Taking care of yourself

Last week I wrote about getting things done. Today’s post is the third post in the Leadership Tuesday series. I am still focusing on managing yourself, this time on how to take care of yourself.

Before you can manage anyone else, you have to become really good at managing yourself. Part of managing yourself is taking good care of yourself. Taking good care of yourself means each and every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs from Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-SA-4.0

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs from Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-SA-4.0

I personally don’t believe it is actually a pyramid, which requires achieving one level before you can climb to the next one, but rather a several buckets of needs that should be fulfilled. As this post is not a seminar in psychology, I will not dive into this subject. My main point here, however, is the fact you should make sure you handle your needs.

Basic needs

There is a myth about great leaders, managers and other figures that they “Don’t do X” this is typically sleep. Some don’t eat, and some don’t rest. Either way, unhealthy. I used to be that person, I barely slept, and ate very little. I still don’t sleep much, and don’t eat much, but much more than I use to. Those are bad habits, and they will ruin you in the long run. Avoid them as much as you can.

Your Health

Even if you handle the basic needs and neglect your health, you are not doing yourself a favor. If something hurts you, don’t ignore it, take care of it. Not only your body will thank you, you will be focused on the task at hand, and not on your attempts to ignore pain. Moreover, it is a good example to others. When you need to take care of yourself, show it, so people will know it is higher priority than any other burning issue they might have at work.

Friends and Family

The famous work-life balance. I hate this term. Work is not part of life? Don’t I work on my own things from time to time? For me a better term would be time-spending balance. As I wrote in the first post in this series, nothing can give you more time. Don’t neglect your friends and family. I hope it is obvious why, and I don’t want to explain this.

Self-esteem & Self-actualization

This two “Self” artifacts, are critical to master before you can lead anyone else. If you have low self-esteem, why would someone listen to you? Show confidence, and then people will follow. Feel like you achieved something and have a vision, and people will follow. You must take care of yourself, before you can care for others. Handle your needs.

vacations & time off

Now that we covered the basics, I need to talk a bit about energy. No one should work 80+ hours a week. It is not healthy, and most likely not useful. But even if you work 40 hours a week, but never go on vacation, you are never letting yourself time to let things sink, settle a bit, freshen up. This is true on an annual basis, but also on the daily level.

Here is an example: Some meetings suck out all our energy, and we need to re-charge. I think it is totally OK to plan for this, and if you know you booked something in your calendar that is going to be an energy sink, book some personal time after that in order to recover. Every person has their own energy suckers and re-charging habits. For me, for instance, meeting my team for casual coffee is a great re-charger. Firing someone, on the other hand is a huge energy sucker. So plan your day, week, month and year to accommodate your energy needs.

This is all had to say on the subject of managing yourself. I beg you to take good care of yourself. Next week I will start covering the topic of becoming a leader.

  • P.S: recommendation - read “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention” Reed Hastings explains things better than I do.