Friday Favourites – 24th August

You may have noticed (my lovely little loyal group of readers!) that I have had a few weeks off writing my Friday Favourites. I have been using the time to reflect on what I want this blog to be, who I want to reach and what I can offer you. I’ve also been working on some new content that I would like to share with you asap. So here are a few of my favourites from this past week…

Favourite Book

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Did you know that ten days of six hours of sleep a night is all it takes to impair performance to the same level as going without sleep for 24 hours straight? Or that humans can never 'sleep back' that which we have previously lost? • As the new working week begins, ask yourself how often you idealise being a sleep warrior, getting by on inadequate sleep? In this fascinating book by Matthew Walker, he outlines why this attitude is causing our society to suffer, but also shows how we can all be happier and more productive simply using a freely available resource: sleep! • This Monday morning, consider how you can integrate a balance of sleep, work and play into your existing lifestyle, giving yourself an 8 hour window of opportunity to sleep each night. • #sleep #whywesleep #wellness #wellbeing #happiness #mentalhealthadvice #mentalhealthtips #culturalchange #productivity #productivityhacks #selfhelpbooks #matthewwalker #mondaymotivation #thoughtfortheweek

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Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time – it is truly transformative. I am now choosing to prioritise sleep, as Walker presents overwhelming evidence that sleep, rather than diet or exercise, is the foundational pillar of health.

This prioritisation means ensuring an 8-hour sleep opportunity window each night. So, if I go to bed at 11, my alarm will not be set earlier than 7. Realistically, I am accepting 7 hours – but that is my hard limit. Over time, I’m hoping to increase to a non-negotiable 8, but that will require changing a few habits and behaviours. I also will need to get used to slightly earlier bedtimes.

His top advice, however, is to get up and go to bed at the same time each day, whether or not it is a weekend. Unfortunately that is the most difficult to implement! Not only because of busy schedules, but also FOMO! I don’t necessarily mean fear of missing big nights out. Rather, on a daily basis, training myself to go to bed without feeling I am missing out on free time in the late evening.

Favourite Podcast

Tim Ferriss – Coach George Raveling

Tim Ferriss’ podcast is no stranger to my Friday Favourites posts but he has really pulled one out of the bag this time. Listening to Coach George Raveling was captivating from start to finish. He has a fascinating life story, with experiences ranging from standing behind Dr King at his iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, through to his work with Phil Knight at Nike.

I adored their discussion on how they make notes whilst reading. My inherent impulse to keep books as pristine and immaculate as possible presents a mental blockade to the idea of making notes in margins or scribbling my thoughts.

For a while, I experimented with keeping note cards in the front of the book to jot down my favourite takeaways, but I do not always have a note card on me.

Increasingly, I’m thinking I should simply take the leap: by marking the sections on which I want to focus for a second reading, I will be able to skip through much more quickly. (And, let’s be honest, I virtually never re-read books anyway!)

I also like the idea of creating an ‘index’ on the inside cover of the book, to quickly and easily find the parts that interested me.

Lastly, Raveling’s method for deciding whether to purchase a book was thoroughly entertaining and so relatable! I certainly need some rules to create a barrier to purchase. For books, however, I do have a system! I simply take a photograph of the book in the store, and keep an album on my phone of books I have seen. If something sticks in my mind or I keep looking it up online to read reviews etc, then I know it is worth a read.

Now to find a good mental barrier to impulsive make-up purchases…!

Favourite Place

The Lake District

I have caught the walking bug.

Who else wants to spend all their days heading out into the mountains to explore new places, and incredible views like this one?

I spent 4 days at the start of this week in the Lake District in the UK, and I simply cannot believe how incredible I found the whole experience. The views were mind-blowing, it was a fantastic way to reconnect to nature, and escape from the business of London life. Taking time each day to walk, explore, breathe in the fresh air, before coming home to cosy nights in was luxurious.

I felt I have grown in new ways that I have not yet fully processed or understood. Taking time out has helped me to reflect on what I want to achieve, but also challenged me both physically and mentally.

It was on my list of 18 for 2018, so I’m overwhelmingly pleased to have checked this off.

Favourite Quote

From: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

We took advantage of the time in the lakes to re-watch the Harry Potter films, and I fell back in love with the wonderful story. It took me hurtling back to my childhood, remembering hours and hours spent curled up reading the huge volumes every spare second I could.

I’ll never forget the time my brother and I wanted to queue up at midnight to get a copy of the books, but to our dismay our parents wouldn’t let us…. We woke up the next day to find copies waiting for us. Turns out, our Dad had gone out in the night. I don’t think I have ever since experienced that much sheer excitement and joy for a new book.

There are so many wonderful moments in these stories, but here is one of my favourites:

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real? – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

What are some of your favourite takeaways from fiction? What stories take you straight back to your childhood?