Sunday, August 9, 2009

Midday Slump

If your once-a-day-sluggish-mode is as predictable as Florida’s afternoon summer storms read on.

Creativity. Productivity. A focused mind. These days we want it all, all the time, 100%.

But how we go about achieving it is no standard formula. To combat sluggishness some reach for the coffee, some go for the sweets, but not that many of us go for a little exercise.

I wonder why.

After all, we all remember the first time we ever did something physically demanding or out of the ordinary, like skiing, riding a roller coaster, sky diving, having a faster than usual run or bike ride, etc.…how could we forget? That feeling of I CAN DO ANYTHING-ness mixed with James Cameron’s Oscar acceptance King of the World-ness. Why would we not want to recapture it daily?

What ever happened to us that we taught ourselves to compartmentalize so neatly our humanness and its needs inside and outside of the office? If our bodies have reached a slump why not get creative and truly look for what works for each of us?

"If it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever." David Letterman.

Coffee, water, sodas, and sweets may do the trick –momentarily- for most of us (after all, Bach wrote his famous Coffee Cantata under the influence of, what else but caffeine...), but why not get friendly with natural endorphins all over again? Exercise causes these morphine-like compounds to naturally be released into the blood stream. Endorphins, in turn, enhance creativity and productivity. And, best of all, you don’t have to jump out of a plane to experience this natural high, something as simple as a brisk walk will do the trick.

My wife and I are runners and, since we run at a different pace, we often meet and share our ‘running thoughts’ during our cool down walk. These thoughts are usually the most creative of the day and often the catalyst to major ideas for our business and our lives.

Besides the obvious, how does this information affect you as a leader in your place of business?

Well, these days more and more companies are encouraging their employees to take measures to stay healthy (thus productive and creative), some build gyms on site, some offer free or discounted gym memberships, many have showers on site to accommodate those who ride to work, and a few go as far as remunerating their team members to stay fit and healthy. This is a win-win investment as studies show that, within the companies that advocate fitness and prevention, absenteeism is down and so are their overall health care costs.

So, if you are feeling sluggish, gray, unfocused and unproductive stop pushing yourself through that quick-sand pace and, instead, set the example and try something different. Take a walk, run or even grab a cup of Joe if that’s what works best for you. But when you come back to your desk share your running (or coffee) thoughts, they are likely to be some of the best of your day.

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