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How To Fake It Until You Make It While Running On No Sleep

How To Fake It Until You Make It While Running On No Sleep

Sleep deprivation is all-too-common these days, whether because of a demanding job or a new member of the family who doesn’t keep the same schedule as you (or both). My daughter didn’t sleep through the night for two and a half years, so I learned a lot about how to get things done with little sleep. If you’re feeling overworked, tired and unhappy, some of these strategies should help you fake it until you make it to a place in which you’re getting more regular sleep.

Take Care Of Yourself

It can feel impossible to do the things you need to do to take care of yourself — like eating well, working out or even just getting down time — when you’re working constantly with little sleep, but it’s essential.

The more you can do to keep yourself healthy despite your crazy schedule the better off you’ll be. When you’re eating well you’re giving yourself the fuel you need to keep your brain and body functioning.

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Exercise, even if it’s just a brief walk outside or a plank or sit-up challenge, will give you a goal outside of work to reach for, not to mention the endorphin boost you get from moving your body.

Keeping up with your physical appearance is important, too. Any new mom will tell you a good hot shower can be sanity saving. It’s the same for people who are lacking sleep for other reasons.

Carve Out Time Just For You

It’s super important to have down time, no matter how small an amount. Taking a mental and a physical break from working and from the workplace is a key to happiness when you’re feeling a lot of stress from your job.

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It might not be possible to get away for a full day, but even if you could carve out half an hour or an hour when your work is done to spend time on a hobby you enjoy, read a book or just do nothing, that will give your brain time to re-energize and remind you of things that are important to you outside of work.

Get Perspective

It’s important to remember your current work situation is demanding and unpleasant but also temporary. Just like all kids eventually sleep through the night, no job can stay demanding forever.

Projects come to an end; busy season does not last all year. If you can fake it until you make it to the end of whatever is causing your overwork now, you’ll be so much more grateful for the time you have when it’s over.

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One strategy I like to use when I’m feeling overworked is to write out things I want to do when I have more time. It could be a trip with my family, a book I want to read or a project I want to finish. Thinking about those things and looking forward to the time when I’ll have time gives me an extra push of motivation when I feel like giving up.

Remember Why You’re Doing It

Finally, remember you chose to do this project or take this job for a reason. What’s the end goal? Whether it’s a raise, a promotion, the promise of more time off in the future or even the prestige that comes with having accomplished something major, remember why it is you’re making the sacrifices that you are.

Having a really demanding job, working all the time and not getting enough rest is really hard. Taking time to remember why you’re doing it and what’s in it for you is a great way to keep moving forward feeling sharp and productive even when all you want to do is take a nap.

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Featured photo credit: amirjina via photopin via flickr.com

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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