Are you running at 3% like the young girl we met in school? (Or how to look after yourself a little better this year) This week’s “Coffee with Colm” episode.

A Carambola colleague asked a yawning young girl recently in a client school classroom was she tired;  her response was priceless – “I’m running at 3%!”

I’ve had a very busy week which, apart from work, involved a lot of travel and I find myself feeling a tad run ragged this weekend which is what perhaps brought that child’s wisdom to mind, “I’m running at 3%”; what a wonderfully simple phrase to express how many of us live our lives today, don’t you think?

We charge our phones every day – do we take the same care with our bodies? Most of us perhaps don’t.

I got some wonderful gifts at Christmas from my three children. One was a Fitbit from my son, Steven. Delighted to receive the gift of course, but being of a certain vintage, truthfully I wasn’t that enthusiastic about it being a Fit Bit, that is until I put it on and synced it with my phone and realized all the wonderful things it could measure!

To find out what it can measure, and the wonderful difference it has made in my life, watch the 5-min video, listen to the 5-min podcast, or read on below for more…

Since I discover what it could do, one thing I have become really interested in measuring is – my sleep! I used survive (and that’s the word for it, survive) on six hours per night but in recent years extended that to seven meaning that if there were seven hours on the clock between the time I put the lights out and when the morning alarm would sound, I was happy. Happy that is, until I started measuring it and realized I wasn’t getting the seven hours at all and those hours that I was getting were somewhat disturbed and restless. So I decided to increase my sleep to 7 1/2 hours and my Fitbit even tells me when it is time to ‘get ready for bed!’

That said, I have a habit of waking during the night and when I do, I will often get up, make tea and read and then attempt to push out the morning alarm a little to make up for it but I am delighted to report that progress has been made with an average of night’s sleep recorded 7:23 for this week – not bad given all the travel etc.

And when I think back to the words of that child, “I’m running at 3%”, I think of the wonderful wisdom in how that sentence describes how modern man lives… burning the candle at both ends and sometimes in the middle as well.

Right beside where I live there is a very tall, very old tree that I have nicknamed my ‘CawCaw’ tree because of the dozens of crows and/or blackbirds that live in it. When they are active all you can hear is ‘Caw, Caw, Caw, Caw’ as they go about their busy day. But the wonderful thing I am learning from nature, courtesy of these CawCaw is the fact that they live in sync with natural rhythms – as soon as it gets dark, whether that is 4.30pm in winter or 11pm in summer, they go to bed! Not a ‘Caw’ to be heard until first light – it’s magical.

I sometimes imagine the daddy and mammy CawCaws giving out when I go out late at night to throw something in the bin, looking down disdainfully at me, thinking “Will yer man ever stop makin’ noise? If he wakes these kids…he’ll know all about it”

Yes, nature has a wonderful rhythm about it that we, as humans, mostly fail to recognize. Animals and plants live in sync with this natural pace, yet we rail against it and stay at it morning, noon and night, then go to bed wound and wonder why we can’t sleep!

Shona, my eldest daughter gave me a beautiful gift of a book simply called “Letters Of Note” with a subtitle, ‘correspondence deserving a wider audience’; a wonderfully interesting tome comprised of letters from the famous, the infamous as well as regular Joes and Janes from down through the ages. For example, one letter is from Jack the Ripper to the man chasing him, one from Katherine Hepburn to her lover who had been dead for eighteen years, as well as one from a young boy in 1957 addressed to ‘A Top Scientist’ at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Rocket Range at Woomera, outlining plans for a space ship; his letter, including his space ship diagram, has been preserved in the National Archives of Australia. The book makes for fabulous reading and for me a great way to get my head out of the day and ready for sleep. I believe this has had a positive impact towards my increasing sleep hours.

The third gift, from my youngest daughter, Jenna, was a pair of leather gloves with woolen inserts, perfect in this winter period for my walks and cycles which have also attained greater importance since I started measuring with my Fitbit. And, quelle surprise? I sleep better because I am getting more fresh air and more directed movement.

Really and truly most of us need to look after ourselves a bit better. POYOOMF – Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First – you have to be in good shape yourself before you can be of real use to those you serve.

What’s involved in that? You need to

  • rest more,
  • exercise more,
  • eat less (perhaps)
  • and you need to put good stuff into your brain, not just mindless tv, games or useless social media content.

Don’t’ run at 3%. Recharge yourself every day. Put on your own oxygen mask first every day. Look after yourself every day and life, I promise, will be better.


Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly.


Watch | Listen | Read | Think.

Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • 5 Tips on How To Get More Out Of Life from a man born without limbs – click here.
  • 4 Lessons we can learn from Jim Warny – one of the heroes of the Thai Cave Rescue – click here.
  • Mind The Gap (Or what Ruby Wax taught us from the Pendulum Stage) – click here.

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DEEP DIVE. If you would like to go deeper in your own personal journey, you can review the first step in my “12 Steps to Create the Life You Really Want” for FREE. Check it out here.

LinkedIn. Perhaps the thing to do right now is simply to hook up professionally on LinkedIn – if that’s of interest, click here.

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