I know you want to have more extended periods of focus throughout your day. We all do. Deep work is where the magic happens.

Finding that time can be difficult. Light interactions bog us down. Answering emails, addressing questions from employees in the hallway, phone calls etc. It all adds up.

Sometimes we just need more energy. Many of us get caught in a cycle of destruction. I've been there before. When I first became an entrepreneur I gained weight and was miserable.

Here were seven things that were killing my mental energy, and some simple solutions that I've found to help ensure they don't slow me down.

1. Poor sleep.

We all know that we need more sleep. The first time I've been able to finally get a handle on my sleep patterns happened when I installed Sleep Cycle APP.

The APP doesn't help me sleep. But It provides me with the baseline data I need to track how deep my sleep is. I was forced to confront the reality that going to bed past 11pm, and waking up at 5am was killing me. Sometimes, you need a slap in the face.

Install the APP, get better sleep and start to feel better. You're welcome.

2. Anger.

Ok, this is a touchy one. I've thought deeply about anger before, because well, I get angry. I'd imagine you do too.

I've found that harnessing some anger, and channeling it in a productive manner helps to propel me to new heights. But If anger is an issue for you, Meditation can help.

A new study shows that brief meditation (just 20 minutes) can reduce your anger. I've been meditating for close to 10 years now. You don't need APPS or books to help you focus on your breath. But if you find it difficult, you may want to consider installing the Headspace APP. The meditations are simple, and effective.

3. Perfectionism

Another tough one. I've been a perfectionist my entire life. I'd imagine that if you're reading this, you may be one too. We're self improvement beasts. Always seeking to become bigger, faster, stronger.

Here's a fast hack to break free from your perfectionism:

Become a parent, or start a company. I'm being serious.

If you're a parent, you probably chuckled a bit here, but it's true. You can't be an effective, high functioning parent if you're a perfectionist. At some point you have to throw your hands in the air and let go.

So let it go, and allow yourself some room to break some eggs. The psychic energy you'll free up will make up for any anxiety you have around your perfectionism.

Taking a perfectionist attitude will only lead to depression and anxiety. Plus, here's the reality - you can never have perfection.

4. The wrong crowd.

Your Mom was right - you shouldn't get involved with the wrong crowd. High energy overachievers surround themselves with the same energy. So do negative people.

Be careful who you spend your time with, and harness the positive energy from the good people around you.

5. Negative stacking.

We all have to "eat the frog" and get things accomplished that we hate doing. I've found a powerful technique that helps me plow through my negative duties.

Some will tell you tackle your hardest projects first thing in the morning when you're fresh. I agree with this, with one minor wrinkle. After you do that one hard thing, do something you enjoy.

Alternating these minor tasks will keep you from stringing negative experiences together.

6. Too much alcohol.

We all know that a glass a wine now and then can be good for your heart. I'm not going to encourage you stop drinking. We all want to grab a beer with our former college roommates. That's healthy. Consistent weekday drinking however, just doesn't work.

Excessive alcohol consumption negatively effects your sleep. A bad night's sleep will decrease your performance the next day.

Allow yourself to have a glass of wine or a beer now and then. Work out, mediate and eat well to alleviate the need to binge drink and release stress and tension.

7. Foods high in sugar.

We know that foods high in sugar are bad for us, and our mental acuity. So why do we still put them into our bodies? Sugar is addictive could be one answer. But another answer seems to be the reason -- sugar work!

When we put sugar into our bodies we get a shot in the arm. For about 20 minutes we feel fantastic, on top of the world. We don't think about the long term effects.

You could eat sugary foods all day, but you'd end up packing on fat, and pushing your body into a depression.

Wrapping it all up:


I'm a bit obsessed with creating the optimal biologically successful day. I hope gaining some control over these seven mental pitfalls will help to bring optimal performance to your life. Try them, and let me know how you're doing.

Published on: Sep 29, 2016
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.