One of the main reasons I was having problems to find time to sleep was the fact I wanted to do way too many things at the same time. It is so difficult to bite off more than one can chew!
I have discovered the pomodoro technique a few weeks ago, and I have been using it. It is a funny and easy way to do focus on the things you really want to do, instead of letting your mind jumping from one task to another, losing a lot of time in the middle (for example checking useless information).
This technique is basically about dividing (or grouping) the tasks in chunks of 25 minutes, which is called a pomodoro. A pomodoro is indivisible, it cannot be stopped once it has started. If you finish your task earlier, then you just use the extra time to improve what you have done. But you are not allowed to do anything else within those 25 minutes. And, actually, anyone is able to really focus on one task for just 25 minutes, isn’t it right?
Then, I make my list of things I want to do before early in the day, and check it again some hours before going to sleep. Often it happens that I would need hours and hours, but I just have two or three left. So I have to choose. Then, I decide what is most important, leaving the other things for another day. At that point, I program the last pomodoros, and when I finish, I just go to sleep. This way, I do not use up all my time from one thing to another until 3:00 am.
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I recognise I have not been doing well about this goal. I have been sleeping even about four hours a night for weeks. I should consider more seriously going to bed earlier. Having less time for other things to do seems to be in conflict to fulfilling some goals.
However, it is actually closely related to achieving many goals, such as getting a PhD (good sleepers are smarter), reaching my ideal weight (sleeping increases leptin in the body, which produces more satiety and less cravings), or running faster (sleeping well improves your athletic skills by 9%).
Completing this goal was one of the greatest events of my life. However, now sleeping well and enough has become something other people use to do. I really hope to start improving this!
I have been changing my habits in order to go to bed at a reasonable time. As I have been going to bed very late for years, changing my habits is like changing the direction of a very heavy and fast car.
I have accumulated failure after failure between 18th January and 6th March (I keep a record of all the reasons why I go, or do not go to bed before midnight). Then, something changed, and things that apparently could not wait, suddenly could wait until the next morning. Then I started to find possible getting up earlier to finish things (instead of going to be later).
For the moment I have got 19 days of good sleep in a row, and I am really happy. I will consider this goal as done after achieving the seventh level of my level plan (that is, 64 nights of good sleep).
I am finding really quite difficult going to bed before midnight. I can do it one or two days, but it has been a long time since I am able to do this for at least four days in a row. For some reason, I find my mind and my body are much more active during the last hours of the day.
I am trying to change this. One reason I like nights is because at night things are nice and quiet. So I am trying to do interesting things when I get up, not just having breakfast and rush to work. This way I feel more motivated, because I am getting up for reading a book, for example, not just to rush. But it is tough anyway! (at least for me).
Since I moved to Spain I am finding particularly difficult being in bed by 22:30. Everything here is made in such a way that no one seems to be sleeping before midnight.
Nothing wrong about that, but I still want to go to bed early and wake up early. Provisionally I will try to make this goal easier by setting my bedtime at 23:30. After achieving this, I will go back to my original goal, which is being in bed by 22:30.
Last night was the fourth night in a row I was in bed by 22:30, which means I got to level 1, according to my level plan. Sleeping well is so good!
After I moved to Madrid last month, I messed up each and every one of my good habits, mainly this one. But getting more sleep is a fundamental goal to reach my other goals: I need to get more sleep to be more efficient at work, to be less tired to run, etc.
The good news is that now I have more or less settled down, and things are now easier to start creating again those habits.
I am at level 4, but it’s getting complicated. Last night I had to use my last exception available to see a friend, so the situation is a bit tight at the moment: 29 nights in a row. I should reach the 5th level on Friday, 28th November… But on 26th November I’m moving to Madrid! Hm…
If everything is OK, I should reach level 3 (14 nights) by Thursday!