by Ruth Lincoln, Head Editor, INALJ DC
Sleep Better – Work Smarter
Does it ever feel your to-do list grows exponentially? Between work, school, volunteering, job hunting, professional development, families, and maybe a personal life, I know we all wish there were more hours in a day.
BuzzFeed explains it well as the #1 “Shocking and Unexpected Fact” you learn in your twenties: http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/shocking-and-unexpected-facts-you-learn-in-your-twenties?sub=2765753_2150844
During the past few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to sleep more during the workweek. At first this meant my evenings seemed “less productive”. But it was really a blessing in disguise. I’ve found that when I sleep more, I work smarter the next day. I’m more focused, patient, and I actually get MORE accomplished.
It’s not easy, and some nights get away from me. But know that every day helps. Here are a couple tips to get you started.
Use Your Smartphone (Yes, Really)
We all know smartphones, tablets, and laptops can keep us up way too late. But this app is an exception.
Sleep Cycle (Apple/iOS) or SleepBot (Android) lays under your pillow and tracks your sleep and analyzes your sleep patterns. Its built-in alarm wakes you up gently and softly (i.e. no more blaring fog horn). The app calibrates to your movements and produces a graph each morning displaying your sleep cycle. There are some nifty built-in statistical features that track your sleep time/quality on a given day of the week (I sleep the worst on Tuesdays for some reason). You can also capture notes if you drank coffee/tea or exercised that day.
The trick, however, is to set the alarm at bedtime and ignore your phone’s other features.
Go Analog/Limit Screen Time after work
If I had to guess, you’re reading this article on a screen and it’s not the first (or last) screen you’ll examine today. Many of our jobs as information professionals and job hunting itself requires ample screen time. While we can’t escape the requirements our positions dictate, we can control our screen time after work.
Recently, I’ve tried instituting a “no screen after dinner” rule. Instead of watching TV, working on my laptop, and/or fiddling on my phone, I reserve the 1-3 hours before bed for reading print, cleaning, or other technology-free chores. You know what? I sleep longer and more soundly that night.
I’m not perfect. Many days this doesn’t happen. But I know if I put in effort, I’ll work better and exhibit more patience and compassion.