Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Entrepreneurs, Adrenaline and the Wall

entrepreneurs adrenaline
During the early days of a new venture or project, sleeps seems less like a necessity and more like a distraction.  Everyday entrepreneurs deprive themselves of rest in order to squeeze out that last bit code, type a few more chapters or complete one more proposal. This approach can be good and bad. Good if you know how to use adrenaline to your advantage. Bad if lack of sleep results in stupid mistakes. Here is how I recently rode a dose of adrenaline like a wild mustang until I hit "the wall".

Several weeks ago I was knee deep in a new and exciting project. I was under a self imposed deadline to get the product in the hands of beta users for comments and feedback.  Over a period of three days I got about 5 hours of sleep. I sat at my laptop for hours on end stopping only to top off my coffee and go to the bathroom. Sound familiar? Not only did I reach my deadline, but with very little sleep or food.  Plus the work turned out fantastic according to my beta users. How is it possible for productivity to increase so dramatically under such conditions? Why can't we just do this all the time? Continue reading.

The Wall

Something strange happens to the human brain during these moments. Time stops and adrenaline serves as the only fuel necessary to reach and even exceed finish lines. We perform like super heroes, doing in a few hours what normally takes days. But once we reach the objective and excitement subsides, we hit a wall of exhaustion. I call it a wall because we cannot go any further without making grave errors no matter how hard we try.  At that very moment fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks, and I collapsed into a long, deep sleep.

Even Super Heroes Need Their Rest

Most of us do not take full advantage of this gift from nature because we only recognize it after the fact; once the task is over and fatigue hits. Next time look for it and when it kicks in, ride that train for all it is worth. Except for bathroom and water breaks, do not stop for anything. Eat while you work if you must. Then get back to your full duties at once. If you stay away too long from the source of inspiration, your work, energy will decrease. Keep on relentlessly and you will experience productivity beyond your wildest dreams.

But even Superman has to take off his cape and rejuvenate once in a while. Well, maybe not Superman because he is not really human, but certainly Spiderman and Batman. Once you come down, take heed to the signals sent by your body. Go to sleep. Do not attempt to do more once you reach this point. Nothing results except clumsy mistakes. If you were Superman before, now you are Clark Kent bathing in a pool of kryptonite.

Let It Happen Naturally

This adrenaline high is real and effective, but let it happen naturally. Do not attempt to create it artificially through illegal substances or even caffeine. I am a huge fan of coffee and I drink the stuff like the French drink wine, but nothing can replace the rush brought on by the excitement of a new venture or product launch. Once everything settles down and gets back to something resembling normal, return to getting regular full nights of sleep. This is one of the best things you can do for a healthy mind and a healthy business.

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