May 17, 2012
There’s nothing more annoying than sleep-depriving thoughts about things you’ve been putting off during the day. Now imagine what happens when you’re building a business and you know that it’s all on you!
That’s right, brace for impact. You’re about to have a few sleepless nights….
I’ve had my share of sleepless “project nights,” and over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks that help me calm my conscience and clear my mind before a much-required shuteye.
1. Write down the next day’s to-do list. The first thing I learned to do during those side-to-side-turning nights is quite counterintuitive: get up. In other words, I needed to do something about why I was uneasy, and the best way to gather my thoughts was to create a list.
Your brain is not a storage room for information! (That’s not my thought – it’s taken from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. I highly recommend it.)
The brain is a powerful processing unit that will continue to try and solve random floating problems until you get them out of your head. Your conscience will remain restless as long as your brain uncovers loose ends. Taking a few minutes to jot down or review tomorrow’s to-do list gives your brain enough comfort to “know” that there is a game plan.
2. Set specific targets for your to-do’s. Sometimes you’re unclear about the task at hand, and the information remains “afloat” even after you’ve written it down. A good solution for this problem is to anchor information that is too general – “Ace that test” or “Get a huge bonus this month” – to a target in the form of a number – “Get at least a B+ on that test” or “Sell at least 10 items to get that bonus.”
When a general task is quantified, it’s easier for your brain to come up with a plan to reach the required target.
3. Set reminders for action. One of the main reasons we lay awake at night is because we are afraid something will slip through the cracks. We don’t want to drop any balls. If you get into the habit of setting reminders for action, then you’ll be that much closer to that perfect night of sleep. Be meticulous about reminders; do not trust your memory – that’s the trick. Most of us can remember 90% of the things we have to do, but the remaining 10% will keep us up 100% of the time. Plan for that 10% by always setting reminders.
4. The most important thing is to follow through! If you wrote your to-do list and set your reminders, then do everything you can to touch those tasks at least once on the following day. You don’t have to complete them if you can’t; just make sure you get the ball rolling and gain momentum.
If you ignore those tasks after putting them on the list, you’ll violate the trust you have in your system – a breach of contract that will cost you precious hours of zzz’s.
If you’re building the next big thing, then my advice is to start the revolution from your bed – get a good night’s sleep by preparing for the next day!
Guest author Haim Pekel is a marketer/entrepreneur with an ever-growing interest in productivity. Currently, he’s the Marketing Director of IQTELL.com, a productivity app that enables users to organize to-do lists in a workspace that helps them complete tasks and connects them to everything they do. Haim writes about startups, marketing, and productivity on Tech Cocktail and IQTELL’s blog. You can find him on IQTELL’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn an
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