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When is your bedtime?

I was speaking with a young woman last week about her finances and our conversation quickly shifted to time management.  Ah, time management.

Can’t we just keep talking about money? I thought.  (Confession time: I go through ebbs and flows as a “time steward” regularly – so much so that I feel quite hypocritical doling out advice on the subject.)

This young woman, who happens to be working multiple jobs and running her own business, was feeling tired.  Her to-do list seemed to only grow longer, everything on it begging to be the highest of priorities.  In the midst of working 12-hour days, she had bills to pay, laundry to do, groceries to buy, that new expense tracking spreadsheet to build for her business, Facebook to check (actually, she just decided to take a break from it), and so on and so forth and you know all about this because it probably looks a little like you’re life, too.

I was beginning to feel tired for her.  And then my own to-do list came to mind, along with at least one neglected item (read: pile of unfolded laundry on the guest room bed for the last week and a half).

But instead of getting into a bunch of systems, tools, and tricks for outsmarting our poor time management habits, we started talking through the root cause of her fatigue.  I asked her how much sleep she was getting each night.  Her answer? Not enough.

Of course not!  Don’t you know how much you can accomplish late at night?  So what if the research says the typical adult has a baseline sleep need of 7-8 hours a night, I’ve got belated birthday cards to write!

Since she lived and died by her Google calendar, I suggested she take an unprecedented, incredibly logical step: schedule sleep.  Every night, make an appointment with La La Land.

If you’re like me, your first thought is, “Yes, of course!”  You’re second thought is, “Now nothing will get done… No thanks, I’m not interested.”  I hope you have the third thought: “…but what if?”

In reality, most of us sacrifice sleep time to get things done because we wasted time earlier in the day.  This young woman realized that surfing her favorite social media sites was a huge time drain, and so she stopped doing it.  The challenge then becomes following through with making that new-found time productive.

If I hold fast to my bedtime, I’ll start the next day refreshed, ready, and clear-headed.  If I’m ready and clear-headed, I’ll probably get more done and need less time to do it, which sets me up to hit my bedtime the next night.

Give it a whirl: put your sleep appointment on your calendar.  If you have to delay getting something done tonight in order to make it happen, so be it.  How much more value will you find in being well-rested?

*Photo: Upright Sleeper, craziestgadgets.com

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