The 5 Minute Tech Break : May 11

Hey Everyone

Slight delay with this weeks 5 minute tech break, which is coming at ya on this Saturday morning.

Simple reason for the delay ... it's been a crazy week for us here at CTO Academy.

We're expanding, bringing on fantastic new people, building a fabulous new eLearning experience and you know what, there comes a time when you just have to close the laptop and say, it's going out tomorrow.

And this sense of self preservation got me thinking about the theme for this newsletter, taking care of yourself.  Not something that entrepreneurs, tech leaders and managers always prioritise, as we absorb the many demands on our time.

Here's some thoughts on the subject ....


Article of the Week :
How to spot burnout in your team (and yourself)

I'm pretty confident there is no-one reading this newsletter who is not under significant strain during any given week or month.

Running a business, managing people, juggling home life, keeping up with news and technology ... all push hard for demands on that very precious commodity, your time.

And what happens in the background, is that we all struggle (and sometimes fail) to focus on a little "me" time.  To ensure we create some downtime for us ... mentally, physically, emotionally.

Yes there's the 2 week holiday with the kids, that looms large in the diary ... like a distant oasis across the desert terrain.  But in the meantime?  You got to make sure you're looking after yourself folks.

A recent addition to our team (welcome Joyce) took a look this week at the issue of burnout.  Important to spot signs within your team, whilst at the same time, making sure you're monitoring it for yourself.  Article here.

Sanctus :
Creating the worlds first mental health gym


We're huge fans of a team here in the UK called Sanctus.

Sanctus set up a few years ago with a mission is to change the perception of mental health.

In their own words "we see a world where people view mental health like physical health and we want to put the world’s first mental health gym on the high street".

Within start ups, fast growth companies and the tech scene in particular, we're often operating in a smoke and mirrors environment, populated with the bullshit mantra of "fake it, till you make it".  Organisations like Sanctus are making an impact, as much by their raw honesty as anything else they provide.

One Sanctus founder (James Routledge) writes a searingly honest blog about these issues.  Honest not only in being very public about mental health but also as part of that transparent process in acknowledging his failures, cock ups .. as well as his success, progress, traction etc.

We all inhabit a working environment of constantly having to please, reassure, lead people. Satisfying investors, keeping stakeholders on board, driving traction, producing positive marketing messages.  We inhabit our own world of smoke and mirrors, a front that can have its own impact on our sense of wellbeing and mental health.

Which is why I applaud the increasing availability of forums where an open and honest discussion about mental health can take place, and hopefully it's a significant move towards much greater transparency and honesty in business, and the wider world.

Many ways to maintain your mental health

So we've alerted you to spot signs of burnout, directed you towards the wonderful world of Sanctus, how about some positive steps towards maintaining your own mental health.

From a personal perspective, my biggest issue as I battle on various fronts with start ups, family and life .... is not keeping as healthy as I should.

Failing to maintain optimal fitness and diet has a direct impact on my sense of wellbeing and from that, my focus and motivation from which I'm at risk of under performing, failing to achieve targets I set myself, with consequences on self worth ... etc. etc.

You get it, it's a slippery slope.

So I'm on a constant journey of trying to maintain positive habits, such as;

1.Eating well is crucial for my sense of well being.  

For me, it's about getting into good routines and making myself accountable.  

When things go bad or results are disappointing, I can quickly reach for that super size chocolate bar so my aim is to monitor closely during the week, perhaps treat myself during the weekend.

2. Exercise.  Well it's not rocket science, but can easily slip under a heavy workload.

I know how much more impactful I am when I've done even a small amount of exercise.  Just cycling my daughter down to school in the morning, transforms my positivity and output.  But I can quickly fall into bad habits of putting off the gym, or not following my physic instructions when nursing an injury, or snacking when I should be jumping on that bike.  

3. Breathing exercises in the morning have been a recent addition to my daily routine and here, I take my hat off to that old gravelly voiced motivator, Tony Robbins.  

His 10 minute breathing exercise in the morning is a winner, makes me feel super invigorated.

4. Never compare.  Do you spend time comparing yourself with pals, peers, parents?  I've certainly been quilty of that, particularly when faced with a setback or failure.  

Most of my peers have stuck with successful careers and whilst they've had their ups and downs, it's been a relatively stable journey.  The entrepreneurial journey is far from that and whilst I've never regretted once my decision to pursue this life, failure has brought on severe introspection at times and negative comparisons with others.  

I love what I do, never regretted once the journey I've taken but it did take me a while to realise that I'm not defined by success or failure and that comparisons are neither healthy, nor relevant.

5. Close the laptop, watch some comedy, have a snooze.  

If you're having a shit day, tomorrow is almost always better.

Don't fight it or force it.  

When I've had a particularly challenging day.  I shut up shop and put on some comedy.  

Sometimes during the day itself, to break a negative flow.  Some quick fire Alan Partridge or Larry David and I'm back in the zone.

Here's 7 more ways to maintain your mental health

... hey and the most important thing today?

.... it's simple, family, friends, laughter, life, love.

Keep all of these things close.  Value them highly.  

And enjoy a wonderful weekend.

Quote of the Week ...

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” - Amy March

For those of you with an insatiable appetite for our words, you can spend this lovely weekend reviewing the archive of previous '5 minute tech breaks'.

Until next time ...