Blessed Thursday, everyone!
For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you've probably noticed that I'm an early riser. To me, there's nothing more perfect than waking up before dawn, embracing the stillness of the morning and knocking a few things off my to-do list before heading to work.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine joked that I didn't get any sleep because I always seemed to be getting sh*t done. While I was flattered and I'm not at all where I want to be with effectively managing my time, I'm here to set the record straight once and for all - I am HUGE fan of sleep. Power naps and siestas are my absolute jam, and I actively look forward to sleeping in an extra 30 minutes or so on the weekends. Why? Because a good night's rest does wonders for my productivity.
As a creative, my to-do lists are never ending. From drafting and publishing blog posts, to scheduling (and aimlessly scrolling through) social media, to setting up meetings with future collaborators via email, it feels like I'm always in grind mode and can sometimes find myself wanting to work around the clock. But here's a secret: the work will always be there. Unless you are responsible for protecting the nation's nuclear codes, you absolutely deserve to get at least six to seven hours of sleep per night.
I've realized time and time again that the lack of sleep not only effs up my productivity, but it makes me forgetful and disoriented. If I'm not careful, I can find myself staring up at my ceiling at 2:30 AM thinking the most random thoughts. So to avoid walking around like a grouchy zombie, I've made it a practice to be in the bed by no later than 11:30 pm during the week.
If you are finding that it's still a challenge to get to sleep without worrying about what the next day may bring, peep these four ways you can be productive before bedtime:
1. Set a bedtime (and wake time) and stick to it. For the last nine or so months, I've been doing my best to consistently hit the hay during the week by 11 PM. While life does happen (phone calls with loved ones, dramatic reactions to episodes of Scandal with my group chat, informative Twitter chats) I have made it a non-negotiable to be in the bed by this time to get a solid 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep. With help from my Bedtime app, (sorry Android users, this is an iPhone function) I can set my bed and wake up times. iPhone is even kind enough to provide you with an analysis of your sleep!
Take a look at mine below:
2. Make your to-do list for the next day BEFORE you go to sleep. As I've said before, there's nothing more harmful to your psyche and sleep pattern than staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of the morning trying to figure out what you did and did not do the day before. Break out your handy dandy notebook and write that sh*t down! Not only will you feel at peace with yourself, but you won't overthink to the tenth degree. Let go and let God, beloved.
3. Do something that requires your full attention that isn’t a cell phone or television screen. Read a book, journal, knit, make origami - whatever! Personally, I have a bedtime book that I read (currently, "Adultery" by Paulo Coehlo) and within 20 minutes, I'm out like a light. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness." So to combat that, I would highly suggest putting your phone out of reach (I keep my phone on the kitchen counter) set your alarm for the morning and forget it! Trust me, those Instagram stories and Twitter threads you think you might miss from your favorites will be waiting for you in the morning.
4. Set your intentions for your morning, and be consistent. Each and every morning, regardless if I'm running late or on schedule, I have to have my quiet time. This consists of prayer and meditation, journaling and reading a morning devotional. (Getting right with God in the AM = MAJOR key.) And once I'm done with that? I turn up the tunes have a good ol' fashioned dance party. Of everything on this list, I would say this has been the most constant part of my routine for the last nine months. Not only does this quiet time give me a chance to center myself before stepping out into the world, but I'm able channel my energy positively and not let anyone or anything stop me from having a good day.
And that's all she wrote! What are some ways you practice productivity before bedtime? Send me a tweet and let me know!
P.S. - If you want learn more about the power of practice, join Nia Phillip of Creative Smart Girl and I for "The Practice Pop Up" on May 20th (Brooklyn, NY) and June 3rd (Washington, D.C.). Sign up for more information by clicking here. Hope to see you there!