With the end of Daylight Savings Time approaching, I conducted a survey of my Facebook Friends to ask what they plan to do with the extra hour. The majority of them answered: “Sleep!” So I either have a lot of boring friends (which I doubt!) or this is a prevailing trend in our society. In the business world, people are lauded for working long hours and multi-tasking. But does this mean they are accomplishing more? I’m not sure. I know from my own many years of experience (don’t ask!) that maintaining a balance has made me more effective. I used to check emails before I got out of bed and then continue checking and replying after I got home from work until bedtime. I took pride in this. Then a friend told me she didn’t check emails for 90 minutes after waking up. This sounded like Nirvana, so I tried it. I now eat my breakfast while reading a book with the dog sitting by my side. It’s peaceful. We take a walk and I still haven’t checked emails. I have a quiet morning. I can relax. I’m happy. When I get to work I check my emails. My new habits have made me a better, sharper thinker and a happy camper. I’m not drained. If there is an upsetting issue that needs to be dealt with, I’m not losing sleep because I read it before bed. Or stressing before I even get to work.
Of course, if you get to the office very early this strategy may not work for you. But try one that does. Perhaps a stroll at lunch time without your cell phone. I once went to Riverside Park with a friend and forgot to bring my phone. I was amazed how different I felt. I was not tempted to surreptitiously look at my email while we were chatting and looking at the river. I felt like one of those cows in the viral videos that show them jumping around after being let out of the barn after a long winter. Even little breaks from the grid can mean a lot.
It’s great to be a hard worker. But to be a really good worker, you need a balance. Good food, exercise, and most of all, a good night’s sleep. I just ordered the book by Ariana Huffington, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
“Sleep, she writes, is one of humanity's great unifiers, binding us to each other, to our ancestors, to our past, and to the future. Yet we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis of sleep deprivation, with devastating effects on our health, our happiness, our job performance, and our relationships. Only by renewing our relationship with sleep, she writes, can we take control of our lives, live more fully, and be more engaged with ourselves and with the world and more able to meet the inevitable challenges we all face.”
Someone once told me, “If you are doing too much, you are doing the job of another person.” Interesting. So If you plan to use that extra hour by sleeping, you may want to consider making a change by hiring an assistant. If you have a small business, it may seem like a big step, but the benefit of an assistant may result in the expansion of your business. Or, if you are running a family and a large home, hiring a personal assistant can make a big difference in the quality your life. (Women don’t have to do it all!) Or, if you have a humble life like mine, send out your laundry! Or spread out your chores so you’re not spending the entire weekend doing them. I try to do one thing a day so I can enjoy my weekend. So I can relax and get some all important sleep time!