When it comes to time management and productivity, sleep can be a tricky thing: Without enough of it, you can’t do your best work. And yet, one of the best time management tips you’ll find – and one I am quite fond of – is to get up a little bit earlier to exercise or work on your most important tasks.
Are these contradictory messages?
In one sense, they certainly are. You cannot get all of your sleep time and have your early-morning productivity, too. And so, managing your sleep is a bit of a balancing act. Still, there are a few things to remember when trying to decide when to get things done, and when to get a little bit of shuteye:
Prioritize your health. Doctors and experts will tell you that most of us are not getting as much sleep as we should. This isn’t always a time management problem as much as it is a problem prioritizing. If you have to cut down on your list of projects and obligations to stay healthy and alert, that is a trade worth making.
Sleep is about quality as much as quantity. Of course, lying in bed for twelve hours each night will not leave you refreshed if you are tossing and turning, and getting six solid hours of uninterrupted deep sleep can do wonders. Do not just focus on the amount of sleep you’re getting, but also the quality. If you feel like you are spending a lot of time in bed, but not waking up with energy, then you may need to change your caffeine intake, or possibly see a sleep specialist.
A good routine can help. Another great way to improve the quality of your sleep, and your health, is to have a regular routine that you follow. Going to bed at roughly the same time every night, and waking up around the same time each morning, regenerates your body a lot more than trying to sleep in “binges” will. Knowing that, try to concentrate on the sleep routine rather than attempting to “catch up” every weekend.
For more solutions to the dilemmas of sleep deprivation, read “Sleeping Your Way to Greater Productivity.”