Build the Business of Your Dreams
By Andy Parkinson, on Monday, November 30th, 2009
I woke up this morning with a tickle in my throat that has developed into a painful sore throat. This is a familiar beginning of a cold or flu will likely hit me full force tomorrow… Today is the Sunday of my Thanksgiving break and impending sickness must be my punishment for enjoying four peaceful days of no work, good food, great company and lots of relaxation!
Odds are many of you find yourselves in similar situations during the holidays or vacations. There is a condition that has been introduced to the world by Dr. Marc Schoen of the UCLA School of Medicine called The Let Down Effect.
Dr Schoen says that when under constant stress our bodies release hormones that strengthen the immune system. When we rapidly shift from a state of heightened stress to to relaxation our bodies stop producing these hormones. This means sudden relaxation that comes from your Thanksgiving holiday could actually be leaving us more vulnerable to sickness than before.
(That’s not to say you should sustain your stress, there are long-term consequences to doing that. You can learn more about it, as well as The Let Down Effect and how to minimize it here.)
When I sense the sickness coming on, I immediately start to take both defensive and offensive measures so as to not have too much effect on my productivity. I know I’m supposed to just take it easy, but in reality running my own business makes it nearly impossible to hide under the covers for a few days without prior planning.
Aside from following the generic “get as much rest and drink plenty of water” advice, here are some things I do to stay as productive as I need to be:
Common homeopathic recommendations for managing colds or the flu are Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc.
There are studies that have shown Vitamin C does nothing to help with a cold or flu. This is what got Airborne in a heap of trouble for false marketing. I may drink orange juice for the electrolytes and to stay hydrated, but I don’t go out of my way to get extra Vitamin C.
I’ve read about studies on Echinacea that have shown if you take it regularly your immune system could get a boost, but by the time you start feeling the early symptoms of your sickness it is already too late. It sounds like a waste of time and money to me so I don’t mess with it.
That leaves is Zinc. There are studies that show Zinc can reduce the length and severity of the common cold. My personal experiences have shown this to be true. Zinc is the active ingredient in Zicam and I start taking it according to the directions as soon as I think I am getting sick.
I used to use the kind that you shoot up your nose. Apparently that causes some people to lose their sense of smell so its been recalled. This time I bought the lozenges.
This stuff is amazing. Not sure what they put in there and I don’t really care. It just works better than any other hot drink option I’ve tried. I buy it at Whole Foods and I keep a few boxes on hand just in case I ever get sick.
I like to drink it with fresh lemon and honey. It tastes great and feels even better on my throat.
I don’t mess with Sudafed, DayQuil or any over the counter cold medicines unless things get really bad. They just make me feel more sick than the sickness itself. If the packaging says you shouldn’t be operating heavy machinery, you probably shouldn’t be operating your business either.
I take the recommended dosage of Advil for the entire length of the sickness. This is mainly defensive measure to minimize pain from sore throats or headaches. If Advil doesn’t work on its own, I also have some cough drops or throat lozenges on hand.
I can’t do my normal workout routine when I get sick, but I try my damnedest to not spend the entire time laying down. Following Dr. Schoen’s recommendations, I do short, fast workouts to boost my immune system.
I go to the gym in my building that is always empty during the day (if it’s not I try again later.) I do a brisk walk for 3-5 minutes to warm-up, run a mile as fast as I can then do 3-5 minute cool-down. I ignore the fact that my body wants nothing to do with exercise or the treadmill. I come out feeling great because of it. It takes a lot of discipline, but its worth it.
NyQuil seems like a great idea as it does help you fall asleep faster. However, it doesn’t allow you to reach REM sleep, which is the only kind that matters. It actually prevents you from getting the only kind of sleep you need. That’s why you always seem to feel hung-over the morning after taking these types of medicines. Not really worth it.
If you have the Advil working full force, this is enough in the later stages of a cold or flu. Early on I take throat lozenges or cough drops before bed to give me enough relief to fall asleep.
If my illness is particularly bad I may break out the Sudafed before bed. I haven’t seen anything that says this blocks the REM sleep and it usually does help me sleep. I try to avoid it as a matter of principle because it makes me feel so loopy.
I hope all the American readers enjoyed their Thanksgiving and were able to get through it without getting sick. I wish I were so lucky, but I can guarantee during my next vacation I’ll be taking the advice towards the end of this post to avoid The Let Down Effect the best I can.
Now if you’ll excuse, me I must go make some more tea…
Your turn… What do you do to keep sickness from taking over your productivity and your business?
By Andy Parkinson, on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
While I’m on the topic of what makes a successful entrepreneur, I bring you a slide show with the results of an interesting study on the subject, though from a different angle. There are two quotes related to finance that I find interesting. First: Entrepreneurs believe financing is important, but many find ways around relying […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Monday, November 16th, 2009
Developing the Innate Index got me wondering if there was a link between personality and success as an entrepreneur. My business partner is a behavioral Psychologist who has spent a few decades coaching executives and entrepreneurs, so naturally I asked him about it. As it turns out there is actually a lot of research! Here’s […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Thursday, November 12th, 2009
The other day I was reading through the Art of Non-Conformity’s archives and I found a post that Chris wrote in the very beginning. I found myself nodding my head quite a bit as I read it. My favorite part is: True entrepreneurship involves the creation of processes, not just the creation of work. If […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Jonathan Fields, Career Renegade Extraordinaire, posted a little gem the other day. He literally saves you from reading thousands of books. I probably haven’t read quite as much as he has, but I can vouch for these none-the-less… Over the last dozen years, I’ve devoured thousands of books on business, leadership, success and lifestyles and […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
The focus of The Cranking Widgets Blog will have much more of an entrepreneurial bent going forward. I collect companies and business ideas like many productivity lovers collect pens and notebooks. Entrepreneurship is in every fiber of my being. My record is far from spotless, but if I judge my performance against the statistics I’ve […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich launched his automate your finances boot camp today. The curriculum is pretty solid. I believe having your personal finances in good shape is the hull of your Entrepreneurship (see what I did there?) If you are stressing a lot about finances or spending too much […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Monday, November 2nd, 2009
My last post was about doing the easy stuff that you’ve been putting off just because you don’t have all the answers or a grand plan. I decided it was time to eat some more of my own dog food and take a look at my incomplete projects. The shot above is from my active […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Friday, October 30th, 2009
I’m a huge fan of Ruby on Rails because of how fast it enables techies to get a new project out the door and into the hands of users. For non-programmers Ruby on Rails is a development framework brought to you by 37Signals that powers some of your favorite sites, like Basecamp, Twitter, LinkedIn and […]
By Andy Parkinson, on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
We had just finished putting on our full-body suits, our BCDs, weight belts and air tanks. The waves were about 4 feet tall as we waddled out with what felt like a ton of gear on our backs. Given our experience, 4 feet is high but we noticed the waves are coming in groups of 5, […]
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