Your “Guy In The Basement”

Several years ago at a National Speaker’s Association meeting, I heard a motivational speaker who planted a metaphor in my mind that I’ll never forget. He described a friendly fellow somewhere between our conscious and subconscious, who works mostly behind the scenes and is loyal to the core. He is, figuratively, your Guy In The Basement, your GITB.

Your brain’s CEO, located in the penthouse (your prefrontal cortex), orders the GITB to dig up information, and deliver the data for the CEO to synthesize and execute. For example, when the CEO is trying to recall the name of your 6th grade teacher, he directs the GITB to do a search, and a few minutes later the GITB runs up the stairs to the CEO and announces: “MRS. CRUM!”  Although it may take awhile, your GITB is good at retrieving data.

The GITB also loves autonomy. He likes to scan your existing knowledge base, integrate anything in view that is novel and shiny and interrupt your deep work (including your sleep), to proclaim his findings. Be kind to your GITB; he is always at work. But he is impulsive, gets bossy when restrained and has no sense of time.

Instead of getting mad at your GITB, shutting him out and blaming him for all your unfinished deep work, let him get his ya-ya’s out. When you’re working on a task that requires a lot of focus, have a pad of paper handy to capture ideas that your GITB sends forth. Keep a notepad at your bedside for his middle-of- the-night revelations. He’ll quiet down once he’s been heard. You can come back and elaborate on those ideas later. If he just can’t settle down, take your GITB for a walk. Remind him of your goals, problems you’d like to solve, or visions you have for your project. After the romp, your reliable GITB will gladly hunker down with his new orders, mind his own business and get to work, giving you the peace and concentration you need to do your CEO thing.

Let me help you manage distractions, get things done well and on time! Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

 

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Nap Know-How

Entrepreneurs need their sleep, but they often don’t get enough of the quality sleep needed to think straight, execute and perform. When I meet a client for the first time, I’ll ask about their sleep: Do you go to sleep at about the same time every night?  Do you fall asleep within 20 minutes or so? Stay asleep (except for the occasional bathroom break?  Wake up refreshed?  Only 2/10 will say “yes” to the last question — the most important one.  There are lots of helpful ways to get better sleep, as I will mention in future blogs. But, because it’s highly likely that you are sleep deprived right now, knowing the right kind of nap is a good business strategy.

The question often arises: What length of nap and what is the best time of the day to nap? Sleep experts tell us (and I have put myself through these nap rigors, so I can speak from experience), that the best time to take a nap is early in the day. This helps fill the sleep debt from the previous night. Naps taken after 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon may interfere in your evening sleep. The best nap is one that refreshes and restores and doesn’t take a lot of time from work. It’s the 10-20 minute nap, called “the power nap” that boosts alertness and energy.  It’s essential that you set a timer or something to keep it short. 30-60 minute naps can leave you groggy and grumpy. It can take you several minutes to get back to any kind of productive work. Interestingly, even if you don’t think you fell asleep during that short time, you probably did. But, remember, just lying down with your eyes closed and letting your body relax is more helpful than not resting at all. Give it a try and share your experience!

 

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