The Counterproductive Myth: Why Sacrificing Sleep for Productivity Backfires

It is a real pitty to say, but it is not uncommon at all for people to sacrifice sleep in pursuit of productivity.

Does this make sense? No.

Can you believe it? Yes.

Do you feel a little guilty now? Maybe?

It’s one thing to talk about the importance of sleep and still go to bed too late every evening, neglecting the long-term implications. To make it a bit more tangible, I took the effort to research some scientific findings that consistently shown that neglecting sleep is counterproductive and undermines your ability to be a healthy high performer. This article should – hopefully – be a friendly reminder for all of you reading these lines and take sleep as serious as it is supposed to be. I will explore the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on productivity and delve into the scientific evidence that supports the importance of prioritizing sleep for success. I will also examine how well-rested leaders possess qualities such as empathy, creativity, innovation, and sound decision-making, which are crucial for all of us achieving long-term success.

The Adverse Impact of Sleep Deprivation

Numerous scientific studies highlight the negative consequences of sleep deprivation on cognitive function and productivity. One study conducted at Harvard Medical School found that sleep-deprived individuals exhibit impairments in attention, working memory, and cognitive processing speed, leading to decreased productivity and increased errors (Banks et al., 2007). Sleep deprivation also compromises decision-making abilities, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think creatively (Killgore, 2010). These findings underscore the notion that sacrificing sleep compromises our cognitive capabilities and diminishes productivity rather than enhancing it.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Sleep deprivation not only affects cognitive function but also impairs our emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships. Research conducted at the University of California, Berkeley revealed that lack of sleep reduces the brain’s capacity to accurately interpret and respond to emotional cues, leading to a decline in empathy and emotional intelligence (Walker, 2017). Well-rested leaders, on the other hand, are better equipped to understand and connect with their team members, fostering a positive work environment that promotes collaboration and trust – both the baseline for any organization or team try to master current times of uncertainty!

Unleashing Creativity and Innovation

Sleep plays a vital role in facilitating creative thinking and fostering innovative ideas. A study published in the journal “Thinking & Reasoning” demonstrated that sleep enhances insight problem-solving and facilitates the integration of unrelated concepts, resulting in innovative solutions (Wagner et al., 2004). Adequate sleep allows the brain to consolidate information, make novel connections, and engage in creative problem-solving, enabling well-rested leaders to approach challenges with fresh perspectives and breakthrough thinking.

Sound Decision-Making

Effective decision-making is a cornerstone of success in leadership and entrepreneurship. Sleep deprivation, however, impairs judgment and compromises our ability to make sound decisions. A study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, revealed that sleep-deprived individuals tend to make riskier decisions and exhibit a reduced ability to evaluate potential outcomes accurately. In contrast, leaders who prioritize sleep can make better-informed decisions, weighing the pros and cons with clarity and rationality.

Why It Matters for Success

Well-rested leaders who prioritize sleep possess a competitive edge in the long run. By nurturing qualities such as empathy, creativity, innovation, and sound decision-making, they create a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent. Moreover, they are better equipped to handle complex challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and lead their teams with clarity and inspiration. All of these qualities are urgently needed for any organization and industry these days. We know, success is not solely measured by immediate outcomes but by sustained growth, innovation, and long-term achievements – all of which are enhanced by prioritizing quality sleep.

The belief that sacrificing sleep leads to enhanced productivity is a counterproductive myth. Scientific research consistently shows that neglecting sleep undermines cognitive function, impairs emotional intelligence, stifles creativity, and compromises decision-making abilities. Well-rested leaders, on the other hand, possess qualities that are essential for long-term success, including heightened empathy, enhanced creativity, innovative thinking, and sound decision-making skills. Hopefully now, having read some scientific research findings, you truly recognize the importance of quality sleep as a catalyst for success and go for a good rest tonight!

The Habit of Saying “No”: Why It’s So Important to Learn and 5 Easy Tricks to Do It

Saying “no” can be one of the most difficult things to do, especially for those who are people-pleasers or have a fear of disappointing others. But it’s not only those considered „weak“ – also many leaders and decision makers have their own way of fighting with this little word “no”. However, learning to say “no” is an essential habit for maintaining healthy boundaries, reducing stress, mastering productivity, managing one’s own needs and last but not least: achieving your goals and not just working off the tasks on other people’s agendas! In this article, we will explore why it is so important to learn to say “no,” why people fail in saying “no,” and five easy tricks on how to say “no” more often.

Why Saying “No” is Important

Learning to say “no” is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows individuals to prioritize their own needs and goals. Without the ability to say “no,” individuals can become overwhelmed with responsibilities and commitments that do not align with their values or priorities. Saying “no” enables individuals to focus on what is truly important to them, whether it be personal goals, self-care, or spending time with loved ones. Think of a small child, 2-3 years old, trying to get what she wants and throwing this insisting, unmistakable “no” at Mum or Dad – this is a living example of saying “no” because of prioritizing one’s own, current needs!

Second, saying “no” helps to establish healthy boundaries. Boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships, both personal and professional. Without boundaries, individuals can become overworked, stressed, and even resentful of others. Saying “no” when necessary can help individuals establish and maintain boundaries, communicate their needs, and promote mutual respect in their relationships.

Finally, saying “no” can reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Constantly saying “yes” to every request or opportunity can lead to burnout, fatigue, and decreased mental and physical health. By saying “no” when necessary, individuals can reduce stress, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and prioritize their own well-being.

Why People Fail in Saying “No”

Despite the importance of saying “no” from a productivity point, many individuals struggle to do so. There are several reasons why people fail in saying “no,” including:

  • Fear of disappointing others: Many people-pleasers fear that saying “no” will disappoint or upset others, leading them to say “yes” to everything.
  • Guilt: Individuals may feel guilty for saying “no,” especially if they have a strong desire to please others.
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Individuals may worry that saying “no” will cause them to miss out on opportunities or experiences.
  • Lack of assertiveness: Some individuals may struggle with assertiveness, making it difficult for them to say “no” without feeling guilty or uncomfortable.
  • Need for approval: Some individuals may feel a strong need for approval from others, leading them to say “yes” to everything to gain validation or acceptance.

5 Easy Tricks and Advice to Say “No” More Often

Learning to say “no” takes practice and to make it a habit is part of any core productivity routine. There are several easy tricks and advice to help individuals become more comfortable with this habit:

  • Prioritize your values and goals: Before committing to anything, take time to reflect on your values and goals. Does this opportunity align with what is important to you? Will it help you achieve your goals? If not, consider saying “no.”
  • Use “I” statements: When saying “no,” use “I” statements to communicate your needs and boundaries. For example, “I cannot commit to this right now” or “I need to prioritize my own well-being at the moment.”
  • Offer alternatives: If you cannot say “yes” to a request or opportunity, offer an alternative that aligns with your values and goals. For example, “I cannot attend this event, but I would be happy to help you plan the next one.”
  • Practice assertiveness: Assertiveness takes practice, but it is a skill that can be learned. Use assertive language,

While it may be difficult at first, there are several easy tricks and advice that individuals can use to become more comfortable with saying “no.” By prioritizing values and goals, using “I” statements, offering alternatives, practicing assertiveness, and recognizing that it is okay to say “no,” individuals can establish and maintain healthy boundaries, improve their overall well-being, and build stronger, more respectful relationships. Despite „no“ being such a short, simple word it does take practice for many people – young and old, experienced and juniors alike – to become more and more comfortable to say “no”. So, don’t be afraid to say “no” when necessary and prioritize your own needs and goals. Your mental and physical health will thank you and „no“ will be your key to many “yes-es” to follow!

5 Mistakes That Cause New Habits to Fail

Habits are the key. Your habits determine how much money is in your bank account and the size of your waistline. Your habits determine the quality of your life. It can seem impossible to break bad habits or to create new, positive habits. Most people have an ineffective approach. They try to go cold turkey and rely on willpower to force the necessary changes. You already know this doesn’t work unless you’re incredibly motivated, and motivation isn’t reliable. It’s here one day and gone the next. To create new habits more effectively, you should avoid these most common mistakes:

1. Changing too much, too soon.

A new habit is best installed in baby steps. If you want to spend two hours each day writing your novel, start with a single sentence each day. One sentence accomplishes something exciting: it gets you in the habit of sitting down and writing when it’s time to write. That’s the most important first step.

  • Start with small changes. Then increase the amount of time and effort when the habit of beginning is in place.
  • Seek behavioral changes that are so easy, you can’t possibly fail.

2. Relying on self-discipline.

If your habit requires self-discipline, it won’t last. At most, self-discipline should only be required to make a habit of getting started. Habits are automatic. Self-discipline isn’t required to eat a candy bar or watch TV for most of us. If you have a habit of going to the gym, self-discipline isn’t required for that either.

  • Self-discipline is a short-term solution.
  • Seek behavioral changes that are so easy, you don’t need self-discipline.

3. Expecting a new habit to be easy to install.

Change isn’t easy. You’ll become complacent and lazy if you expect a new habit to be easy to implement. We’d all be rich, in shape, and speak five languages if creating new habits were a simple matter.

4. Expecting a new habit to be difficult to install.

The opposite is also true. If you expect the process to be exceptionally difficult, you’ll also struggle. The thought of doing anything that’s hard can be sufficient reason to never get started in the first place.

  • New behaviors are easy to implement if you start slowly and have patience. It’s moving ahead slowly and having patience that are difficult.

5. Relying too much on information.

Our society is blessed, or cursed, with access to an excessive amount of information. This can create several challenges:

  • It’s very easy to believe that you don’t know enough to take the first step. There’s always something out there that you don’t know. The need to know everything before getting started can leave you stuck. There’s no prize for knowing the most. There is great success in doing the most, though.
  • The belief that knowledge alone is sufficient is just as harmful. You might know how to do pushups, but that doesn’t provide the same results as doing 100 of them each day.
  • The special forces have a motto that 60% is enough to take action. If you know 60% of the relevant information, you know enough to move forward. You can figure out the other 40% along the way. Spend 90% of your time doing and 10% learning.

Dropping your negative habits and adding new, supportive habits is the key to changing your circumstances. Unfortunately, our instincts about change are incorrect. Tiny changes are easy to implement and build upon. But this approach requires patience and the belief that it can work. Remember: small changes add up to big results. Avoid the most common mistakes when attempting to add a new habit to your life and you’ll find greater success in adding habits that make a positive impact on your life.

Top 7 Productivity Hacks for Busy Business Leaders

Productivity is a critical component of success for leaders, as it directly impacts their ability to achieve organizational goals, meet deadlines, and maximize their team’s potential. The demands of modern leadership require leaders to manage a multitude of responsibilities simultaneously, including strategic planning, employee management, and decision-making. Leaders who can optimize their productivity and work efficiently will not only achieve more but also set an example for their team to follow. In this way, productivity is an essential characteristic of effective leadership, and mastering productivity skills can help leaders improve their overall performance and achieve their organization’s objectives. Here are the top 7 productivity hacks for busy entrepreneurs and senior leaders:


One of the most effective productivity hacks is time-blocking. This involves setting aside specific blocks of time for different tasks or activities. By planning and prioritizing your time in advance, you can ensure that you are focusing on the most important tasks and avoiding distractions.

Delegate tasks

Another important productivity hack is delegation. As a busy entrepreneur or senior leader, it is important to delegate tasks to others in your team or organization. This can help you to focus on the tasks that require your unique skills and expertise, and can also help to develop the skills and abilities of your team members.

Use productivity tools

There are many productivity tools available today that can help you to manage your time and tasks more effectively. These include task management apps, calendar apps, note-taking apps, and project management software. Experiment with different tools and find the ones that work best for you. Look for ways to automate routine tasks, such as scheduling social media posts, sending follow-up emails, and generating reports. This will save time and allow you to focus on more important tasks.

Take breaks

Taking regular breaks is an important productivity hack that can help you to stay focused and energized throughout the day. Studies have shown that taking short breaks throughout the day can actually increase productivity and creativity, as well as reduce stress and fatigue.

Prioritize Tasks

Make a list of tasks that need to be done for the day or week and prioritize them based on urgency and importance. Tackle the high-priority items first and then move onto the lower-priority ones.

Say No

Avoid taking on too much work and learn to say no when necessary. It is better to do a few things well than to do many things poorly.

Take care of self-care

It is important to prioritize self-care as a busy entrepreneur or senior leader. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise or other physical activity. Prioritizing self-care can help you to maintain your energy and focus throughout the day, and can also help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Remember, productivity is not about working harder, but rather, working smarter. These productivity hacks can help you achieve more with less stress and effort. If you feel like enjoying more best practice productivity hacks for busy leaders and how to gain at leat one hour a day for things that YOU would like to do, reach out to for more info!

Why Decluttering Should Be Core to Leadership Development Programs

Every leader has had the pleasure of participating in one or more different leadership development programs over the course of his or her career. These programs are supposed to prepare leaders across industries and countries for juggling a myriad of tasks and responsibilities. With so much on their plate, it’s easy for clutter and complexity to creep in and overwhelm even the most organized individuals.

This is why visionary leadership development programs truly cover business and people related content. Also essentials skills like decluttering and creating simplicity can be powerful tools for leaders. These are used to increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve their overall well-being. Therefore, one needs to learn all these early in any career.

Decluttering is the process of removing unnecessary items, tasks, or thoughts from one’s life. This can range from physical clutter such as excessive possessions to mental clutter such as negative self-talk. Simplifying involves streamlining tasks, reducing distractions, and focusing on what is truly important. When applied to a leader’s life, decluttering and simplicity can have numerous benefits.

Improved Productivity

Clutter and complexity can be major productivity killers. When there are too many items on a to-do list or too many distractions in the workplace, it’s easy to get bogged down and lose focus. In fact, research shows that multitasking and constant interruptions can reduce productivity by as much as 40% (1). By simplifying tasks and reducing distractions, leaders can improve their productivity and accomplish more in less time.

Enhanced Creativity

Clutter and complexity can also stifle creativity. When the mind is overwhelmed with too many thoughts or distractions, it can be difficult to generate new ideas or think outside the box. On the other hand, a simple and uncluttered environment can help the mind relax and make space for creativity to flourish. According to a study by the University of Minnesota, a clean and organized workspace can boost productivity and creativity by up to 30% (2).

Reduced Stress

Stress is a common problem for leaders, but decluttering and simplicity can help reduce its impact. When the mind is constantly juggling multiple tasks or worries, it can be difficult to relax and unwind. By simplifying tasks and reducing clutter, leaders can create a more peaceful and calming environment that promotes relaxation and reduces stress levels. In fact, a study by the University of California found that people who described their homes as “cluttered” or “disorganized” had higher levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress (3). An excellent reason why to make decluttering skills core for any leadership development program.

Improved Decision Making

Clutter and complexity can also impact decision making. When there are too many choices or distractions in your mind, it can become difficult for making clear and rational decisions. Simplifying tasks and reducing clutter can help clear the mind and make it easier to make informed and effective decisions. In fact, research shows that reducing the number of choices in a decision-making scenario can lead to better decisions (4).

Real-Life Examples

Many successful leaders have embraced decluttering and simplicity as part of their daily routine. Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit every day to reduce decision fatigue and simplify his morning routine. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, reportedly wears the same gray t-shirt and hoodie every day to streamline his wardrobe. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet lives in a modest home and famously avoids frivolous spending to simplify his life and focus on his work.


In conclusion, decluttering and simplicity can be powerful tools for successful leaders looking to increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve their overall well-being. By streamlining tasks, reducing distractions, and focusing on what is truly important, leaders can create a more peaceful and productive environment that promotes creativity and effective decision making. Whether it’s simplifying a wardrobe, decluttering a workspace, or reducing the number of tasks on a to-do list, small changes can make a big impact. Unfortunately, nobody trains, studies, or learns these skills in the best academic institutions. Thus it is essential to make decluttering skills core in any leadership development program.

Curious to experience a leadership development program that delivers all this? Reach out to us and join our next batch of Be.Me. Self-Leadership Program!


Mark, G., & Gudith, D. (2018). The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress. Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(6), 592–606.

10 Simple Habits That Will Enhance Your Life

Too many people believe it’s necessary to move mountains to see a worthwhile uptick in their lives. This simply isn’t true. Small habits that are repeated over and over create change and momentum.

These 10 habits take little to no time but create big results. It’s more about being more effective and training your self-leadership skills than it is about doing more.
Are you ready for small changes that make a big impact?

1. Create a plan for tomorrow before going to bed

Having a plan for the day before you go to bed is a simple yet powerful habit. Think about your goals and what needs to be accomplished tomorrow.
Write it down and then put it aside until the next morning.

2. Make the first meal of your day a healthy one

Whether you eat breakfast or wait until lunch, ensure that your first meal is good for you. When you start off eating poorly, the rest of the day is usually a dietary catastrophe.
Get off to a good start and you’ll be more likely to eat well the remainder of the day.

3. Deal with the least pleasant task on your list as soon as possible

Avoid putting off your most unpleasant tasks until the end of the day. Guess why? Because they won’t get done once they moved to the end-of-the-day column. You’ll ruin your entire day because you feel the burden of needing to get it done! So, get the least pleasant or sometimes it is also the most challenging tasks out of the way and enjoy the remainder of your day.

4. Avoid worrying about things and events outside of your control

It’s like driving a car: you can only control it if you are behind the steering wheel and in the driver’s seat. Once you are a passenger, you need to go with the flow, and you will end up where the driver suggested you go. True self-leaders know about the importance of getting in the driver’s seat for your life and making choices that you want and not worrying about things outside your control.
If you’re going to worry, at least expend the energy on something you can influence. Then you can come up with a plan to make the situation better.

5. Smile More

Smiling makes you, and everyone around you, feel better. It never hurts to smile and smiling makes you more attractive to others. Think about the person you know with the greatest smile. What do you like about it? See if you can create a smile just as great.

6. Be thankful

It sounds almost too basic to being considered a habit. It’s easy to focus on the things you don’t have, but much more pleasant and useful to focus on the things you do have. Feeling grateful tends to bring you more things to feel grateful for. It also makes you more effective in everything you do. In case you have a personal challenge with taking this view of the world, try this: every night before you go to sleep, name 5 things you are thankful for today and then see if you can expand your list to 7, 10 or 12 items. What a wonderful way to fall asleep!

7. Meditate

With a proven plethora of physical and psychological benefits, meditation is a wonderful habit to develop and maintain in your life. This habit of meditation will get you a long way and it is the master-habit for true self-leadership because it requires you to be in the here and now, to focus your attention on just you. Don’t start with anything fancy, maybe just start with a few minutes a day sitting in silence observing your breath flow in and out of your body.

8. Review your day

Try to learn something from each day. Imagine if you adjusted your approach to life just the tiniest bit each day. Making this a habit wouldn’t take long before you were living life at a whole new level. Review your mistakes and successes each evening is what self-leadership requires because otherwise there is no progress.

9. Exercise

Modern society doesn’t provide much in the way of physical exertion for most of us. If your job isn’t physically demanding, it’s important to add some exercise to your life. Not just for your body but also your brain graves a decent amount of movement to function properly and execute all the above-mentioned habits to your fullest satisfaction. Exercise is good for your mind AND body.

10. Do something enjoyable each day

Life should be enjoyed because that’s what it is all about! Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to run out of time the day before you have a chance to enjoy yourself. Self-leadership is also about taking good care of yourself and making sure you are having a good time every day. So, try to schedule at least 30 minutes every day to do whatever YOU want.

The life you’re currently experiencing is the result of your current habits and how much self-leadership you truly exercise. New habits lead to a new life. There are many simple habits that can create significant changes in a minimal amount of time. Creating the life that you desire requires building habits that support that life.