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Your Organic Clock Cannot be Denied

 If you’re missing out on more than ten hours a week, decide to catch up on your sleep now

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Years back, in a Time magazine feature titled, “Drowsy America,” the director of Stanford University’s sleep center concluded most adults ”no longer know what it feels like to be fully alert.” The National Sleep Foundation found that about 7 in 10 adults are getting too little sleep, and nearly 6 in 10 suffer from some type of insomnia at least once a week. These people are not simply a little groggy or sluggish, but completely and undeniably walking around as if in a stupor.

Experts tend to agree that three to four hours of sleep once a week won’t cause any long-term problems. You might feel terrible the next day, but you can recover somewhat by going to bed earlier the next evening, or napping if that is an option for you. You might have to force yourself to get into bed at 8:30 or 9:00 on evenings when you’d rather be up and about, but do it – your body will thank you.

If you’re missing out on more than ten hours a week, decide to catch up on your sleep now before you further diminish your capabilities. Recovery may take a month or more, but it will be worth it.

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The System Prevails

In The Organic Clock, author Kenneth Rose observes that each part and function of your body has its own timing. A heartbeat, breathing, speaking, and even hiccuping have their own rhythm. If you sleep too little (or for that matter, too much), you will disrupt internal cycles that required millions of years to evolve.

Rose also found that each of your body’s functions are reset every 24 hours which parallels the natural daily light cycle. Every essence of your being is subject to this circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the daily cycle of activity in living organisms. Altering that rhythm for a prolonged period will prove to be contrary to your own physiology.

In his little known book, The 24-Hour Society, Martin Moore-Ede observes that certain times of the day are important to sleep through, such as between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., when human physiology is at its lowest level of alertness. Highest alertness, by the way, is between 9:00 a.m. and noon, and also 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

If you happen to be short on sleep some particular day, light exercise such as stretching or a brief walk is good idea. Your energy level may perk up for an hour or two. If you have the opportunity to nap, that would help as well.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Avoid Traveling on the Road Most Trammeled

It is within your capability to minimize the daily level of self-induced stress that you typically incur

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Stress is a constant factor in the lives of nearly all career professionals. Much of the stress we experience, however, is self-induced. In other words, we generate stress as a result of our own actions rather than it emanating from an external source.

When we try to cram too much into a day, an hour, or whatever time we have available, the resulting experience is stress. When we take on too much in terms of what we buy, what we manage, what we need to organize, or what we’re simply trying to keep pace with, the predictable outcome is the experience of stress.

What if it was within your capability to minimize the daily level of self-induced stress that you typically incur? The excellent news is that it is within your power. By taking a few small steps in the course of the day, you can minimize the stress that you might otherwise experience based on self-generated behaviors.

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Here are some ideas to help you avoid traversing the road most trammeled, i.e., incurring self-induced stress:

Acknowledge that you generally do your best work when you’re in control of your immediate environment. If you have a pressing issue to handle, or something that requires mental consternation, take the time to secure your immediate environment. If you need quiet, post signs, turn the sound off on your cell phone, or hide from the rest of the office if it helps. The 10- to 20-minute stretches of solitude that you carve out for yourself to tackle challenging tasks can yield immediate rewards. Not only do you often finish tasks more quickly than you had first presumed, you’re able to turn to the next task more readily.

Recognize the most vital times of the day for you to tackle challenging tasks. For most people, based on current studies, these times are 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Your productivity peaks might be somewhat different. In any case, you need to know when they occur.

Realize that some tasks, especially those you haven’t attempted before, require extra care and attention. These often include math calculations or arranging items in sequence. If you opt to tackle such tasks when you know you’re more likely to be energetic, focused, and ready to proceed, you have a higher probability of succeeding.

Establish relationships with co-workers so that you support one another in your quest to get things done. Thus, you respect each other’s quiet times, especially if you have presented such times to one another. For example, you might say, “I need Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 to myself.” Also, avoid sending extraneous emails and texts to co-workers that they don’t need to receive. Shorten long memos that can be summarized in a paragraph or two. Cut down on sending anything that could wait ‘til later, be discussed in person, or appears neither important nor urgent.

Leave yourself some slack. If you jam-pack your calendar with tasks and activities, day after day and week after week, when something happens out of the ordinary — an emergency, an imposed deadline, or some shift in your areas of responsibility — you undoubtedly experience stress. By allowing a little slack in your daily calendar, even five to 10 minutes here and there, you establish a built-in safety cushion of sorts. Even if addressing an emergency requires more time than the slack time you built in, you still feel a bit better about tackling the issue because you have some slack. As a result, self-induced stress tends to diminish.

For the balance of your career, you’ll experience stress from many sources. Hopefully, most them are external, not self-induced. With awareness, forethought, and planning, you can keep self-induced stress to a reasonable minimum. – – – – –

 

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Life

When Individuals’ Rights Erode Civil Society

Merely because you have a right to express yourself doesn’t mean you should

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Should individuals’ rights be allowed to erode civil society? It’s a tricky question. Some groups in America have been founded on a noble purpose–to preserve the rights of the individual. What happens, however, when preserving the rights of the individual contributes to the erosion of society?

Under the guise of free speech and individual rights, some organizations defend those who keep pushing the envelope of crassness and vulgarity for publicity and profit. What if tens of thousands of budding songwriters begin to emulate the worst of rap videos? What if everyone decides to create horrific, violent, titillating, misogynistic videos?

What if everyone sports tattoos on their arms, backs, and shoulders, or wears nose rings, eyebrow rings, and nipple rings? Such behavior doesn’t clog our roadways, and is a matter of individual choice, so what harm does it cause to society?

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Beyond the Hospital Emergency Room

Apart from the health aspects of body piercings (data indicate a sizable number of participants experience serious infection and hepatitis), they pose problems of safety to both the individual indulging in the behavior and to others nearby. What happens when such rings catch on clothes, switches, buttons, or technological gadgets? As a society, do we accept visitors to hospital emergency rooms on Saturday nights whose body piercings have resulted in serious health conditions?

Since taxpayer dollars fund healthcare services for many, including expensive emergency room visits, the negative health impacts of certain behaviors incur a direct cost to all citizens. Likewise, we pay social costs when crudity is broadcast to us and to our children.

Vulgar public speech and potentially health-damaging body piercings might be permissible free speech, but are they therefore desirable? In our evermore-interconnected existence, individual choices have vast impacts on others.

Do you think that talk show guests discussing topics like leniency for incest and infidelity understand the ramifications of their behavior? What if everyone they know and you know did what they suggest? Would relationships break down? Would families fracture? Within a single generation, would all of society break down?

Impacting One Another

The idea of expanding what we do, and surmising what effect it would have if it were socially pervasive behavior, yields a hands-on realization: What we do and how we behave is important. So is what our neighbors do and how they behave.

Generally, the more densely populated your town, the more vital it is to recognize that your behavior  impacts those around you. If you live in a suburban setting, where farm animals are otherwise few and far between, but choose to house a rooster in your backyard, your choice most definitely impacts people all around you.

Perhaps a neighbor gets off the late shift at 2 a.m. and needs to be sound asleep… while you bird starts crowing at 5:30 a.m. …every morning. The zoning laws of your town might state that it’s legal for you to house a rooster in your backyard. As such, is exercising your right conducive to harmonious relations with your neighbors?

My Opinion, and Welcome to It

Suppose you feel strongly about a political issue and post signs facing the street in your living room window. As you become more vigilant, you place a sign on your porch. Later, you place some signs on your lawn. Perhaps you’ve adorned your car bumper stickers with highly politicized messages.

The above actions likely are within your legal rights. Is your free expression, however, undermining the peace and tranquility in your otherwise quiet neighborhood? Suppose you’re a Democrat and your signs rankle neighborhood Republicans. Suppose the opposite is true. Do you not have other forums in which to express yourself?

What if your neighbor across the street is perturbed by your partisan display and responds in kind with his own set of banners, signs, and bumper stickers? Have the two of you improved the neighborhood? What if everyone in the neighborhood starts up? How long will it be before signs disappear as opposing neighbors start pilfering from each other?

Forethought Abandoned

Merely because you have a right to express yourself, in this manner or in that, doesn’t mean you ought to or that it’s advisable. Free expression, without any regard to context and greater ramifications, can undermine a neighborhood, as it can undermine a society.

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