For too long I thought it was super productive and heroic to spend a day knocking off all of my task and doing this at the cost of my sleep and health. Since I had done this for most of life (I am 27), I thought it was the right way to achieve results.
This was until March 2018, at an event that I help organise I collapsed hitting my head hard on the floor. I spent the remaining hours and early morning in the Accident and Emergency wing of the hospital checking if I had not received any brain injuries.
The next few days I took some time off to get better and reflect on what had happened. On reflection, I realised that I took on more tasks then I should have because of my inability to say No and my ego. I was not prioritising sleep (sleeping less than 7 hours). I was not focusing on eating a healthy diet and I was doing more than I could handle. All these things combined led to my downfall and I needed to make a change.
Firstly, I realised I needed to make a change. I had already got into self-development books the year before, but I was looking for something different. I was in the local bookshop one day when I stumbled across Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive. The front cover had a picture of her on it and she reminded me of a motherly figure so I sat and read a few pages in the shop, it focused a lot on the importance of sleep and not getting burnt out. Getting burnt out is exactly what happened to me and I needed to avoid this.
Over the next couple of months I started to think consciously about what I ate and also focusing on how I want to exercise to keep healthy in the long-run vs short intensive workouts that last a few months.
The most crucial change was I now prioritise sleep! I do not let anything stop me from getting my 7 hours of sleep and I make sure I wake up for my morning prayers (Fajr prayer as I am a Muslim). Sleeping more has also allowed me to really connect deeper with my spiritual side and really build a stronger relationship with God.
With enough sleep and pray the day is set up to be great and I make sure when it comes to tasks that I focus on the most important thing and not to let the tasks that were not completed by 11pm over run to eat into my sleep.
This is how that one extreme event of fainting at a public event has changed my life.
Imran Dean works in venture capital, but also spends free time writing about personal development. You can connect and find his content on instagram at @imran_Dean