How to Thrive on a Crazy Schedule (and Still Get Some Sleep!)
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
Not all of us work the typical 9 to 5 hours of the corporate world. When schedules don’t fit into tidy little calendar boxes, it can take some serious creativity to make sure your life stays in order. For those of us clocking into a swing shift, burning the midnight oil, or working days that last 12-14 hours each, things can quickly become chaotic. And if you’re anything like the typical American adult, you’re becoming sleep-deprived by trying to squeeze everything into a day. That’s the bad news. Fortunately, there’s also some good news! There are tactics you can use to help manage your increasingly crazy schedule, while also making sure that you’re getting the sleep that you need to thrive at work and in life.
We’ve gathered up some tips to help keep your personal and professional schedules under control, so you can boost your energy and actually get things done, while also making sure that you’re staying healthy and sane. Bonus, right?
Somewhere along the line, most of us fell under the common misconception that if you want to get things done, you’re going to have to take part in some serious multitasking. The problem is that multitasking is a myth and it’s been proven that being able to focus on more than one duty at a time is physically impossible. What we’re actually doing is quickly switching between tasks. This rapid-fire switching of tasks is a necessary evil that can sometimes be quite helpful, such as when a police officer is directing multiple lanes of traffic safely around a roadblock. But it can be downright harmful for most of us during any given day. Think about how many times you’re distracted for a split second by an email coming in or your phone ringing. Those few seconds of distraction can cause a critical lack of focus. So, what can you do to know when and where you need to place your focus? Try practicing some guidelines for task-switching success.
Practice the 15-minute rule – Identify what needs to be done in the next 15 minutes and focus only on checking off those off your to-do list.
Try running tasks in the background – Schedule non-critical tasks to tackle while working on more important duties, such as composing emails while waiting in line at the dry cleaners.
Focus on your location – When you’re in one area working on a to-do, ask yourself what else can be done while you’re there, instead of running from room to room with no clearly identified agenda.
If you don’t work at a bank or in a large office building, you might not be able to benefit from a set schedule, but that doesn’t mean things have to dissolve into chaos! You can simply find your “schedule center” to help you get things done. Identifying the tasks that remain constant from week to week will help you to attain (and maintain) control over what you need to get accomplished. These tasks can be as simple as grocery shopping or making a healthy breakfast, or as complex as weekly status meetings or payroll processing. No matter what you need to get checked off of your to-do list, if you can pinpoint a consistency, you can schedule other tasks around them. This will help you to stay focused but fluid when it comes to tackling the surprise duties that most of us have thrown our way each and every week, helping you to remove some of the chaos in your life and providing the sense of stability we all crave.
Dealing with a crazy schedule isn’t just about getting things done. You also need to focus on keeping your energy levels up by eating right. But who has the time, right? Wrong! You can plan ahead for healthy meals that you and your family will love by making good use of easy slow cooker recipes to have dinner ready to go when you get home each night. You might also want to look into one of the healthy meal delivery services that are a simple and stress-free way to keep your family happy and healthy. All without adding more turmoil to your daily schedule. And you can get off to a good start, no matter how busy you might be, with a quick breakfast that’s full of protein, packing some healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day, and making sure to keep yourself hydrated with a refillable water bottle.
As counterintuitive as it might seem, in order for you to be as productive as possible, you also need to add some relaxation time to your schedule. You can’t function at your peak if you’re constantly taking on new tasks for everyone else and burning the candle at both ends, after all. Be sure to take regular breaks throughout the day and walk away from being busy, even if it’s just for a 5-minute breather. There are tons of great ways to relax and de-stress during your days, giving you the extra boost of energy that you need to thrive. And don’t be afraid of using the word “no” when you’re already booked solid. That word will help you to keep what’s really important at the front of your mind and avoid an out of control to-do list.
Relaxation isn’t the only way that you can stay on top of an exhaustingly chaotic schedule. You can also turn to the power nap as a secret weapon for ultimate productivity. Of course, you want to make sure to stay on track with the progress you’ve made thus far with managing your days successfully, so be sure to stick with these tips to napping mastery.
Timing is everything – While a nap can be refreshing, you don’t want to cause disturbances to your sleep cycle, so be sure your siestas are at least 4 hours before your regular bedtime.
Don’t overdo it – If you nap too long, you can end up feeling groggy, so be sure to stick to no more than 20 minutes when it comes to power napping for boosted alertness and energy levels.
Add a dash of caffeine – As crazy as it might sound, napping and caffeine makes for an amazing combination! Just be sure to have that cup of Joe about 20 minutes before settling in for a coffee nap for ultra-energizing results.
When your schedule is jam-packed, getting some rest can seem like a luxury that you can’t afford. But the truth is putting a great night of sleep at the top of your prioritized to-do list is one of the best things you can do to boost your productivity each day. There are some great sleep hacks out there for those of us with insane agendas, but we know you’re busy, so we’ve rounded up some of the top tips for getting some much-deserved rest and making the most of your shuteye time.
Sleep experts have found that the ideal bedroom temperature for getting to sleep and staying that way is somewhere between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If your room is over this temperature range, you’ll find it difficult to get the rest that you need, so be sure to set your thermostat accordingly, add a fan or two, or get rid of heavy bedding in favor of cooling cotton sheets.
While you want to keep yourself nice and cool when trying to fall asleep, there’s something naturally soothing about having a warm cup of tea before turning in for the night. Take the time to brew a cup and enjoy the toasty calming effects, but be sure that your bedtime brew is free from caffeine to avoid possible sleep disturbances.
Keeping your bedroom on the chilly side is a great first step to getting the restorative sleep that you need. Of course, you can also take things to the next level by creating the ultimate sleep haven in your bedroom. Try adding some soothing colors, removing noisy distractions, and setting the mood with soft lighting.
By now, we all know that the blue light that emanates from electronic devices can wreak havoc on our ability to sleep. If you want to get the highest quality of rest possible, your best bet is to take things old school at bedtime by banning your laptop and smartphone from the bedroom. Instead, try unwinding and getting ready for rest by reading a good book, doing some light yoga, or spending some time reflecting on your day by recording your thoughts with pen and paper.
Keeping a set sleep-wake schedule would be the best way to make sure that you’re getting the rest that you need. But life happens and it’s not always possible to hit the hay at the same time each night. Just make sure that you’re at least sticking to a relaxing and regular routine by following the same steps as you get ready to turn in, such as taking a warm bath, putting on comfy PJs, and brushing your teeth. This isn’t going to look the same for all of us, of course, but having a steady pre-bedtime schedule will lower your stress levels and help your body and mind recognize when it’s time to sleep.
Now that you’ve learned how to better manage your crazy schedule, you might also want to take a look at these posts for more tips on getting an awesome night’s rest. Productive Slumber: How to be Inspired While You Sleep 24 Gadgets to Help You Sleep Better and Wake Up Healthier How to Start Hacking Your Sleep and Master Your Energy Level