No snuggles, no warm body, no other possible bed-time activities, no…nothing. C’mon single friends (and ESPECIALLY single entrepreneurs) you know this drill. When there is no one to go to bed with, and you don’t have a J.O.B., so you don’t necessarily have to get up at a particular time, sometimes it’s hard to get ourselves to actually go to bed. Sure we’re tired, but with nothing urgent (or comforting) drawing our bodies to slip into our sheets, sometimes it seems easier to stay up too late…way too late. There are more emails to check, there are TV shows to watch, videos to edit, blogs to write, snacks to eat, glasses of wine to drink…and end-of-the-day solace to be enjoyed. You worked all day, went to the gym, made your sales calls, wrote your blog, ran your errands, and managed your company. Now it’s late, there’s no one around, and it’s almost like finding another day in your day. A time that’s just for you. It’s too late for the phone to ring, it’s far too late to make outgoing business calls, and you find yourself drawn to do just a few more things before bed. This could be emails, and work related “stuff”, this could be your TV, whatever it is, it’s keeping you up TOO LATE.
“Don’t lecture ME”, right?? You know that with a great night’s sleep you get up earlier, have the energy to get to the gym, and have more focused energy for your business and your life all day. And although you know this…the mere knowledge of this doesn’t always get you to bed at a decent hour. So what’s the solution?? In my experience it’s two-fold: a system, and some trickiness. Let’s talk about a system first, then we can get “tricky-with-it”.
Choose a time that you’d like to go to bed, if there are no “extenuating” circumstances. Obviously there will be times when a big project needs to be completed, or you’re out with friends, or you’re having an all night chat-a-thon with a new beau (or cute girl). I’m not talking about those nights. I’m talking about the other 90% of the time, when you’re at home, in your normal routine.
Choose a time when you close your computer/work for the day. This is most easily found by rewinding the clock from bed-time. Let’s say you’d like to go to bed by 12. Perhaps you’d like an hour or two of television/unwind time, which rewinds us to 10:30 PM, 30 minutes to have a snack and/or glass of wine (10:00) and 30 minutes to straighten up the house, or do miscellaneous tasks (9:30 PM). Great! Now, at 9:30 PM, shut down your computer, put away your work, and walk away from your desk. That’s it. You are DONE for the day with work, and all other even remotely work related activities. Now you get to enjoy your evening rituals.
Stick to your ritual. (For the most part) Do what you want to do, have your snack, drink your wine, watch that show on Hulu, meditate, do your sit-ups, load the dishwasher, set out your gym clothes…whatever. Do it, and fully enjoy it. Then with the clock strikes “bed-time”, we’re using 12 PM in our example. Get up and go to bed. Yes, I know, I hear you…stop your clamoring. “It’s not that easy,” you say. I know. You’re right. That’s where the trickiness comes into play. Read on…
I totally get that you can follow all your cute little rituals, and close your computer, and do your evening stuff, and look up at the clock at 11 or 12 (or whatever your bed-time is) and say…”but I still don’t really want to go to bed, I know I ‘should’ go to bed, but maybe one more show, one more Facebook post, one more whatever.” Because you still don’t have anything drawing you into your bed, other than your tiredness…but we’re entrepreneurs, we’re warriors, we can work through tired, it’s not all that big of a deal, right?? We can totally be 98% if we get at least 5 hours of sleep, right?!?
The “trick” is simple. Find one last enjoyable draw to get you into bed. My personal trick is a really amazing FICTION book. I’ve tried self-help books, business books, and the like, they don’t seem to work as well for me. When I’m in a really good habit and flow of going to bed on-time, sometimes I can use a good business or personal development book, but I the “trick” that really does it for me is a great work of fiction with characters I connect with. Then, when it’s bed time, I get to brush my teeth, wash my face, and find out what’s been going on with Harry Potter, Jemima James, Anna, Ruth, Elizabeth, Stanley, Ben, etc. So I lay in my luxurious bed, already proud of myself for getting to bed on-time, and I read for a bit. Within 30 minutes or so I’m ready to go to sleep.
It’s that easy.
So, for all the single men and women, or the coupled men and women, out there who are going to bed too late, and who are caught in an endless cycle of not enough sleep, try a system AND a trick. Let me know how it goes by commenting here on this blog. I can’t wait to hear all about it!!