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Power Napping: How To Fall Asleep Anywhere

Power Napping: How To Fall Asleep Anywhere

This is part 2 of my post from last week on how to design the perfect nap.

Today, I’d like to continue by talking about how you can fall asleep no matter where you are. This is useful for napping in airports, couches, or at your desk if need be.

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The trick is to use sleep MP3s. They are essentially MP3s that play white noise for the duration of the nap, and then slowly wake you up by playing a variety of sounds. Whats great is that you can play them on your computer speakers, or make them portable by putting them on your iPod or cell phone.


They are so helpful (and far superior to a traditional alarm clock) for a few reasons.

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  • It’s too easy to make mistakes when setting an alarm for a nap. Alarm clocks are designed to be changed rarely, and used over and over at the same time each day. The math that is required to count x minutes ahead and get all the buttons right, while being sleep deprived, is just asking for errors.
  • Napping is not dependent on the time of day, it’s dependent on the length. The length of the mp3 never changes, so it is as simple as pressing play to get it right.
  • These mp3’s use white noise to block out other sounds and and soothe you to sleep. When I first heard it, I found it a little bit annoying, but I quickly grew to enjoy the sound, and it works better than earplugs to block out unwanted noises.
  • They wake you up gradually. Some start with relaxing clucking of chickens or a rooster, then play some music, and end with loud explosions and a human voice letting you know it’s time to get up if you still haven’t gotten up. This is much more effective (and pleasant) than a single tone that you will angrily turn off.
  • They are portable. I have one of these MP3’s on my blackberry so if I need to fall asleep, I just put in my standard headphones and I’m out. You can also carry them on your iPod.

Some finals tips for the perfect nap:

If you are sensitive to light, you may want to combine this with a sleep mask which will block out the light.

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Make sure you are as warm as possible, since just having cold feet or hands can be enough to prevent sleep.

Finally, if you normally like to sleep on your side, and you don’t have a pillow handy, you may have to try sleeping on your back. This will allow your head to be in a natural position without a pillow. Even though I never sleep on my back in bed, I’m able to nap in this position, so give it a try.

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Using these simple techniques, you will likely be able to fall asleep in most environments, and wake up ready to take on the day!

Brian Armstrong is an entrepreneur who achieved financial freedom working for himself by age 23. You can learn how to quit your 9-to-5 job, start your own business, and begin building wealth at his website: StartBreakingFree.com

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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