23 July 2012
ambitious, productive, and nothing but sleepy
Something I've struggled with, over the last year especially, has been controlling all of the thoughts that start running through my mind the minute my head hits the pillow. It's like everything built up all day long and then the ideas and inspiration just come flooding in during those hours that I'm trying to catch a little sleep. Usually it's things about my to-do list for the next day, blog post ideas, DIY projects, and now lately it's been about moving and decorating our new house. It gets a little overwhelming. The hours that I'm trying to spending sleeping and resting for the next day end up being the hours that I filled with the most ambition and productivity for getting things done. Because of this madness, I came up with a few tactics for calming the storm (pun intended).
1. Get things done. I know that seems contradictory when the problem is wanting to do things at night when I'm falling asleep. However, getting all the dishes washed after dinner, doing some laundry, and checking other things off my to-do list that maybe don't require much thought actually get my productive juices flowing. This means that with those things out of the way, I can focus on working on the things that are actually on my mind when all else is done. This is a hard task for procrastinators, but I am one, so trust me when I say you can do it.
2. Unwind every day. I know it isn't practical to assume that there will never be a day that you get home late and need to go straight to bed, but on the days that you do have that time, use it to your advantage. I usually try to give myself an unwinding time before bed. This means reading blogs, browsing Pinterest, catching up on our favorite TV shows, just anything that clears my mind of all the "household chores" and "workday blues" so then I am able to feel less stressed, happier, and more creative.
3. Keep a notebook by the bed. I heard this tip about 100 times before I actually decided (or remembered) to try it. It worked like a charm. Sometimes I jot down to-do lists, sometimes ideas, sometimes just notes to myself about things to remember. Everything gets written down so I don't have to worry about forgetting it all night.
The reason I believe this process works for me is that doing all the household chores and things that need to be done get my productive juices (and even my endorphins!) flowing. Unwinding and allowing myself to have that time to do whatever I please puts me in a good mood and allows my mind to switch over to being creative (after working a job that is definitely not creative). So all my good ideas are flowing and everything is good, now I can use the time when I am most productive to my advantage. And I also get more sleep, which is never a bad thing.