Someone messaged me the other day on Facebook and asked me about sleep and productivity.
Here was the question:
“I try to get 7 hours but I always snooze and end up sleeping 8, and sometimes 9-10 just cause it’s hard for me to get out of bed. So basically I lose about 2 hours of sleep every day which really adds up.
S, my question to you is how do you/did you manage your sleep while you had a million things to do?”
I thought it was a great question so I figured I’d share my answer here.
The biggest “hack” I’d say I had was that I had a packed schedule.
So for example, I had meetings starting at 9 am every day (on purpose). My schedule was also rigorously outlined every day. There was no open space. I scheduled everything. All the typical things like work meetings, but also everything else: meditation, gym, soccer sleep, work tasks, and even “relax / off time”. There was 0 open white space on my calendar by design.
So that meant if I wanted to get to the gym, meditate, etc (whatever my other important things were), I had to wake up at 6 am per my schedule to get everything done.
And those things were very important to me, so I’d get out of bed for them.
If something isn’t important to you, you won’t do it.
It sounds obvious but it’s true, and probably the biggest difference I see between people who are very high achievers and others.
They are driven by something that pushes them to keep that routine.
Think about your end goal. Visualize it every day. You succeeding at it. Then think: what do I need to do to make this happen?
What would help me remove ANY doubt that I will get there?
It’s a psychological trick essentially.
For me, I never wanted to leave anything on the table or any possible doubt that I could have done more. And for me, part of that was waking up at 6 am. Every time I woke up at 6 am is was like I was one step closer to achieving a larger goal.
And then day after day, once you start doing it, it becomes a habit.
And sometimes when it would suck, I would think of others around me. What are they doing? I’m going to push more than them.
In NYC, it was super competitive. I’d think about that, and then push myself further. I loved waking up early, working on weekends, holidays, etc bc that meant (at least I told myself this) I was getting an edge on everyone else sleeping in or sitting around watching TV.
Now, there is a balance with this.
Too little sleep and you’re not effective at all.
Every person is a bit different from how many hours they need.
But for example, I know if I only got a few hours of sleep, I’d be operating at like 75%.
And those extra hours of sleep were extremely worth it, even if it meant 1 or 2 fewer hours awake.
It’s more about what you do when you’re awake than HOW many hours you’re awake.
If someone is awake for 18 hours but only 50% effective vs someone awake for 14 hours but 100% effective, who wins?
If you REALLY need 9 hours of sleep to be in your optimal state, that’s better than only sleeping 8 hours and operating at 75% for the whole day.
But if you really only need 8 hours, and you just can’t get out of bed, then everything I said at the start of this post applies.