Leading yourself well sets you up to lead others well. Part of leading yourself is knowing when and where you’re at your best. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you plan weeks in advance or wait til the last minute? Are you inspired by nature or energized by the city?
Here’s a list of 10 things I know bring out the best in me. Do I need all ten to be my best? Not necessarily. But if I go too long without any of these my performance starts to tank.
1. Shower & Shave. I get more great ideas in the shower than in any other place on earth. I don’t know why and I don’t care – it just works. And not shaving makes me feel lazy – unless I’m in the wild, then it makes me feel manly.
2. Time Outside. I develop cabin fever quickly. Rain, snow or sunshine it doesn’t matter – I’ve got to get out of the house or office frequently or my mind starts to cave in on itself.
3. Exercise. The pain, the endorphins, the sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel more alive, active and alert throughout the day.
4. Good Food. Irregular or unhealthy eating (usually due to traveling) cause me to lose focus and energy. I find that when I eat well, I lead well.
5. Water. Cold and clear, it’s by far my favorite drink (lucky me). I get headaches and lose clarity when I’m dehydrated. When I drink enough, I also eat less (but I do go to the bathroom more!).
6. Sleep. Not too much, not too little. For me, 6-8 hours is optimum. More than that and I start to drag throughout the day. Less than that and I get irritable and my decision-making is impaired.
7. Play. I’m serious about having fun. I don’t schedule play, I let it into everything. Fun makes everything better. Ideas, relationships, solutions, meetings, workshops, learning – they’re all enhanced by fun.
8. Time alone. I’m an introvert in an extroverted job. I’m also married to an amazing, extroverted woman. I schedule – and defend – my time alone to recharge. If I don’t, I’m no use to my family, my colleagues or my clients.
9. Tidy workspace. This I have to work at. I’m not a naturally organized individual, but I know how much a visually de-cluttered space improves the quality and efficiency of my work.
10. Tidy Mind. Ideas and thoughts stream through my mind at broadband speeds all the time. I must have a system to record everything – get it out of my head – so I can fully focus on what I’m doing at any given moment. My current system uses Things, Evernote, and a Moleskine journal.
What about you? When are you at your best?