Wednesday, May 6, 2015

8 Hours of Sleep: The Key to Leading in Life and Management

Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) impressed and inspired me the moment she walked on stage at the 2015 Marketo conference keynote three weeks ago.

‘Having it all’ found her in a pool of her own blood as her cheek bone hit the corner of her desk when she fainted from exhaustion. This moment led her on a journey to discover that having it all isn’t being proud of 24/7 availability and boasting about only sleeping 4 hours a night.

Having it all means 8 hours of sleep! This was one of those hand to forehead, Homer Simpson d’oh moments. Think about it. Every time I get a straight eight, I’m unstoppable. I make better decisions. I work out. I am more patient. Loving. Creative.

Which leads me to another great quote from Arianna’s keynote – “Nothing kills creative more than stress!”

And what’s more stressful than moving from meeting to meeting from 8am to 6pm? No breaks. Your in box keeps growing. A question for us all. Are we ever really present?

Arianna challenged us all to be present in our lives. From work to home to a simple walk to the coffee shop. To be present means you listen and you notice. You engage.

That led me to immediately change my meeting rules. No devices. Paper only. If you can’t be present, don’t accept the meeting.

That also meant I had to take a hard look at my engagement at home. “Mommy, why do you always type on that computer?” “Mommy, stop looking at your phone! Look at me!” Guilty.

Now my phone goes on vibrate when I walk in the door. I turned on the ‘do not disturb’ function from 9pm to 6am. And my status update is a conversation looking eyeball to eyeball with my husband… not my Facebook ‘friends.’

So far I still have a great career. I haven’t missed a deadline. My oldest daughter has stopped asking me to be a stay at home mom. And my daily trips to Starbucks have decreased from 3 to 1 a week.

Off to get my 8 hours… zzz.  

p.s. Arianna aims to change the zeitgeist of present day always on business culture. Her four pillars to having it all in life: Wellness. Wisdom. Wonder. Giving. If you’re inspired, read her book Thrive

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