When business gets a little hectic one of the first things to suffer is our sleep, followed quickly by healthy meals and letting both slide can be a recipe for very bad days.
If you find yourself tired, hangry (hungry + angry), short-tempered and impatient then you’re not really going to be doing your best work.
(I’m not even talking just about creative work. Boring admin work doesn’t get better when you feel like crap.)
If there’s one thing I learned about 90+ days of following the Whole30 plan, it’s the power of planning for those days when cooking is just not in the cards. While this post isn’t about what you should/should not be eating, it’s helpful to see why having a personal plan makes life easier!
Here’s a sneak peek at one of the personal systems that fuels my business.
1. Make a plan – just like any busy person might, I used to think that it was easier to buy groceries and then make whatever I felt like having for a meal. I don’t love super strict meal plans so instead I make 2-3 dishes a week and have leftovers or pull from the freezer if needed.
Here’s how it works in real life… it’s Tuesday and I just finished 4 hours on the phone before noon. I’m tired of sitting, my sore throat needs water and the last thing I want to do is stand in front of a hot stove for 30 minutes cooking lunch.
Instead, I pull out my staples which are always on my weekly shopping list: lettuce, bean sprouts, tomato, peppers and some cooked salmon. In a couple of minutes I have a mixed salad with some protein and lots of veggies.
I’ve saved time and money not rushing off to grab some fast food and can actually rest my brain and body before the next call.
2. Eliminate distractions – I know, we’ve all heard this before but there’s a very specific way I used the Whole30 plan to remove non-optimal food from my kitchen.
First, I stocked up on all the good stuff, letting that take the prime place in my fridge and freezer. I had just a few pantry items at first but I created a basket for snacks so if I’m rushing out the door to a meeting I can grab an RX bar instead of a candy bar.
Then, all of the food that’s not included on the Whole30 plan migrated to one section of my pantry where I could reintroduce it after the challenge or throw it away, not wanting it anymore.
Honestly, most of it went away either given to friends or thrown out.
When you’re tired and busy and rushing about you don’t have time to think deeply about the choices you’re making so set yourself up for good choices and physically remove the less ideal choices from your environment.
(Note: no food is “bad” per se, just not ideal for optimal energy, mental health or mood.)
3. Set an alarm – it might feel productive but it’s probably doing more harm than good to sit at your computer for 6+ hours until your eyes go blurry and you can’t feel your bum. I shouldn’t have to explain the value of moving your body, getting appropriate amounts of food and water or using the bathroom.
So if you find yourself easily caught up in work and before you know it the day has passed, set an alarm. I have one in my Google calendar and purposefully make appointments at the gym mid-afternoon so I will be up and moving throughout the day.
Plus, my Productive app (which I shared in detail here) has the tracking goal to “eat breakfast” which is probably my most consistent task.
Bottom line: if you want to excel in your business and bring the best of yourself then you need to take care of your mind and body. By incorporating some simple systems to ensure you are moving throughout the day and have healthy food on hand you can focus your mental energy on other things.