(last updated on September 20, 2014)
A short blog post to myself, as I prepare to sleep, describing how I’m bypassing my desire to stay up late.
I decided this month that I really want to have a more regular schedule, which for me means going to sleep at the same time every night. As a freelancer, it’s possible to work until I drop, then sleep until I wake, it’s made it difficult to schedule meeting times. Usually I can do the equivalent of a U-turn in the middle of my sleeping pattern and make a meeting, but occasionally my alarm system fails and I miss a meeting by a big margin. This happened a few Thursdays ago, and it was the last straw. I’d experienced the joys of early waking some years back, but it’s not those pleasures that I’m seeking. This time, I just want my periods of wakefulness to be predictable. It’s one less thing to worry about as I labor to build my own personal empire.
The trick to waking up early is going to sleep early, and that’s really where my challenge lies. The reason I stay up late is for one of two reasons:
- My mind is racing, and it doesn’t want to turn off. It craves more input.
- I haven’t accomplished anything that feels “meaty”, and I don’t like ending a day on that note.
Dealing with the first challenge was easier than i thought: I just did what my parents did to me when I was a little kid and put myself in bed. Although the first weeks were tough, the pattern is slowly starting to settle in and I’m naturally thinking about sleeping around 10PM.
The second challenge, though, is harder to deal with. Which is why I’m writing this blog post at 11:45PM; I’ve been wanting to write a post for some time, but have not been sure what to write about first. There’s a lot on my mind at the moment.
But I digress. The way to deal with the second challenge, I’ve found, is to accept that some days aren’t going to be as productive as others. And that right now, establishing the sleep pattern is the most important behavior change I want to make. So…I’m going to suck it up, get into bed, and close my eyes. I’m going to be thankful for what the day has brought me, and then I’m going to empty my mind of thoughts. This emptying of the mind is becoming quite the handy trick, incidentally, when I’m finding that I’m stuck. It’s sort of like a concentrated form of procrastination, when the mind is so overwhelmed by the number of possibilities that it can’t choose what to do. Instead of doing that, I tell each thought NO before it forms, actively refusing to engage it. Willful blankness of mind, devoid of intent or reflection, just existing in the present until sleep comes.