The journey towards achieving your goals and ambitions can be a very long one. Great things require patience and consistency. Great things take time.
If you are going on a long journey you make sure the vehicle that you take is well serviced, maintained and fuelled during the trip. You make sure your vehicle is in a good condition for long journeys. In a similar way in your journey toward achieving your goals and ambitions you must take good care of yourself.
The common perception around the world is that being busy all the time means a person is very productive. The mindset is that downtime is very inefficient and wasteful, people should be busy all the time.
This leads to people working twenty hours a day, seven days a week. People taking all-nighters working on projects. People taking drugs or medication that keeps them awake for longer hours so they can continue working.
Working very hard to achieve your goals and dreams is very good for progress, but it is possible to work too hard for your own good. Dr Mark Orpen-Lyall questioned whether working hard for long hours is sustainable in the NoDaysOff: Are we fooling ourselves? article.
If you don’t draw the line somewhere, work will consume all of your energy, and you will inevitably burn out. If you want to be productive you must set limits. Juggling hundreds of tasks, lots of projects for long hours continuously is not sustainable. You risk producing low quality work, burnout and ultimately failure.
Human beings are not machines. As a human being you are not meant to act like a robot. You need to rest, relax, sleep and play in order to function properly. If you want to increase your chances of achieving your goals and ambitions you must have a balance between working hard and taking care of yourself.
How To Take Care of Yourself
Sleep well. Many people sleep less so they can work more, but the drop in performance as a result of sleep deprivation ruins any potential benefits of working additional hours. Sleep is critical for the renewal and repair of the body. Sleep is when your brain re-organises information, clears out irrelevant information, boosts your memory by connecting the experiences of the last 24 hours to your previous experiences, and facilitates learning and neural growth. You must sleep well and ensure you do not deprive yourself of this important recovery phase.
Eat well. Its very easy to come back home everyday after a hard day at work and buy some junk food for dinner at the closest fast food outlet. It saves you time, you don’t have to make a home cooked meal or think about what to eat, since you are already so tired from work. However eating junk food often is not good for your body. Most of us already know junk food is unhealthy. The poor nutrition from junk food is related to heart problems, high blood pressure, and a host of other health ailments. If you are unhealthy, achieving your goals and ambitions becomes even more difficult. Your best course of action is to avoid having junk food often. A cheat day once in a while may be allowed but don’t let it become a habit.
Physical exercise. Most of us already know some form of regular exercise is good for us. The health benefits of physical activity and regular exercise are hard to ignore. Some of the benefits include, controlling your weight, combating health conditions and diseases, improving your mood and boosting energy. Regular exercise also clears your mind and allows you to focus on something other than the daily stress of work. Building a regular exercising habit will definitely increase your chances of achieving your goals and ambitions. The best way to make exercise a habit is to start with an exercise that is so easy that you can do it even when you are running low on willpower and motivation.
Play. Take part in non work activities. Some people call it the work/life balance. You should still take part in social activities outside of work. Meet up with your friends and family, go for coffee or drinks. Your friends and family are your support base when things are going well and when things are not going well. You must remain social and not keep yourself locked up just doing work. A lot of ideas are generated or refined by talking to other people. Going for social activities allows you to have a life outside just your goals and ambitions. This will turn out to be very important when things are not going well. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends and family.
You are often so focussed on your goals and ambitions that you only prioritise working hard in your life. Focus is a good thing. Working hard is good for progress. However you should remember that in order to reach peak productivity you must take care of yourself. Keep your engine functioning and well maintained for the journey toward success.