Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite mentors get so much done? You know those people who are widely successful and seems to have it all pulled together, all the time? Recently, I was listening to an interview of one of my mentors, when asked how she gets so much done, she replied she gets a lot of sleep.
Isn’t the key to success sacrificing precious hours of sleep while you bang out your manifesto to take over the world in the wee hours of the night? I know sometimes I feel people, especially moms, who accomplish amazing things, must sustain themselves on very little sleep.
But this interview was not the first time I had heard wildly successful people say that getting enough sleep was key to accomplishing their goals (usually along with clean eating, exercises and goal setting).
I’ve always been a morning person, but I noticed lately my bedtime had been creeping later and later. I’d been staying up to finish up blog posts, do work for my volunteer job, plan my first product launch, catch up on Social Media or just stay up too late (Storage Wars, anyone?)!
My husband was about to head out of town last week, so I decided to try to go to bed early and set myself up for 8 hours of sleep a while he was gone. For me that was 10pm to 6am. I did it every night and well…I felt great.
The first thing I noticed was pretty obvious…I didn’t feel tired during the day! I could still function at 4pm, verses needing an iced coffee and a cartoon break for the kids. But that is the outcome I expected.
The surprising outcome? The gurus were right…I actually accomplished MORE! I found that rather than staying up late and slogging through a project while propping my eyes open with toothpicks, if I went to bed earlier, I could also wake up earlier. I could get up 30-45 minutes before my kids feeling refreshed and turn out higher quality work in less time.
I also LOVE the feeling of getting something crossed off my list first thing in the morning. I felt accomplished and it allowed to be go through the rest of my day more present with my kids, instead of trying to figure out when I would get time to get something done. And because I was more rested, I was better able to utilize those free moments I did have.
Now, I know that different people have different peak work times, and I strongly believe you have to honor that for yourself. But I know for me, my peak time is in the morning and I am more productive, happier and better at parenting if I turn out the lights earlier.
Want to start going to bed earlier? Here are my 3 tips to send you to dreamland sooner.
- Get Ready For Bed Earlier: I’ll admit that I have watched one more tv program because I am too tired to get up and get ready for bed. Completely backward thinking, I know. I’ve started getting ready for bed when my 4 year old gets ready. Then I can unwind and when the clock says it’s my bedtime…I just get in bed! (bonus…brush your teeth earlier and you are less likely to snack before bed!)
This also goes for packing and planning the next day too. I’ve started packing my bag and laying out my clothes for the next day earlier in the evening, so there is nothing between me and my bed when I’m ready to get in it!
- Set a Bedtime and Wind Down Projects 30 Minutes Before That Time: You’ve read it a million times about how working on the computer before bed, or even watching tv can actually stimulate you and make it harder to fall asleep. I also find I start to get wrapped up in finishing a project and then all of a sudden it is an hour or more past my bedtime and I am wired. Now, if I want to work on a project after the kids go to bed, I give myself an end time deadline of at least 30 minutes before my bedtime.
- Plan Your Day Time Hours Better and Be More Realistic:I noticed the nights I felt I needed to stay up late to finish work projects was when I felt I “didn’t do enough” during the day. Like many moms who are juggling working from home with kids, I have very finite blocks of time to work on any given day. I have recently started being really realistic, really specific and really ruthless with my ‘must dos’ for the day. I have been setting monthly goals, broken down into weekly goals, then setting my daily must-dos based on these goals AND on how much time I have free on any day.
I also recently, finally, started following every business gurus advice about not checking email and social media during my dedicated work time. You know what…it totally works. So, when I say I am being really ruthless, that’s what I mean. If I have 2 hours during naptime, I am working on my must-dos for the day. I am amazed at how much I get done when I am able to really focus. If I get my must-dos done during the day, then I can spend a little time in the evening checking social media or returning emails…then close up shop for the night and feel totally confident I’ve had a productive day.
What time do you hit the sack? Do you wish it was earlier? In the comments leave 1 way you can try to get in bed earlier tonight…just aim for 15 minutes earlier and build from there!
Now…its time for me to go to bed