by Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
You toss and turn all night and just can’t fall asleep or you are suddenly wide awake at 2 am with your mind racing, occupied by various things you have to do. Then, your alarm clock goes off waking you from the little sleep you finally managed to get. You stumble out of bed, have a quick shower, grab coffee and off you go to fight the traffic on the way to the office or client meeting.
Does this sound like a typical day of an entrepreneur? Probably. However, you can’t continue this way for a prolonged period of time without getting sick or burning out. The key to improvement and continued entrepreneurial success is finding a balance between activity, stress and recovery.
Here is what we can learn from athletes:
Most athletes know that getting enough rest after training is essential to high-level performance because the body repairs and strengthens itself between workouts. Essentially, the greater the training intensity and effort, the greater the need for planned recovery as continuous training can actually weaken even the strongest athletes. While it's easy for us to see why athletes need rest and recovery from physical exertion, such as long distance running or heavy weight lifting that puts stress on the body parts the athlete is trying to strengthen. The point is, athletes don’t get stronger when lifting weights — this is the time when they are tearing muscle fibers and getting weaker. It is only during the rest and recovery period that the body begins to heal and adapt so that it is better prepared for future stress. Only then can the athlete continue, taking on even more weight or distance.
Similarly, entrepreneurs can’t be resilient or reach greater heights without sufficient recovery. The key to resilience is trying hard, stopping, recovering, and then trying again, this is critical for entrepreneurs. So, if you spend too much time in the performance zone, you need more time in the recovery zone, otherwise you risk burnout so, the very lack of a recovery period will drastically hold back your ability to be resilient and successful. When the body is out of alignment from overworking, we waste vast amounts of mental and physical resources trying to return to balance before we can move forward or become effective.
Research shows that lack of recovery — whether through sleep deprivation, constant work or continuous cognitive arousal by fixation with our phones — is costing companies a fortune in lost productivity. Not only does recovery prevent creative burnout and cognitive fatigue, but it also fosters breakthrough ideas and discoveries.
So, how do you recover after an extended period of activity?
- Get enough sleep - actually, sleep early enough as hours slept before twelve mid night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.
- Take breaks between your work to recharge, (at least every 90 minutes), do something that gives your mind a rest from what you were focusing on. Take a walk or sit outside.
Bear in mind, breaks spent browsing the internet aren't restorative enough to take your mind out of work mode.
Similarly, if during holidays you get stressed out as a result of making major decisions, such as renovating your home, it means your brain is still hard at work. Ultimately, our brains need rest and recovery as much as our bodies do.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn
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