For more and more of us, the reality that we’re not getting enough sleep doesn’t seem to be news. Ask any parent, blurry eyed from listening to a child cough their way through the night, or a travelling executive taking a cross country red eye flight to make a 9 AM meeting in New York. Our sleep crisis made headlines again this month when Huffington Post co-founder and Editor released her latest book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
“Solving our sleep crisis requires not just practical changes for how we approach our days and our nights but also rethinking our priorities and what we really value,” writes Adrianna Huffington.
Like other researchers on the subject, Huffington is making the point that lack of sleep has huge consequences – on our health, our performance, our relationships and our happiness.
Why a 21st century sleep crisis?
Technology is easy to blame—because we can stay connected 24/7, far too many do stay connected. Tablets and cell phones have been spotted everywhere including spa hot tubs, operating rooms (the patient not the doctor), funerals, bathrooms, even while giving birth. Blinking red lights, alerts, and flashing signals have become 21st century bedroom décor.
Equally at fault is our obsession with “being busy”. Movies, TV shows, even how we live our lives in front of our kids send the message that to be successful you have to burn the candle at both ends. Have you noticed people on medical and crime shows never seem to sit down and eat a proper meal let alone sleep?
Being over-stressed and too busy typically is how we respond to the seemingly innocent question: So, how are you?
Use your ‘second brain”
A Productivity Ninja equips themselves with strategies and tips to stand against the sleep deprivation crisis.
A “second brain” for instance; the ideal place to store information we don’t need right away but we don’t want to forget. Awake at 3 a.m. because you don’t want to forget something? Capture it in your “second brain” and go back to counting sheep. Daily action lists give us a break from having to think about absolutely everything, e.g. pay an invoice, send your mother a birthday card, wash the parakeet. Weekly “big picture lists” means we don’t lose sight of long-term goals, e.g. create a new sales presentation, plan our next blogs.
Work smarter, not harder
Traditional time management training was all about how much you could cram into one day. Productivity Ninja training helps us make better choices as to how we manage not only our time, but our attention and energy levels as well all of which lessens the stress that robs us of our sleep. A Ninja acknowledges that we’ll never get it all done, and that’s okay; the power is in knowing how and when to set priorities, balance what has to be done, what can be delegated, and what “nags” can be ignored.
A key strategy of the Ninja is superior management of email including ongoing “mastery” of Inbox Zero.
Harness mindfulness and Zen-like calm
Silence, space and rest—essential for your mental health and your productivity.
- Give yourself permission to switch off at nights, on weekends
- Practice meditation in way that works for you
- Listen to the silence at least once a day without interruptions
- Picture a good night’s sleep, imagine how great you’ll feel the next day, renewed body and mind, energy and attention levels..
Sounds so lovely, I think I’m drifting off as I write…..