The 23.5 Hour Challenge

I came across this awesome video my friend posted on Facebook called 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

If you have eight minutes to spare, it might be the best thing you could ever watch for your health. It’s something that seems pretty obvious, but coming from a doctor who 1) didn’t have to give you this information and 2) presenting it to you with factual numbers it’s difficult to argue against the benefits of even moderate exercise.

I personally hate it when my friends and family tell me that they’re too busy to make time for themselves. It’s exercise. It’s not a chore. It’s something your body was built to do. By fighting nature you’re just creating an uphill battle for yourselves. You spend eight or so hours a day sleeping, and most of the time, you’re really just sitting and spinning your wheels anyways. Would thirty minutes a day really make or break your career or your family time? I would argue that it would probably increase the quality of time spent at work or with your family. I mean, if you can’t spare half an hour for yourself, what you’re really telling me is that you can’t take the basic steps to take care of your own personal business…which then leads me to believe that you can’t really take care of anyone else’s business — work or personal — since you are clearly unable to manage your time. (Harsh, but true.)

Is half an hour still too difficult for you? What’d you think of the video?

Productivity = Daytime^(-1) * Caffeine

Just in case you didn’t quite follow along, productivity is inversely related to daytime hours and is compounded by caffeine. At least it is for me.

Night Owl - Working At Night

I’ve always believed that the daytime is meant for living. You know, experiencing the world, meeting people, soaking up the sunshine. It has always seemed counterintuitive that people slaved away in cubicles during the most beautiful hours of the day. For me, some of my best “work” is done during the day. I get inspired by conversations, sights, and sounds. I get to meet other business owners. I get to engage in volunteer work.

The bulk of my production work is done at night. See, during the day, my email box queues up with requests from my clients…website fixes, inquiries, support requests, etc. Some of my clients are very much like me and think aloud in their emails, and sometimes they end up resolving their own issues before I ever get involved. (A win for all!) However, I find that it is easier for me to provide support in bursts in the evening hour when I am not being inundated with requests and emails/calls flying back and forth. Contrary to popular belief it is not because I am avoiding responsibility or human contact…it is just easier to work when I’m focused on batches of projects. (I do my best to answer urgent requests or acknowledge receipt of emails via my mobile.)

As a freelancer I have to budget my time wisely. If I keep jumping from task to task I’ll get nowhere quickly. But, if I allow like projects to accumulate, I’ll be able to process them quickly since I generally work in zones…sometimes I’m in the coding zone. Sometimes I’m in a design zone. Sometimes I’m in the social media zone. And sometime’s I’m in a copywriting zone.

How do you manage your creative or productive energy? Any tips you want to share?

The Only True Wealth Is Health

Steve Jobs is on indefinite medical leave again — in an email to his staff on MLK Day he cited health reasons. As a quintessential icon of our contemporary culture — to encompass business, technology, and influence — it saddens me greatly to see someone as hardworking as he to have to struggle through so many health issues.

Steve Jobs On Medical Leave

Update: On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away due to complications from advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

That brings me to the point that a freelance client once brought to my attention — “The only true health is wealth.”

In between trying to keep up with my business, my startup (one actualized, one conceptualized, and a few on paper), and grad school, I try to have a life outside of that. Most of that “life” is spent thinking about my work, planning how I’ll go about my work, about new projects I want to work on…you get the point. Every once in awhile I’ll turn on my Netflix or crack open a book that is not related to school, business, or marketing. I have an overflowing box of periodicals dying to keep my perspective contemporary. But alas…my brain wanders right back to where it began.

I’ve seen how hard my parents have worked. Their business not only required brains but, to some extent, brawn. They came back emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted from their work daily. My father always urged that I studied hard so that I could get a good job — one that required me to use my brain more than my brawn (as if I had any). Unfortunately I think somewhere along the line I had equated a job that required more thinking to be less physically laborious. I have been proven wrong a number of times in my life, and most severely in the last four. I have fallen ill with reemergent PTSD, strep throat, mono, bronchitis, and pharyngitis. I figure that I’m in my twenties and that it’s not a big deal, but honestly it’s a bit excessive for one human being.

I enjoy what I do. I freakishly enjoy what I do. So, I use it as an excuse to work whenever I want, where ever I want, for as long as I want. I jam pack my schedule to a point where I can’t even view my schedule in its entirety in the month view. I am one of the lucky ones with a full plate, an agenda, and the opportunity to do what I want to do, so I try not to waste it. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at the end of the day, the tunnel is really all in my head and every day I get better at placing that light just a little further out of reach. It’s as if I’m playing mind tricks on myself and continually rearranging the pieces on the game board to make things more challenging for myself…which I suppose really begs the idea of motivation theory.

Because of my fanatic work schedule, a lot of people ask me where I get my motivation. My family makes the assumption that I’m pulling in boatloads of cash. (Not true!) Don’t get me wrong — money is nice and it has the potential to provide me with comforts. The key word in that phrase is potential. However, my work — right now — provides me with that emotional and mental comfort. It challenges me. It makes me want to find better solutions to problems my clients (and my own projects) are facing. The thrill of challenging myself and finding those solutions are my primary motivations. I figure that the rest of it is just gravy and that somewhere on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs I’m just picking at the top level.

So, since I am not really in the right headspace to even be seriously blogging, I’ll leave you with a great video @SuYo and @maestroism both sent to me on the same day. It’s a great piece on motivation theory. For the best impact, watch it all of the way through. I had learned most of the information they brought to life via my own working experience but it is a great piece for entrepreneurs and business owners.