by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
I am a horrible sleeper, and I always have been. One of my earliest memories is of watching a backlit, analog clock for hours and hours waiting for the little hand to get to seven and the big hand to twelve (my parents didn’t want me running around the house before then). I must have been three.
One of the reasons I sleep poorly is that my mind is spinning with things that need to get done. I’m frequently so busy during the day that my brain doesn’t have time to process upcoming tasks until I’m finally lying down.
I’ve realized for a while that I sleep better if I review my calendar before going to bed (making sure that I won’t wake up in the middle of the night wondering if my dental appointment was for the morning or the next day). I also sleep better if I do a brain dump of upcoming tasks: everything from errands to housework to writing to promo. Then I organize those tasks into a to-do list (more on my to-do lists in this post).
What I especially like about Mel’s approach is that she has instituted a sort of ‘office hours’ setup at her house. She’s not always available nor always working on something. I’ve found that one of the troubles of being a working writer is that I might still be playing around with something at nine o’clock at night.
(You need) something to tell your brain that it’s time to rest now and that there’s no need to keep thinking about work. You’re on top of everything, even if things didn’t get done, they’re on the list. You’ve checked your calendar and you know what’s coming up next.
I like the thought of the last check of email, the last look at the calendar. I like feeling that I’m on top of everything and that I can pick up where I leave off the next day.
As an additional part of my shutdown routine, I shift anything that didn’t get finished that day to the next day’s to-do list. That way I make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Do you have a shutdown routine? How’s your sleeping? :)
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