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Fintech Automation Blog

The Well-Rested Perk

work-life balance Apr 14, 2021

by Mark Anthony Figueroa

 

Introduction

 

In our previous post, we talked about schedulers. We mentioned why they are useful. We linked scheduler application types. We also went through setting up Calendly (at a very high level). In this post we are going to talk about the best efficiency tool you have at your disposal. 

(Insert scammy YouTube commercial that never actually gets to the point.) 

This one tool is so crucial, so fundamental, so vital, that scientists all around the world swear by its benefits. If you can properly manage this tool, you can manage anything! 

That tool is…

Sleep. 

 


 

So, you’re using Calendly now, huh? 

Your assistant has more free time on their hands to learn more things, follow up with clients and even help you with your work, eh?

Click here to see our other automation-ready JotForm templates. We will cover JotForm later in this series, but our forms all include step-by-step use and customization guides. JotForm’s easy integration setup makes connecting a form to your document storage application (Google Drive, Box, Drop Box, Egnyte, etc.) extremely simple. 

Each of our forms includes a comprehensive video series on how to edit and use the form. While most of our forms are primarily used by Financial Advisors / Planners, Consultants and Attorneys there are some that are non-industry specific and the others can be customized further using our JotForm training courses. Purchasing the form will enable you to book a discounted Coaching Session with us to help you edit/modify the form for your specific needs if you need additional assistance.

 


 

Now back to our regular programming.

 

What Is Sleep?

 

Sleep is a naturally occurring process in which a small man the size of your palm sneaks into your home, clutching a burlap sack filled to the brim with sand, dust and dried mucus. As you sit on the toilet scrolling through your phone, he crawls up your arm and sprinkles a combination of all the three in the air. The particles bind to the wetness of your cornea and culminate on your eyelids with every successive blink. As you fumble for the television remote, the concoction travels through your eyeballs’ membranes and seeps into your optic nerves. From the nerves they travel into your hypothalamus and stimulate your suprachiasmatic nucleus or nuclei (SCN).

Your SCN then produces melatonin and tells the little men inside your brain to deliver the melatonin to your Pineal Gland. And, voila, sleep. 

In all seriousness, sleep is what happens when (through a complicated, but interesting process that you can read all about below) your brain produces melatonin in response to your circadian rhythm. Your pineal gland receives the melatonin and tells your body it’s time to sleep. 

During sleep, your brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste. Nerve cells communicate and reorganize, which supports healthy brain function. The body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases molecules like hormones and proteins.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sleep

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

 

My Relationship with Sleep

 

Sleep has many great benefits, not just for your mind and body, but for your business. When you get enough sleep, you recharge. This enables you to reevaluate, refocus and resolve tasks with a fresh perspective. 

Many moons ago, I was a Corporal sitting in the Weather Office at MCAGCC 29 Palms. As METOC Analyst, I worked with some of the Marine Corps best and brightest. We all had secret/top secret clearances, and were part of the few enlisted whose sole purpose was to directly advise high ranking officials on aviation operations, base operations and specific exercises. The hidden gem of the Marine Corps armed with formal Air Force knowledge and training, but Marine Corps discipline, adaptability, iron livers and leadership skills. 

For the most part, because of consistent weather, aircrafts and a tight-knit team, the shifts at MCAGCC 29 Palms ran smoothly. Every other month, the base would run a training exercise called Enhanced Mojave Viper, or EMV. During this time, Marine Corps units from all over the US would prepare for deployments to various desert regions. For my office, the usual work schedule of 1 day on and 2 days off from 7:30 am to 5 pm (earlier or later depending on the day), would transition to 3 pm to 2 am (or airfield closing) daily. We would host deploying Marines and familiarize them with desert forecasting, the capabilities of specific aircrafts, Surface Observations, generating TAFs (Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts), Flight Weather Analysis, Generating Flight Weather Briefs and presenting the briefs to pilots. From the age of 19 through the time I was 21, I loved my job and didn’t mind putting in the hours. I could spare the sleep I lost during EMV. It had little to no effect on me.

Then, 2011 I received my next orders to the location of my dreams, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. Little did I know, sleep and the relaxed stress of the chaos that was EMV would soon become a fable that other Marines and I would discuss around the campfire. Sleep would be the unwanted, but respected boogeyman that would bring vivid nightmares of plane crashes, operational failure, surly subordinates and many other undesirable maladies. 

My calm and moderately stressful shifts in the infinite expanse of the middle of the Mojave were replaced by higher-risk daily operational work, a 24 hour shift (where no more than 2 hours of sleep were allowed) that would extend to +30 hours for various reasons and a severe lack of pertinent data with which to build forecasts from, among other incredibly stressful things that made me dub my highly secure workplace compound, “Vault-7-0” (numbers left out for security reasons). 

Additionally, the other responsibilities of being a Marine would follow on days off, along with the basic human needs of social connection. If sleep were food, I’d go as far as saying that a plague hit and there was a famine. At the time, I was working alongside foreign government employees and militaries, and had deployed for several operations (one of which I got an award for). I had injured my shoulder to the point of not being able to feel my hand and move my arm properly, but because of my constant mental fog, I ignored it and pushed through the pain and stress it placed on the rest of my body. While I won’t go into detail as it’s not relevant, I will say that I eventually needed 2 surgeries and experienced even further disruption to my sleep. 

So, you might be wondering, okay, so you described your relationship with sleep at what should have been a stressful time. You don’t get any sympathies from me, Pogue (personnel other than grunt). And, that’s great because that wasn’t the purpose of my anecdote, so we’re on the same page!

 

Why Sleep Is Vital

 

During the years following the end of my active duty adventures, I would only be able to sleep no more than 3 (4 hours, if I was lucky) per night; any more than that would make me physically ill. Furthermore, the energy I had was from adrenaline, so I was always on high alert despite being mentally exhausted. I would pass out at odd times, ramble on incoherently, and I developed a slight tendency to go blank. In my mind, I thought everyone and everything else around me was broken, but the truth was that my extended lack of rest broke me. I kept this up throughout my college career, internships at some very prestigious companies and several jobs I worked, until I finally had a complete mental breakdown. I found myself in the infamous “crazy ward” of the Phoenix VA hospital and prescribed several different medications just to help undo the damage I caused myself. 

[*For any of you curious folks out there, my LinkedIn (the only social media I use, besides an obscure Instagram for nonsense) does not display the bulk of my career and experience.]

I tell you these things, dear reader of this series, because although you are likely not in the military, you may not have a strong support system (my wife has pushed me to get assistance since before we started formally dating) and access to good, cheap/free healthcare. The effects of little sleep can lead to the same bad effects that a poor work life balance can. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  1. Depression
  2. Hypertension
  3. Obesity
  4. Anxiety Disorder
  5. Alcohol Abuse
  6. Bipolar Disorder
  7. Balding / Gray hair
  8. Memory and speech issues
  9. Borderline Personality Disorder
  10. Suicide / Death - if you don’t sleep for 3 - 4 days straight you suffer brain damage and run the risk of a stroke, heart attack, aneurism, etc.  

If you have to lose sleep time to do what you enjoy and you don’t have the luxury of reevaluating your schedule, then it is what it is. Just to be clear, I’m not saying don’t live your life and don’t have your off nights, but you should avoid making a habit out of getting less than 4 hours of sleep without a damn good reason.  

Whether or not you utilize any of the aforementioned tools, sleep is one you have a fair amount of control over. 

If you’re a business owner, I know how anxiety-inducing it is to have outstanding tasks and how the need to get things “perfect” can keep you chipping away what already looks like Mt. Rushmore. The reality is that most clients are okay with a reasonable delay. Life happens. Just be aware that “life” will happen a lot more when you neglect its counterpart’s cousin, sleep.

 

Up Next

 

During this post, we did things a little differently. We went up into the mountains, gathered around the campfire, cracked open a few cold ones and discussed the most important tool in your inventory, sleep. In true Marine Corps PoG fashion, I rambled on my experience, albeit vague and very loose. Hopefully, I can say we’re a bit more intimate now. “It ain’t gay if you’re wearing socks,” or so they say.

With that intimacy comes trust. And, I trust that you can’t wait for the next post, because the next several posts will dive into form builders and the form creation process. We will build a simple, very high-level jotform. With everything we previously covered, you should have a good idea of where and how to leverage forms for data gathering and your event types in order to streamline your processes and workflows. All that’s left is making one from scratch. 

While the next few posts will show you how to make a jotform, test it, integrate it and implement it, you can always exercise the option to use a template. 

JotForm’s template library is good, but ours is great. 

Get ahead of the curve, check out our templates and implement them. When the next post is ready, see how much you learned. Hell, provide us with feedback and suggestions.

Click here to see our other automation-ready JotForm templates. We will cover JotForm later in this series, but our forms all include step-by-step use and customization guides. JotForm’s easy integration setup makes connecting a form to your document storage application (Google Drive, Box, Drop Box, Egnyte, etc.) extremely simple. 

Each of our forms includes a comprehensive video series on how to edit and use the form. While most of our forms are primarily used by Financial Advisors / Planners, Consultants and Attorneys there are some that are non-industry specific and the others can be customized further using our JotForm training courses. Purchasing the form will enable you to book a discounted Coaching Session with us to help you edit/modify the form for your specific needs if you need additional assistance.

 

This blog is written by the Sphynx Automation team to help DIYers use web-based apps.

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