One week a few months ago, back when the world was still functioning, I was just dragging. I couldn’t stop hitting snooze or yawning through meetings. I guzzled coffee, and when I got home, I collapsed. What was going on?
I decided to work backward to figure out why I was so tired all the time. Why did I hit snooze? Because I needed more sleep. Why did I need more sleep? Because I’d gone to bed late. Why had I gone to bed late?
Ding ding ding. That was the answer I needed.
I’d gone to bed late because of the million and one things I had to do the night before: get the kids’ school stuff ready for the morning. Make a to-do list for the next day. Take the dog out. Clean kitchen. Brush teeth, wash face, turn off screens, meditate.
The problem was, I wasn’t starting that whole mad rush until after 9pm - way too late.
So I made a list of all the things that need to happen before I can go to bed. Next to each one, I estimated how much time it would take - and I realized that I was being overly optimistic. (I like to pretend it takes 5 minutes to take Sadie outside, but in reality, it’s at least 15.) When I was honest with myself about each item, it was clear that I needed to start my nightly routine a full hour earlier.
That night, I did just that. At 8 o’clock, I began the process of what needed to happen. I got the kids ready, answered my last work email, and turned off the computer. I took Sadie outside, washed the dishes, and wiped down the counters. And then - voila - by 10, I was ready. I climbed into bed, and for the first time in a long time, I got a full night’s sleep.
That was before the whole world shut down. Now that we're in quarantine, I've still managed to get to bed too late – so I knew I had to recalibrate my routine. And I'll tell you, doing that has been crucial to staying sane and productive.
So that’s today’s activity - to calculate your nightly routine, so that you can get to bed when you want to. As a special gift, I'm including a FREE worksheet for you to download and print here. (Just right click on a PC or ctrl click on a mac to download!)
What must happen in order for you to go to bed?
List each action, even the small ones! Sometimes, it’s those things that seemingly take no time that really add up.
Next to each one, write down about how long it takes to do that action. Be honest!
What do you want to say “no” to in the evenings, and by what point? (Screen time, work emails, TV, etc.)
Based on this list, what time do you need to start getting ready for bed?
Be honest with yourself, and notice what comes up. Tonight, put your new routine into action.
Go out, sleep well, and shine.
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