How Staying Fit Gets You Ahead in Business

It is hardly a secret these days that your physical fitness and mental fitness are closely linked and to perform at your best you need to keep the two in sync. Today I will look at how I use physical training to keep my mind sharp and my ideas fresh!

Sleep and Exercise, Not Exactly What You Think

I am a firm believer in a few different mantras that relate to sleep and exercise, a couple in particular. The early bird gets the worm. The most famous, most cliche of all sayings about sleep, but yet in my experience it holds completely true.

When I am looking to optimise my performance I would take an extra two hours in the morning over two hours in the evening every time. If you are in the office before 7am then there is (in most regular areas of life) no one else around to distract you. Distractions kill productivity, remove them and your performance will skyrocket.

Secondly, You can substitute sleep for exercise. This I truly believe. Not in the long run, not every day, but a lot of the time you are able to swap one, two or even three of your precious sleeping hours for exercise and actually feel better afterwards. If you are used to getting to bed at eleven and waking up at seven, try one day to get up at five instead and get in a couple of hours of running or gym. By then end of it you’ve both ticked the first mantra as well as freed up the rest of your day for mental productivity.

Training as Self-Discipline

One of the biggest things you can gain from linking your physical and mental productivity is self-discipline. Taking on a strict (or even not that strict to be honest!) exercise regime can bring structure and order to your life, help you to eat better and lead to huge gains in your self-discipline which will positively impact on your work and business. The more you structure your work and time, the more specific you can be with your focus and the further ahead of your rivals you can get.

Moreover, taking on large physical challenges can help to develop extra self-discipline, something which becomes very apparent in your training. When training for marathons in the past the fear of the challenge I have accepted generates a mental clarity and self-discipline like almost nothing else. And when running these races, at mile 20, when everything hurts and the world is a terrible place, this is when you reap the rewards from your hard work and discipline.

Exercise and Mental Health Benefits

Getting physical has been shown in a whole range of scientific studies to be hugely beneficial for mental health. From depression to stress and anxiety to PTSD and ADHD, keeping physically active can have huge positive impacts on your life if you are going through any of these.

When I am feeling stressed out, overworked and I need some time and space I love to go running. Preferably early morning as I mentioned earlier, the act of focusing the mind on a simple, challenging and basic task is like meditation (I do strongly believe that running if done right is a form of mindfulness) which afterwards leads to a complete calm and focus both in the body and mentally.

Aside from helping on the negative side of the coin, keeping physically fit can help you on the upside also! Studies have found that people who exercise more tend to perform better on mental tasks (the same endorphins that are released whilst you are working out help you to concentrate and promote the growth of new brain cells), tend to have higher self esteem (thanks to those endorphins again!), sleep better, have more energy when awake and tend to be more emotionally and mentally resilient (due to pushing their boundaries more often – try running 20 miles and you’ll understand what i’m talking about!).

Work Hard and Reap the Rewards

Like anything in life, being ‘successful’ requires hard work. One area of life that is easier than many others to get in order is exercise. Start small, be consistent and remember to push your limits a bit. Get up early. Catch the worm. Swap some of your sleep for exercise (it’s possible because the next night you will sleep ‘better’ and therefore be more efficient even with your sleeping time!). Staying physically fit will keep you mentally fit and help to give you an edge in all walks of life. So get out there, get your trainers on and lets get moving!

WHY MONDAY IS THE BEST DAY TO WORK

I LOVE MONDAYS MORE THAN ANY OTHER DAY.

Mondays are my favourite day of the week. They are the day when I get the most done, I have the most energy and they day I miss the most once it is gone. I feel this way for one very simple reason.

Monday is a clean slate. 

When you wake up on a Monday morning the whole world is full of posibilites. Most of the major issues from the week before are taken care of before the weekend and therefore you are left with a beautiful blank canvas to work from. If you get into work early you can get a jump on the whole week and feel like you’ve made an enormous bunch of progress before anyone else has even got to their desks.

On top of these awesome reasons, making progress on a Monday is actually motivating too. When you look back in the evening and see how much progress you’ve made in the first 1/7th of the week it really spurs you on to push even harder and do more for the rest of the week. And that is something I always aim for, DOING MORE!

HOW CAN YOU TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MONDAYS?

1  Monday begins on Sunday.

The first key thing to realise about loving Mondays is that it actually begins on Sunday. I remember when I used to work in banking a few years ago that I really hated Sundays because as the day went on it brought me closer to having to work again on Monday. But instead of facing that dread I decided to take control of it.

By taking 15 minutes on a Sunday afternoon or evening to plan out your key goals for the coming week you can be ready to attack from the moment you wake up on a Monday morning instead of being a bit confused about what it is you need to get done.

2  Get started early.

One of the best ways I have found to really love Mondays is to start my week before everyone else. If you can get into your work before any of your colleagues, team members or even friends it gives you two major advantages.

First, there is no one around to distract you with their tales from the weekend so you are able to get straight into your work and secondly, you can achieve a whole bunch of things before anyone else has even thought about starting which gives you an amazing feeling of satisfaction. It is that feeling that will keep loving Mondays in the future!

3  Key tasks before distractions.

This one is a crucial tip. Don’t use Monday mornings for e-mails, at least not straight away if you can avoid it. The real key to starting the week with a bang is getting some of your key tasks for the week out of the way early and having the feeling that you have made significant progress. EMAIL NEVER BRINGS PROGRESS.

Of course we can’t avoid answering all of these questions forever, but try to get something on your list done first before you start helping other people with theirs.

4  Use fitness to give you a kick start.

Finally, kick your endorphins into action with a Monday morning run or gym session to really give your week a boost. Some serious physical activity early in the week can help to kick you out of ‘weekend-mode’ and back into your hard-working self!

The best way to do this is make sure you have a workout that gets your heart rate into the ‘intensive’ range for 5-10 minutes at least as it will lead to your body releasing adrenaline and giving you the extra boost you need!

So there you have it. Why I love Mondays so much and how you can really start your week with a Bang. Looking forward to seeing you here early next Monday!

Any questions or comments? I want to know what you think! Let’s chat in the comments down below.

Progress Update.

It’s been a while and I think that means it is time for an update!

2016 was one of the greatest and most challenging years of my life, and in 2017 I hope to go ahead and achieve even more than I ever thought possible. From struggling to start up a small company I have travelled to running a functioning and genuinely fun shop which is helping artists and artisans from Barcelona to live off of the work they love doing.

La Nostra Ciutat – A shared dream of ‘Our City’

On the 27th June 2016 I opened a store called La Nostra Ciutat along with my girlfriend and business partner Guro. We aimed to give local artists and makers a space in the centre of Barcelona where they could sell their products alongside large global brands. We started with 45 designers. Since then, we have grown to represent over 150 different brands and have paid out hundreds of thousands of Euros to support local arts and design in Barcelona.

Us in the shop – Christmas 2016

It has been one of the busiest (hence the lack of a creative project during this time), toughest and most rewarding periods of my life helping me to meet hundreds of new amazing people, learn a fantastic new language (with a reasonable proficiency!) and push my limits further than ever.

2017 has started out in much the same way. Following the big post-christmas Rayes rush (in Catalunya we celebrate ‘christmas’ on the 6th January!) we entered our first ‘low season’ with the shop which gave us a bit of time to step back, take a rest and look at things with a fresh perspective. Now, having had a rest and re-grouped we are back to work. Right now we are negotiating the lease on a second shop in Barcelona and are getting ready to expand. Whilst there is still lots of work to do on our first store, when an opportunity arrises we are never ones to back down!

2017 is going to be the greatest year of my life. It may bring success, it may bring failure, but whatever happens it is going to be a year of intense learning, hard work and personal growth, just the way I like it.