Tip #7: Maintain Your Mental Fitness

Rapid Evolution PelicanI’ve been traveling a fair amount and a little preoccupied with the presidential election and San Francisco Giants (on to the World Series!), so blogging dropped down on my priority list for the past two weeks.  In allowing that to happen, I was in a way practicing my own Tip #7 for strengthening leadership – maintaining your mental fitness.

I like how Tim Tobin described this in the Harvard Business Review Blog, when explaining the need for physical, social, and mental fitness to achieve peak performance.  He identified the following


Seven Factors for Mental Fitness
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Regular physical activity
  • Focus
  • Reflection
  • Down time
  • Connecting time
  • Play time

Obviously there’s some overlap with physical and social fitness, but what matters most is achieving a balance of these activities, in a high quality way.  For me, taking some down time from a project like blogging, and other non-essential work tasks, helped me re-charge and be ready for the push to Thanksgiving.  Once I was back from my travels I also caught up with friends in my network, family members I’d been neglecting, and took in the local arts scene.  Speaking of which, two thumbs up for Alameda’s Live at the Library jazz series, where Hank and I enjoyed Jonathan Poretz’s show Saturday night.

The biggest challenge I have while traveling is getting enough physical activity. My favorite form of exercise is a Pilates class, and I don’t do as well working out on my own.  To compensate, I try to add in extra walking when I’m away from my Pilates class, but I don’t always make enough time for that in a busy day of meetings.  Which of course means I tend not to sleep as well when I haven’t gotten enough exercise.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that for me, an important key to my productivity during extended travel is exercise.  What works for you?

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