My nemesis is getting enough sleep. To be clear, my nemesis is not sleep itself. Sleep and I have been in love since Day One. But often we are – ironically – ships in the night. My overly alert ship is rocking with creativity or busyness or simply wanting to do one more thing I really wanted to do that day before I go to sleep, like read. But then I feel the other ship of sleep coming near because I’m all happy and cozy in my bed, so why wouldn’t it seem as if I’m trying to sleep? I hear that ship gliding through the waters, I feel it, it even puts me in a slight trance for a bit, but I try to get it to hold on a sec. I just want to finish this chapter, finish this thought I’m writing or section I am writing or check one quick thing on that website I’ve been wanting to look at. Or maybe I started IMing with my friend in Australia who is wide awake if we’re both working on fan fiction together, a favorite distraction. Wait. Did I put those towels in the dryer? May as well put in a long-wash load while I’m down there. Darn it. Why does my daughter constantly leave dishes in her wake like Pigpen and his dust?
I’m usually yawning while I say all this to the sleepy ship that’s rocking gently next to my buoyant boat of activity. I’m doing math in my head while I look at my phone to see what time it is (or trying to avoid looking), but I press on and before I know it, the ship has sailed and I am awake again and a little too energetic. May as well get those dishes into the dishwasher and have that going while I sleep - eventually.
The thing is I know how good sleep is for me. I feel creative. I feel energetic. I solve problems. Even though I have never been, am not and don’t care to ever be a morning person, I know if I sleep, I can get going in the morning and get everyone else going too. If I’m sitting too long after that burst of morning energy, however, I feel the call of sleep again by about 10 a.m. when sane people should be taking a nap. What? That’s not sane to you? Then I question your sanity.
So what I’m saying is I understand the importance of sleep – so please don’t try to tell me about the importance of sleep. Boring lecture. Sorry. I just dozed off there. You can tell me about YOUR successes and failures with it though! Exciting real-world experience! I agree sleep is good for me. I don’t need my reading glasses as often when I get my rest. But I am an entrepreneur with a full-time job and two kids, one of whom has a hectic life of her own, but the other one is working and finding his place out there too. Oh and my husband works an opposite shift so factoring him into the equation ain't such a simple thing.
If I am working on a job, then I’m not working on my business, which means I feel the need to do that after I come up for air. I also have a daily to-do list of things I WANT to do for the non-business parts of my life and for the sake of the ever-elusive balance. It’s a list of gentle suggestions more than demanding to-dos, but they are on my mind every day and I do strive to get most of them done.
All of this means multiple things and people pulling on my time. But at the moment, I don’t care about that. I care about growing my service and helping more people because that is fun. I care about learning whatever it is I need to know to do that effectively. I care about giving great customer service to the clients I currently have, even the ones I am doing free work for, because that taps into my gift of helping. I care about sharing what I learn with others because no matter how many other people there are out there explaining things, no one does it quite like someone else. I may as well share my knowledge because I never know who it will resonate with.
Part of how I am sharing all this is through my marketing, which is top of my priority list this season. As I share what I know, I am including who I am and what I do as much as it makes sense to do so. I don’t have to say that nearly as much, for instance, in a couple of the groups I am in because they are like-minded and talking about what we do goes with the territory. I have been very focused on answering those two important questions – who are my customers and where are they? I am working on my marketing plan and polishing my services and getting help with both through my mastermind, books and courses. And that means sleep may be sacrificed. But no! Wait! That’s not what it means at all!
Recent events – a.k.a. bursts of creativity – have made me want to sleep more than ever! And then I was reading my marketing book, Get Clients Now! by C.J. Hayden, and as she discussed the elements of the marketing plan I am creating – appetizers, main course, desserts – she gave examples of each of those elements. Desserts are those things you can do to help your business overall, like organizing your office or taking some training courses or – wait for it – sleep! But she says to list just ONE dessert you want to include. Most of the things she listed as examples I’m already doing or I’m already aware that they really matter to me so I am striving to make room for them regularly or maybe it’s not something I want to do. But sleep? Yes. That is an ongoing struggle that will absolutely help me make strides in my business. OK, C.J. Hayden, you just joined the army of voices advocating for sleep, but I applaud your sneaky, creative, non-lecturing way of doing it. Brava.
So down on the list sleep went. And as I technically got in the bed on time last night – so I could finish something for a client before eleven, which turned into slightly after midnight – I thought to myself of how I wanted to get up at 5 a.m. so I could do morning stuff that I like to do and want to do. But then I thought I have to get this. I have to make sleep more important. I could easily just reset the alarm and get up right when I needed to get the first kid up. That killed the morning routine, of course, but if that routine matters to me (it does) then tonight I will try again to get to bed on time so I can get the sleep AND get the hour and a half I want in the morning before I have to get the first kid up. And I will keep trying, possibly doing some of my morning stuff throughout the day as I can instead, until I get it right because I’m greedy. I want the sleep AND I want the morning gameplan (I take a stand against the word “routine”).
Of course all of this would be a smidge easier – only a smidge, I know – if I were running my service full time. But that’s an issue for another blog post.