Less than 1% of people are living this way. Do you want to be more engaged and productive in life? Try these techniques. I guess I always knew it and suggested it to my coaching clients, but I must have thought I was above it. "I’m a busy business woman and can do everything with no need to rest and recover. I have to I don't have time to rest." Wrong! Being busy and being productive are far from the same thing. Most people are trying to do too much. The desire to “keep up” has them doing more, living less, and deceiving themselves into believing they’ve actually made progress. In order to do this, you must properly “recover” from the following things on a daily basis: 1. Work 2. Technology 3. People 4. Food 5. Fitness 6. Being awake Unless you adequately recover in these areas, your life is a mess. You might think you are doing great, but try it once. By adequately recovering, you’ll be empowered to more fully engage in these activities. Recovery is essential to success in all areas of life. 1. Recover from Work Many people are overcommitted at work. The American way is do everything better, faster and cheaper. Some people also think they can handle work projects a lot better/faster than their colleagues or they just won’t do it right. Does anyone take the time to look at the cost-benefit of these work behaviors? Are YOU overcommitted? On a scale from 1 (low commitment) to 4 (high over commitment), how would you rate yourself on the following questions? 1. I get easily overwhelmed by time pressures at work. 2. As soon as I get up in the morning I start thinking about work problems. 3. When I get home, I can easily relax and ‘switch off’ work. (reverse coded) 4. People close to me say I sacrifice too much for my job. 5. Work rarely lets me go, it is still on my mind when I go to bed. 6. If I postpone something that I was supposed to do today I’ll have trouble sleeping at night. You need to set proper and healthy boundaries/constraints for yourself to give your body and mind time to recover. Unless you do, you are not living a sustainable lifestyle. Unless you create healthy boundaries — your work, health, and relationships are being compromised. If you do not fully recover from work you will not stay energetic, engaged, and healthy when facing job demands. “Recovery” is the process of reducing or eliminating physical and psychological strain/stress caused by work. 2. Recover from Technology In our technology-overwhelmed world, the only way to properly recover from work is to set healthy boundaries on your technology. Smartphones are killing us. We can’t get away and unplug unless you turn them off! Many of us react and look at them with every little beep or notification. A work email to respond to, a new post on Facebook, how many likes did MY post get, who tweeted what, and I don’t even know all the apps the millennials and young people are on. Some people even say they go through withdrawal if they are not on their phones for a few hours. Not good. There was life before smartphones people. Smartphone additions contribute to the major shift in behaviors over the last few years. People have less focus, distract easier, less engaged in life, more depression, desire to withdraw, etc. A study found that the average person checks their smartphone over 85 times per day, and spends more than five hours browsing the web and using apps. Most people don’t even realize it. Any screen time within 1-2 hours before bed disrupts your sleep. Besides the light from the screens, we need to disconnect and start to wind down our minds. Your body prefers to cycle with the sun. If you are in front of the light of a screen and the waves it gives your body the wrong signals. The triggers in your environment directly influence your behavior. If you have a TV in your bedroom, your sleep will suffer. If you use your smartphone before bed and keep it next to your bed, your sleep will suffer. If you check your smartphone immediately upon waking up, your engagement in the rest of your day will suffer. Like work, proper boundaries must be set on technology, particularly smartphones if you want to live an optimal life. You need to recover from your technology and smartphones. 3. Recover from People “Time alone is really essential, to get away and contemplate, think, and wonder.” — Jim Rohn Just as you need recovery from work and technology, you also need some healthy recovery from people. Even if it’s just 20–60 minutes per day, you need some time to think, reflect, ponder, and plan. This is huge for me. I really need my alone time to recover, decompress and plan. Some successful entrepreneurs I know schedule 30-60 minutes in the middle of their day to be by themselves. Time to think creatively and strategically. This isn’t about being introvert or extrovert. We all need time with people and time alone. If you’re not getting at least 20–30 minutes of non-distracted alone time to think big picture or even specific, you’re not living optimally. Ready to start to fully recover? 4. Recover from Food Your body, and mind, need to recover from food and all the toxins we take in through. If not daily, you should let your body recover from food a couple times a year by doing a 10 to 14-day cleanse. Some people feel you should fast to recover from food, but I feel that puts the body in starvation mode, so I feel it’s not the best for most people. Especially if your body is in a stressed situation already. A food based cleanse is a better way to recover from the bad food choices we make. By just eating a meal with lots of vegetables and a light protein for one meal each day or your body is given the opportunity to take a break from the hard work of digesting heavy proteins and processed foods and filtering toxins and is able to repair and rebuild itself. If you prefer to do more of a fast try only eating between 7am to 5pm or some 9-10 hr window leaving 14 hours for your body to recover and not digest. This is not advised if you are a major athlete or workout a lot and need the healthy carbs for energy. Otherwise your body will start using its own muscles for nutrition if it doesn’t get enough. Doing it this way you will also want to eat a lot of clean protein and healthy fats to keep your body satisfied. By cleansing or mini-fasting on a regular basis you can: • Improve your energy and immunity • Re-boot your body for self-healing • Decreased inflammation • Start to clear up skin issues • Improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels • Have clearer thinking, and more 5. Recover from Fitness It may sound strange, but many people exercise too much. Like the other areas of their lives, most people seem to prefer quantity over quality. Optimal fitness requires lots of good sleep and recovery. Most professional athletes get way more sleep than you’d expect. They also take many rest-days to allow for full recovery, so that when they do train, they can fully-engage. Also, the idea of multi-tasking is now know to be counterproductive. Don’t try to run on the treadmill or bike and read email or a book. I am always amazed at how many people can’t set their phones down for 30-60 minutes to do a workout. Like in all areas of life, quality focused activity is best for optimal performance in each area. Be present in each activity you are doing and you will feel and live better. Prioritize what is really important to you and focus on those activities and do them well. Don’t spread yourself too thin in multiple areas. You need to set boundaries on what you let into your life. I know this and struggle with it all the time. I know I am slowing my progress down by trying to do too many different things. By saying yes to so many things you are really saying no to fully enjoying the few things you value which make you unhappy in life in the long run. If your health is a priority, show that and put the electronics down as also mentioned last week. 6. Recover from Being Awake Sleep is almost the most important thing we can do to repair our bodies and minds. Similar to food, without sleep you will die. Sleep is essential. If you are not prioritizing sleep, your life is probably a mess. 100%. Yet, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result. From sleep conditions to daytime sleepiness that are severe enough to interfere with our daily activities, most people experience the effects of not getting enough sleep at some time in their lives if not constantly, which can lead to chronic health issues later in life. On the flipside, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to: • Increased memory • Longer life • Decreased inflammation • Increased creativity • Increased attention and focus • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise • Lower stress • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine • Decreased risk of depression • And tons more… google it. To compound the problem of not getting enough sleep may people try to use stimulants to make up for it. This puts your body farther into health issues and increases the need for repair. All areas of your life will suffer if you don’t get enough sleep. Conclusion If you want to live an optimal life, you need to RECOVER. You need to recover from: 1. Work 2. Technology 3. People 4. Food 5. Fitness 6. Being awake If you’re fine being tired, stressed, and sub-optimal, don’t worry about recovery. Continue to do what you are doing and let me know how you feel in five to ten years. Unless you recover from the damage you do to your body every day, you will never truly be living a full life. You’ll always be half-living, distracted, stressed, and unhealthy. Over the next week pick one of these areas and be all in. If you just try a little bit you won’t fully experience the benefit. Please come back and report how it has changed your life. Next week we’ll tackle the other three.