Why do you think the topic of sleep is so popular nowadays? There are books and researches, articles and blog posts, infographics and videos on this topic. Everybody is ready to offer an opinion. Everyone seems to know so much about it.
I’ve been experimenting with my sleep for several years now. About two years ago it became particularly crucial for me to have more hours in a day. I’m a full-time missionary who is also teaching English on the side and owns her own business. Three full-time jobs demand a lot of time, that’s why training my body to sleep less became a new challenge.
What To Remember
If you think you can just decide to sleep less and start your new life easily, you’re in for a big surprise. Unless you’re one of very few people with gene called hDEC2, it will be pretty hard to retrain your body. You may function pretty normally one or two days, but soon sleep deprivation will kick in.
Also, there’s one very important fact to remember – we all need at least 7 hours of sleep. Every source I’ve read shouts loud and clear that 6 hours of sleep or less is not enough for our body to function normally during the day. Therefore, if you normally sleep more than 8 hours, it’s probably a good idea to train your body to sleep less. Otherwise, learn how to be more efficient during the day, and make sure you get your 7 magical hours.
Sacrificing your sleep won’t help you to be more productive. Your brain won’t generate creative ideas or solve intellectual problems on the level you want it to. Your body will lose its strength, so you won’t perform serious physical tasks as well as before.
What To Do
Here’re a few tips I can give you based on my own experience:
- When reading various books and articles, listening to other people’s advise, always keep in mind that we’re all different. If something worked for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
- Increase self-awareness by understanding your personal sleep-cycles, best night and morning routines and the amount of sleep you need.
- Experiment with the number of hours you need to feel rested. Allow yourself to wake up without an alarm clock a few nights in a row. Keep record of the time you went to bed and woke up to learn how many hours of sleep are ideal for you.
- Don’t stay in bed after you wake up. Majority of people are lazy by nature, that’s why we may allow ourselves to keep sleeping when our body doesn’t need it anymore.
- Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It’s more natural for our bodies to prepare for the night after it’s getting dark outside. On the other hand, the sunlight helps us wake up naturally. A lot of processes in our body are connected with the amount of sunlight we receive during the day.
So, the answer to our big question ‘Should you train your body to need less sleep?’ would depend on the amount of hours you sleep now. If it’s more than 7-8 hours, definitely try to retrain your body. Too much sleep can be as dangerous as too little of it. There’re only 20% of people who need more than 8 hours of sleep according to BBC.
At the same time, if you sleep 7-8 hours every night, enjoy it and learn how to use the rest of the day more efficiently.
Do you remember your most productive day? What helped you stay focused and achieve your goals? I am sure you have several amazing tricks of your own. However, let me share with you my struggles and ideas first.
10 days ago I declared my personal war with procrastination and self-indulgence. There are only 24 hours in a day. Each minute is a gift, each second is precious. How dare we waste the moments of our life that we’ll never get back? Each moment is lived only once. I will never be 39 years 4 months 22 days old again. Ever!
My last several months have been a brutal struggle with procrastination. One day is amazingly productive, yet another one is a complete disaster. It exhausted me, annoyed me and ignited a burning desire to conquer this beast. That’s why my natural feistiness inspired me to start this personal war and invite others to keep me accountable.
So, here are a few things that usually help me stay productive throughout the day. These are not new ideas, although I need to remind myself of their importance regularly.
I am sure you’ve heard this physics term used in the area of business, achieving goals and success. When you start working on a task and suddenly find yourself engrossed in it, forgetting about time, that’s your momentum. You should catch it like a wave and ride it as far as possible.
Sometimes I would start writing a blog, preparing a lesson, working on a course, and the world around me ceases to exist. The work flows easily and without distractions, ideas come fast, and the process is enjoyable. This is momentum. I always have to remind myself to take the most of it and not waste this precious moment of inspiration.
My biggest challenge and most important goal these days is focus. Momentum definitely helps to stay focused, but it doesn’t come first, it’s the result of a focused mind. Eliminate distractions, stay on a task without switching to another one, let the ideas flow and let the momentum kick in.
However, in my life focus is more than just working without interruptions. There are so many passions I want to pursue, so many causes my heart aches for! At the same time, my business, work and ministry throw numerous responsibilities at me. As a result, it’s getting harder, but also more crucial to stay focused.
All people are different. Perhaps, for somebody the pressure of a deadline is stressful and overwhelming. For me, a chronicle procrastinator, it’s a safe boat. I set deadlines for myself if nobody does it for me, and then, it’s up to pressure to play the role of a motivator.
In conclusion, let’s look at all three points. What’s your favorite? Mine is number one – momentum. It’s the most enjoyable one!
What are your techniques and methods to stay productive? Please share in the comments and help me in my war with procrastination. You can keep me accountable following my Instagram account – natasha_baz.
Have I already told you about the “Miracle Morning’ book by Hal Elrod? It will be surprising if I haven’t. Last summer I stumbled upon this book in one of the articles on the Internet. It was recommended for those who want to become more disciplined, take hold of their life and improve productivity. I had recently started my business and it was just what I needed.
As it turns out, the inspiration that we get from reading self-help literature usually doesn’t last long. It’s crucial to keep reminding ourselves of our vision, mission and goals in life. Only constant focus on my main purpose helps me beat the desire to sleep in the morning. Sometimes the battle is agonizing. Sometimes the bed is too luring for me, and it wins the battle. However, when I remember what drives me in this life, why I was created in the first place, it’s easier to fight and win.
As soon as the battle is over and the morning begins, everything is easy. Hal Elrod gives several very important tips on how to start our day right. Some of these tips include drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, forget about the snooze button, create our personal morning routine, etc. These are not new ideas or techniques, but he explains everything in a very motivational way.
If you haven’t read this book and would really love to change your life, become more productive, successful and just plain happier – read it by all means!!! And what’s more important, start implementing it right away. You will see changes in your life, I have no doubt in that!
If you’re an achiever like me, you will understand this obsessive need to always stay productive. We all know that relaxation and distraction are important for our brain. Although, a lot of us keep feeling guilty when we’re not doing something related to work or personal development.
So, there are solutions for people like us. We can combine rest and work. You might tell me it doesn’t work because we should completely focus whether on one thing or on another for them to be effective. And I will disagree. It’s pretty easy to do both things if your work doesn’t require a lot of thinking and your entertainment is not too distracting.
Here are a few ideas:
1. You are watching a movie with your friends, family or by yourself. You have seen this movie before or it’s so light that it doesn’t require a lot of attention to keep track. So, you find some work to do that also doesn’t require too much thought. It could be typing in some information, ironing, folding, cleaning your inbox, reorganizing your desktop or folders in your computer, editing pictures, etc.
2. You’re out with friends or family and have to wait for someone in the car or at the lobby – get a piece of paper and a pen or open your smartphone. But don’t go to Facebook or Instagram. This is the time for brainstorming ideas, writing to-do lists or making preliminary plans. You will have to review everything you’ve written later, but this will be a great start.
3. Are you flying internationally or waiting at the airport for your next flight? Reading is a great and a very productive way of spending this precious time. You can also write blogs or make notes for future projects if you’ve got a few hours of uninterrupted time. I am actually writing this on the plane from Minneapolis to Amsterdam.
4. There are a few applications for smartphones that I consider very useful. They can be entertaining as well as very helpful for our personal growth and development. My favorite ones are Lumosity and Elevate. You can use any game that helps learn a language or develop some skill. It’s fun and productive!
5. And the last one is really important because it requires a change of our mindset. When you’re watching a movie, traveling to another country, resting on a beach, eating at a restaurant, be always on the watch for ideas. They are all around you, you just need to open your eyes and be ready to see them. Keep record of all ideas that come to your mind even if they seem crazy or mundane. One day you might get back to them and find a genius one that you discarded before.
See? Our vacation time can be very productive and effective. Don’t waste your time in life, we haven’t got that much of it. Having said that I’ll add that it’s absolutely crucial to find some time for relaxation, distraction and unwinding. Our brain needs that to be able to function normally and generate ideas.
Enjoy all your weekends and vacation time, and learn how to put off work and just rest sometimes.
Are you a dreamer or a doer?
There are so many incredible ideas in the world waiting to be implemented. There are so many talented creative people dreaming big, but failing to take action. So, their dreams remain only dreams; their ideas are not shared with the rest of the world. People continue depriving humanity of possible unique inventions, pieces of art, interesting solutions to the problems.
- They don’t believe in themselves.
- They are afraid to lose face in case of a failure.
- They are lazy and passive.
- They don’t think it’s a unique idea and think someone else must have had it.
- They had tried before and it didn’t work.
- They have no time for this now.
There are so many reasons, and all of them are just excuses. Do you know the remedy for that? TAKE ACTION! Whatever it takes! Failed? Try again. Fell? Get up and start over! Move, act, try and you will achieve!
Have you ever started something really great and exciting only to give it up a few weeks later? That’s what happens to me pretty often and it happened to my miracle mornings. I read the book by Hal Elrod in spring and was fascinated by the idea to wake up very early to have extra time. I wanted to be able to accomplish more, to pray and meditate, to exercise. And it worked! I loved it! Although, as soon as I had to go on a business trip and my routine broke, I stopped doing my miracle mornings too.
I tried to get back to this habit several times but it worked only for a few days.
You guys will be my accountability partners. I am starting Miracle Mornings again tomorrow! You’re welcome to confront me about it any time. I will try to keep everybody updated, and maybe it will inspire somebody else to create their own morning routine to start building a road to success!
If you’re interested in the book, here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Morning-Not-So-Obvious-Guaranteed-Transform/dp/0979019710