Using Sleep and ‘Down Time’ as a Performance Enhancement Tool
The challenge, of course, is if you’re going to increase your sleep by two, three, or more hours per night, that means you have to cut down on doing something else. If you’re overworked and overburdened already, the idea of leaving things undone because you need to sleep isn’t particularly attractive. Many don’t do it for fear of having all that extra work pile up. To address such concerns, Arianna says:
“I found that when I’m really rested and recharged, I have the energy to do things more efficiently and more effectively. I also avoid a lot of mistakes that otherwise are made out of exhaustion and burnout. Also, the most important thing that we have to get everything done is energy rather than time.
If getting enough sleep means that we have the energy to get everything done, ultimately, sleep is a performance enhancement tool. It’s also a leadership tool. I’m a much better leader here at The Huffington Post because I’m recharged, because I can see the red flags before they become dangers, and because I can see the opportunities of where we need to go in the future. “
Arianna has even created two nap rooms at the Huffington Post, where journalists and engineers can take a nap if they are tired instead of having a candy bar or another cup of coffee. Huffpost also has an email policy that states employees are only expected to answer emails during work hours. Once work is done, they’re no longer expected to send or reply to mail.
Are You Due for a Digital Detox?
Another recommendation Arianna includes in her book is evaluating your need for a “digital detox.” Abstaining completely from ALL digital distractions for a while can help you renew and recharge in a way that’s not possible if you’re still checking your smartphone multiple times per hour. Instead of being connected to your phone or computer, a digital detox can help you connect to your purpose.
One strategy that can be helpful in this process is creating a “support tribe”—people who know what you’re aiming to do, and are willing to support you in the process.