I’ve been listening to Better Than Before this week during my commute and boy is it filled with some great advice. Gretchen Rubin, at one point, talks about each of us either being a Lark (a morning person) or an Owl (a night person). This concept isn’t new to me, but what really hit me was her sister’s fear that she was losing the good part of the day by going to bed early. That’s exactly how I feel.
I get up at 4AM most days to workout and have to be out of the door by 7AM in order to be at work by 8:30AM. As much as I’d love to wake up early, enjoy a hot cup of tea in my sun room, watch the Today Show, and spend some time writing, I use the early morning hours to workout and to get ready for the work day. The early morning hours are frantic at times and although I love, love, love my early morning workouts, the mornings are about getting things done.
Now I absolutely treasure my evenings. I love picking my daughter up from daycare, driving home together, making her dinner, and getting her ready for bed. Those 2 hours are the sweetest hours of my day.
It isn’t until 8PM that I’m finally able to relax. Can any of y’all relate? It’s the first time I’m able to sit down and recharge. Whether I make a special dinner for Neal, catch up on my favorite TV shows, read a few pages of my current book, work on a blog post, or fall asleep on the couch, it’s the only time of the day that is mine.
I love the time between Magnolia’s and my bedtime, but the later my bedtime is the harder my 4AM wake up is… and my entire day for that matter. As much as I’d love to stay up until 10PM, 11PM, or even midnight, because let’s be honest, I’m a night owl, to get things done or just to relax, it makes the other 16 hours I’m awake so much harder.
I share this with my students every single day, but we all have the same amount of hours in a day. We have 24 hours. 168 hours each week. It’s not about needing more time, it’s about using our time wisely. Some nights I use my downtime to do more work. I answer e-mails, blog far too late, and attempt to knock a gazillions things off my to do list (laundry, dishes, phone calls, you name it). It’s nights like that when I wake up feeling drained. Although the time was my own, I didn’t allow myself any time to truly relax. I was go, go, go. Each minute I’m awake is a minute less I’m able to sleep, because no matter what, that alarm is going off at 4AM.
As much as I’m fearful of losing the good part of the day, I know I need to go to bed earlier and to use my hours before bed to relax. I need to eat dinner earlier, turn off my computer, put down my phone, and just relax. Whether I’m watching TV, talking to Neal, or reading a book, I need to make sure I’m using the time to recharge. The only way I’ll be able to do this is if I use my weekends and my lunch breaks to accomplish things on my to do list. Whether it’s chores, errands, phone calls, you name it, I need to be better about getting those things done on weekends.
Circling back, I am fearful of losing the good part of the day, but I’ve just got to get enough sleep each night in order to be energized enough to be successful during the day ahead. I need to make the most of my weekends and to be ok with going to bed instead of staying up in order to get more things done. I can still enjoy a few hours of quiet time and still get enough sleep by going to bed by 10PM. I just have to get into the habit of accomplishing tasks over the weekend, which is what Better Than Before is all about… forming habits.