When was the last time you felt really tired, but you desperately wanted to finish something before going to bed?
I won’t even go as far as to say something ‘had’ to be done before you slept; you simply wanted to finish it and get it out of the way before the day was out so you could start afresh on something new in the morning.
We give in to our tiredness way too often. I love my sleep, and I’ve written about sleep a number of times over the last three years, and though I don’t fully align myself with the “Only sleep when you’re tired” philosophy, I totally see the benefits of laying down to sleep once you start to feel your head lop to one side, narrowly avoiding a nearby wall or table.
With that said, I’m approaching this from a discipline standpoint. We have much more discipline than any of us could possibly imagine, but it needs to be built up for us to fully take advantage of it’s power.
If every time we start to waver while finishing something before bed we choose sleep, rather than ploughing on through, we miss an opportunity to build up our discipline.
If every time we make a promise to ourselves to finish writing, designing, or coding something before going to bed we go back on our promise at the last snoozy hurdle, we’re giving a big fuck you to our discipline.
The thing is, this really isn’t that hard to stick to (or rather, to build up the discipline to stick to) once we make a habit of noticing our tiredness, waking ourself up as best we can, and continuing on with our task at hand before allowing ourself to place our head on our pillow.
This quote by Josh Kaufman from The Personal MBA explains it well:
When you’re so tired that it feels like you’re about to kick the bucket any second, physiologically, you’re not even remotely close to actually dying.
A couple of weeks ago I was desperate to finish editing a post before bed, but I just couldn’t find the energy or focus to continue on with it. I could finish it in the morning before it went live, I kept telling myself; and I could have done, but I had told myself I would finish it before going to bed and that was exactly what I intended on doing.
I shook my head from side to side like a stunned Wile E. Coyote, opened my eyes as wide as I could, poured myself a glass of water, and got to work. I was still tired, but I continued on through until completion.
Afterwards, I patted myself on the back and straight into bed, happy to have chosen hard work and discipline over early-entry to my mattress and blanket party.
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