Archives for posts with tag: Rest

I’m on holiday as you read this. I’m not even in the country where I normally write these posts. I’ve jetted off with the family I helped to create to visit the family I was born into, as many of you do this time of year.

It’s a time for taking stock, considering where you are, and what you’re going to change or do differently next year. I always try and take off between Christmas and New Year if I can. I’m very conscious of people who work in the service industry, or people like my friend who works in the supply chain industry, that this time of year has a very stop-start feel to it. They can’t use this time of year for taking stock, they have to do it another time.

You can’t take stock in a couple of days. You need at least a week’s run at it, so you can decompress, assess and figure out the old traffic lights: what will I give the red light to and stop doing, what will I review on amber, and what will I give the green light to and continue or start doing? Then you can recoil yourself, ready to get into it.

Some people like to be working this time of the year, with a day or two off here and there. Some people have to work. I’m lucky, I have the luxury of not having to, usually, and so for me it’s a good time for taking a break, taking soundings from others and taking stock.

All the sensible advice for being productive and healthy is around getting a good night’s sleep. Here’s a very articulate post on it – and a good book recommendation – from Tom Tunguz.

I’ve written before about my need for 8 hours’ sleep. What I’ve also found is how close I get to the magic 8 hours is important too:

  • Any more than 8 hours’ sleep and I’m in good shape. If I’ve been in the red on sleep the past few days, and I get 8 hours’ sleep or more, then I’m fine. Then it’s simply a better 8 hours’ sleep than normal
  • If I get less than 7 hours’ sleep, I’m feeling OK, but I need to fix it at some point in the short term. I can’t go more than a couple of days with, say, 6 hours’ sleep
  • If I get between 7 and 8 hours’ sleep, I’m shattered! I feel groggy and it takes me a while to get out of the funk

I can’t explain this, and it presents a dilemma if I have to get up a specific time and the 8 hour window for going to bed has just closed. Do I stay up longer and get less than 7 hours’ sleep, as counter-intuitive as that sounds, or do I go to bed anyway and risk the outcome of getting between 7 and 8 hours’s sleep?


I was on holiday quite recently. We took the family skiing. Not something we do every year; it’s too expensive and I’m a big fan of the heat.

We went to Italy. I don’t do the data roaming thing, because I’m not a big user of data when I travel; voice and text is enough for me. This means I rely on wireless networks, you know the deal.

The apartment we rented was tiny, but the use of space was so amazing IKEA should have been taking notes. It had no wireless, though. This meant if I wanted to get online it was the mountain restaurants and bars.

This was fine in principle, except the connections were so flaky that you couldn’t really do much, so I didn’t.

I was basically off the grid for a week, except for 5 minutes to check in for the return flights online and download the boarding passes with my fancy airline app. And, do you know what, while I was ‘away’, the sky didn’t fall in.

It was actually great. I didn’t miss it at all, and felt no compulsion to go onto social media and tell people how many corn flakes I’d eaten. No withdrawal symptoms, no first world problems, nothing. It was like the good old days when you went on your family holidays and came back wondering what news you’d missed and what song was number 1 in the charts while you were away.

Coming back was not too bad either. The inbox was manageable.

I recommend being off the grid it to all my friends, at least to try it for a few days. A sort of digital detoxing.

This seemingly innocuous post is, as it turns out, a very important post for me, perhaps the most important in a long time. And I don’t mean for me in an ‘in my opinion’ sense; I mean for me personally.

I have a theory. It goes like this. There are leaders. They’re leaders in their field. We see them on screen, we hear about them or listen to them, we read about them. They might be sports people, musicians, business people, artists, inventors politicians, not-for-profit innovators, entrepreneurs. They might be the best at something that we do for leisure. They’re 1 in a 100, maybe more.

Then there are us. The rest of us. We’re the other 99, or 999, making up the overwhelmingly huge majority of the seething mass of humankind. We’re not the best at any one thing, so we don’t get watched, written about or listened to.

Yet almost all the external stimuli in the world come from the 1%, are about the 1%, intended for the consumption of the 99%. It lets us into the world of the 1% and encourages us to strive to join that elite club and leave the world of the also rans behind. More importantly, it’s our consumption of the 1%’s activities that provide the economics for the rich and famous to be rich and famous. The model doesn’t work otherwise.

What are we to do about this? Should we do anything?

This topic has preoccupied me for a long time. Actually, a very long time. For some of that very long time I’ve been turning my thoughts into a book which explores the topic in detail. But for now, I think it’s a fascinating conundrum.

What is 8 hours of sleep exactly?

I love my sleep, and I need it too. I can’t get way with much less for more than a couple of days before I’m rotten company. The thing is, though, how do you count 8 hours’ sleep?

I go for 8 hours a night if I can, mainly because that’s the received medical wisdom and also because I can’t get the things done I need to get done during the week if there’s less than 16 waking hours left. I sleep more on non-busy weekends, partly to catch up if I’m in debit, and partly because I would sleep more if I could.

But I count my sleep from the moment I close my eyes, until the moment the alarm goes off. It doesn’t matter if it takes me a bunch of minutes to fall asleep – unusual – or if I wake up before my alarm – also unusual unless I’ve something important to wake up for and then the body clock helps out. If my eyes are closed, or I’m dozing, that’s rest and therefore good enough for me.

Perhaps it’s impossible to know how long you’re sleeping, unless you have a partner who spends a month measuring the exact time it takes you to fall asleep so that you can compute an average time to factor into your calculations of ‘true’ sleeping time. This also assumes you don’t have moments – or hours if you suffer this way – of wakefulness in between.

So for me, I keep it simple. From eyes closed til getting out of bed is the sleep I get, no more, no less. A third of the day recovering and filling the tank for the best two-thirds I can manage.