayness, the prince of mid-air or Catapult, found a hole in the space-time continuum that allowed him to sleep 27 hours a day. A power nap after lunch of 20 minutes proceeded by a cup of coffee will have amazing positive effects for most people and not affect your ability to fall asleep at night at all.
Action Items/Activity Triggers
1. Monitor yourself
2. Get enough sleep. Enough sleep is 6.5 to 8.5 hours for most people. Any less does you short-term and long-term harm.
3. Drugs and Alcohol. The literature is there. Pay attention to it.
4. Caffeine, in moderation, three to four cups of coffee a day, is an elixer for most people except those unfortunates who have a sensitivity to it.
5. All animals nap, except humans. Naps are natural, and a short, less than 45 minute, power nap after lunch has amazing restorative powers