Sleeping Less and Accomplishing More – Biphasic Sleep

As the calendar turned to 2013, I found myself at a loss for time. After months of consistent blogging, my world had been flipped on its head in one afternoon. A self-proclaimed productivity junky, I lay my head on my pillow a failure.

Sleep Less and Be More Productive

As the blog post ideas rose in numbers, so did my regrets for not posting. Time and time again I searched for time to write. Writing was my passion but not my priority.

My faith and family come first, then my business. With great change happening around me, there was no time for anything other than my faith, family, and business. Each night I’d fall asleep dreaming of a creative release and writing again.

After weeks of regret, I stumbled upon the realization that there was only one area of my life I wasn’t super productive at – sleeping. I’ve always been the kind of person who needed 9 hours of sleep minimum. I never realized until now that I was wrong. I was able to sleep less, do more, and feel more alive by adopting a biphasic sleep schedule.

Sleep Cycle – This is an app for the iphone that tracks your sleep based on your movement at night. The less you move, the more deeply you’re sleeping. After months of using the app out of curiosity I noticed a pattern.

The Numbers – Sleep Cycle shows that in six to eight hours I average four deep sleep periods; in nine hours, I average five. Obviously, five cycles was the secret to feeling rested for me. Unfortunately, nine hours of sleep isn’t very productive.

Biphasic Sleep – The Siesta method incorporates one nap of 20 minutes and one core sleep consisting of six hours. I average four deep sleep cycles during six hours plus one deep sleep cycle for a total of five deep sleep cycles per day.

The Toddler – I had to look no further to find what a perfect Siesta schedule looked like than to my own son. He takes one nap during the day, plus one core sleep. Contradictory to my assumptions, the perfect time for your siesta is not halfway between wake and sleep time but later in the day, between three and five hours before you begin your core sleep.

The Break In – I haven’t been a biphasic sleeper since I was five. After 23 years, my body forgot what it was supposed to do. The first time I tried biphasic sleep I felt fantastic. The next night was less fantastic. This trend continued until my mind was a fog and my eyes felt full of sand. But then the break in was over, within two weeks my body adapted and settled in to its new cycle.

Productivity – Without a reason to create a new sleep pattern, those who attempt biphasic sleep are often failures. Finding something to fill the void is key. Luckily for me, I have a blog to maintain and followers to share my new found time with.

I was convinced my body was rejecting the world around me. For years I existed on a 26-hour day when the world ran on only 24 hours. My body never felt at home and sleep was less than adequate. Biphasic sleep has been the key to a more productive, rested, and energized life.

What could you do with an extra hour and a half a day thanks to biphasic sleeping?

Leadership Time Management in The Midst of Chaos

I recently wrote a post about my recent absence from blogging. The post was an in-depth look at what happens when the worst-case scenario for a growth-oriented business happens. I was hit full force by the Law of Sacrifice and lived to tell about it by following a few simple steps using what I call, Leadership Time Management.

Leadership Time Management

On the verge of a major departmental overhaul, I received the news that a key member of my implementation team would be leaving. I was happy for her. She’d found an opportunity that fit her life like a glove. She’d continue doing what she loved, have a chance to utilize he native language, and work closer to home. As a growth-oriented leader, I’ve grown to experience great joy in seeing those around me grow, change, and move up, whether that is with us or apart from us. It just couldn’t have been worse timing.

Standing on the verge of a new horizon for the company, I chose to give up to go up and thankfully, my family and friends were all in with me. My world instantly shrunk and my available time for anything other than accomplishing my goal vanished. Unfortunately, the events of the world that required my time did not shrink.

I had to use my Leadership Time Management to prioritize my precious time. It is not enough to focus on your own needs, goals, and ambitions as a leader. You have the responsibility of continuing to lead your team and those around you. Leadership does not wait for you to mark off your to-do list. Your leadership is omnipresent, even in times of great chaos, making Leadership Time Management critical to your ability to influence those around you.

Delegate – If someone can do it 80% as well as you, let them. During this crunch time, I learned to rely heavily on those around me. I chose to delegate without fear and relied on Wendy, my eaHELP Virtual Assistant, to manage my schedule, process my emails, and keep me sane.

Outsource – A critical element of Leadership Time Management is sucking the most out of every 24 hours you have. How can you clean the house, write that report, watch your children, prepare that presentation, and still have time to focus on the big challenge before you? Outsource it. Hire people and let your money do the work for you. A housekeeper, VA, babysitter, secretary, and you, can get all of the above done at the same time.

Review – Taking the time to stop for 15 minutes and reset is more valuable than spending that 15 minutes working. As Mater so eloquently put in in Cars “Ain’t no need to watch where I’m goin’; just need to know where I’ve been.”

Improve Synthesis – In a desire to keep my blog going, I’ve been forced to find a new time to write. I struggled for nearly a month and came to the sad realization that there was actually zero time for writing in my current day. So I made time. Part of Leadership Time Management is re-engineering your input and output. After research and trial, I was able to create and hour and a half per day by adopting a Biphasic Sleep Schedule.

Input – Real Leadership Time Management encompasses not only managing your time but how efficiently you can use that time. Have a candy bar and wait 30 minutes. As your blood sugar rises, you’re effectiveness will decrease, suddenly plummeting as insulin production spikes. You’ll find yourself lazy, tired, and fatigued. That is certainly no way to achieve maximum output. Read more about using food to become a super human leader in my Fit to Lead Series.

Communicate – Drowning under your to-do list may make communication seem like a waste of your time. Human interaction can actually break up the monotony and increase creativity. It is also an essential leadership tool used to help those you’ve outsourced and delegated to achieve the success you desire.

It was like falling asleep on the beach and waking up after the tide had risen. One minute I was enjoying the sun, the next I was drowning. I began walking toward the shore. It was all up hill but the farther I walked the closer I was to surfacing again. Learning these principles of Leadership Time Management on the fly was difficult. Fortunately, they ultimately proved to be the priceless key that opened the door to a successful succession and implementation.

What upcoming project of yours could benefit from Leadership Time Management?


Maxwell’s Law of Sacrifice, In Action

For a leader to go up he must first give up.  Maxwell’s Law of Sacrifice isn’t news to anyone who has been leading for very long.  However, seeing the Law of Sacrifice hit your life full force, can be quite a humbling experience.

Law of Sacrifice
When I first read Maxwell’s Law of Sacrifice I wasn’t surprised.  I was actually curious why it took him so long in the book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership to mention it.  Anyone in leadership has experienced long nights, travel, phone calls at home, even that occasional canceled vacation.

I’ve certainly had my share of sacrifices climbing to the Vice President role, but nothing had prepared me for what was to come.  The news broke that the leadership of our Accounting Department was leaving our company.  The news hit me by surprise.

It was the end of the year and I had been planning a major overhaul of our accounting department starting the beginning of the year.  I knew the Law of Sacrifice would rear it’s ugly head during the process, I didn’t know it’d be this bad.  Losing the leader of this depart meant I needed a replacement, quick.

I needed someone who knew the ins and out of the entire department.  I needed someone who I could rely on.  I needed someone who would sacrifice for the team if I was going to accomplish this overhaul in the midst of losing a leader.  I found only one candidate; myself.

Watching the Law of Sacrifice as it takes a hold of your family and your personal life isn’t easy.  During the process I learned that keeping your eyes on the prize is the only way to justify what is happening around you.  When the Law of Sacrifice sweeps through and asks you to “Give Up” it takes whatever it wants.  I lost the following:

My Blog – This is my first post in over a month!

Recreation – I didn’t swing a golf club or go out with friends the whole time.

Family – I spent parts of my Holidays in the office all by myself

Pride – I sat on the sideline’s and watched helplessly as my wife took care of our entire home life all on her own.  I felt worthless not having time to take care of her.  Thankfully I married up and my wife understands the Law of Sacrifice as well.

When the smoke settled and the dust cleared we all came out better than when we entered.  The events could have destroyed the company.  Employees could have gone without paychecks, the IRS wouldn’t have been paid, our vendors accounts would have been placed on hold, our employee’s wouldn’t receive their W2’s.  The implications were far-sweeping and could have crippled a large company.

Of course, the worst didn’t happen.  Because when the Law of Sacrifices makes you “give up” it in turn makes you “go up.”  We came out of the ordeal gaining much more than we lost.

Systems – We installed, upgraded, and implemented a new accounting system in only 4 weeks.

Upgradesthree new hires and an expanded accounting department make us better equipped to handle future growth.

Delegation – Forced to focus, I was forced to delegate a few things I’d been holding onto for far too long.

New Horizon – My entire life was overhauled, waste was cut, assumptions were challenged. My sleep schedule was even flipped.  I now sleep only 6 hours a night and feel great thanks to the adoption or a Biphasic Sleep Schedule.

Influence – The outcomes of my efforts gained me new influence at work and added credibility to my leadership.

Pride – Accomplishing a seemingly impossible task and watching my wife spring into action makes me more proud of our family than ever before.

Coming out of the storm is like watching the sun rise the morning after a violent thunderstorm.  There is a peace and feeling of comfort.  I see the fruits of my labor and can get back to normal.  I still owe my wife for the role she played, but this new normal is much better than the old normal.

What has the Law of Sacrifice taken from you and what, in return, did you receive?