50 Business Challenges: Sleep

Sleep as a business challenge seems odd, but business can affect your sleep. Conversely, sleep can affect you business, in particular the lack of it can lead to reduced mental toughness. The effect of pressure and stress increases, leading to less sleep.

So take steps to improve your sleep this week, with the aim of waking up refreshed.

What can you do?

When you were a child, your mother probably tried to enforce a set bedtime with a calming routine beforehand. (This may no longer be the case). So get to the point in the evening when you switch off the phone and laptop, and start to relax. Horlicks is not compulsory, but a strong coffee will not help, nor the late night action movie. Despite popular belief, alcohol tends to be counterproductive.

Make sure the bedroom is dark, and not too hot.

And if you are in the habit of waking at 1 am thinking that you must do XYZ tomorrow – keep a notepad nearby so that you can make a note and not lie there fretting.

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50 Business Challenges: Learn to Speak

The last couple of challenges look rather like Toddler Central, admittedly, but not everyone is good at speaking publicly and well. Even those who speak for a living do not always tailor what they say (or how they say it) to their particular audience. Not that I think that lwayers are prone to the latter or anything….

Trying out different approaches is useful, but this is best not done in front of your most important clients. There are training courses available (not really something that we do) but there are also more informal ways. Toastmasters International have branches throughout the country (and, of course, internationally). An alternative is POWERtalk International, who again have branches internationally.

Decide which approach works best for you in terms of time and money expended, but take up the challenge. You will be a better leader, manager and professional.

Our Charity for 2013 – Future Hope

For the last couple of years, we have supported (in a small way) The Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton. One service they provide to business is help in making adjustments in employing visually handicapped people.

For 2013 we have decided to adopt Future Hope, a charity devoted to improving the lives of street children in Calcutta. This was featured in Test Match Special following a visit by the England team during their recent tour. And this is some history of the founder, Tim Grandage. In part, it is a story of a different kind of leadership.

50 Business Challenges: No. 2 Walk

Walking may seem a strange activity in business, although I have had walking meetings before now, and I happy to do coaching while walking.

Mens sana in corpore sano, as they say. Mental effectiveness is much more difficult without physical effectiveness. Walking is an activity that can carry on into old age and can be done in town or country without technical equipment. More importantly, there is some evidence that walking in nature acts to lift the spirits, something that lawyers sometimes need.

And one of the joys of walking is that it can be built into your daily routine, such as by taking the stairs rather than the lift.

Lastly, walking can be a social activity. If you can persuade them, it can even be a chance to talk with your teenagers, something else that busy lawyers do not always find time to do.

If you want to do some good by walking, you can always join in something like this. (Other walks for other sexes are available).

50 Business Challenges – No. 1

A series of 50 Business Challenges for 2013, published every Monday.

No. 1 Acknowledge an unsung hero. For most of us, there is someone who makes a consistent contribution to our business and who we take for granted. It may be anyone from the unexciting partner who grinds through boring work to the security guard on the front desk. Sadly, it may also be your secretary or other half.

Take a moment to acknowledge what they do, to them and, where appropriate, to their boss. You do not need to overcompensate with dancing girls and champagne – just saying thanks is good.

For a series of Life/Career Challenges, visit Red Spot Coaching.