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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Feed the Monster in the Still of the Night!

A hard-driving, Type-A entrepreneur told me late one night that he has trouble sleeping. He argues that nothing gets done at night. His future is so promising that he wants to be productive all the time. Between the lack of productivity, the endless demands, and the anticipation of the next day, he stays awake chomping at the bit. I calmly told my friend to feed the monster in the still of the night.

In this case the monster represents all the challenges that an over-extended professional has to fight. The monster is the anxiety of competition, the eagerness to please clients, the endless to-do lists, and the family obligations that must be prioritized. The snarling beast is preventing you from doing the work that you need to do, while threatening to devour you when you don’t get it done. Simply put, feed the monster in the still of the night means compartmentalize work pressures to recharge yourself to be most productive when your energy level is highest.

The daily stresses will not truly be resolved in the middle of the night. However, rearranging your time, activities and priorities so that the monster feasts while you re-energize is productive. Strategies to feed the monster and turn stress-time to productivity-time include:

Leisure Time is Progress Time
Busy professionals must thoroughly understand their personal schedules. Time that is not focused on work can still be productive. Business golf is the classic example. Time spent enhancing business relationships doing an activity that you enjoy is still time spent enhancing business relationships. Same with leisure time with the family. Being in the moment with the family does not require avoiding professionally or intellectually stimulating activities. Casually connecting with other parents surrounding youth soccer games, choir performances, or birthday parties can also be valuable. Chances are that other parents are likewise wrestling with maintaining balance and will appreciate the understanding ear. Sharing challenges build great relationships.

Progress Is a Choice
While the monster eats, shut down. Letting the monster gnaw at your problems, while saving a few for yourself, is counterproductive. Even worse is identifying more problems after feeding the first batch to the monster. Pursuing new problems is regression. Regression is the exact opposite of progress, and a poor alternative. Rest and recharge. In the morning, before the monster and your problems awaken, choose to speed toward achieving new daily goals.

Excellence Is a Habit
The key to sprinting toward high performance in the morning is greeting the day with a refreshed attitude. New challenges await, so start pursuing them before the previous days anxieties start chasing you. Eventually, the monster will awake and wreak havoc. Excellence is definitely a habit. It is practiced and sharpened every day. Optimally, excellence requires an energized mind and a productive routine. Exercise, meditation, accountability conversations are effective tools, but find the routine that personally makes sense.

To maximize productivity, monitor closely what enters your mind. You don’t always have to be working. But, all behaviors must focus on contributing. Reading, puzzles, Ted Talks are attractive alternatives. Entertain yourself with experiences that will stimulate conversations, ideas, and progress toward your goals. Recognize that “the thinking that created the problem cannot be the same thinking used to solve it”. Be willing to change your thinking. Such tactics change the process of engaging the monster, and consequently increasing your productivity. Feed the monster to distract the monster. Set aside life’s anxieties. Focus energy on your goals, then productively pursue your desired outcomes.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

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October 20, 2014 - Posted by | Better Business, Better Person | , , , , ,

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