Do you stay up later than you would like because you still have things that need to be done when bedtime rolls around?
This was a huge problem for me for a long LONG time.
I wanted to go to bed earlier, but I could never seem to get everything done that needed to be done in time to go to bed earlier.
I identified as a night owl.
I told myself I was more productive at night.
I felt I need to get XYZ done in that moment, because if I didn’t do it then, it wouldn’t get done.
I was convinced that getting it done right then would save me time the next day.
And I told myself I could function on less sleep.
So I would go about doing all the things, whatever they may be.
And then, without fail, I would almost always regret it on the back end.
Because I would work way longer than intended. (Just one more thing!!)
Or kids would be up more at night.
Or kids would wake up earlier than usual.
And then I would spend time the next day spinning in how tired I was and how I couldn’t function and how I needed more sleep…
Only to repeat the whole cycle again the next night.
Why did I do this to myself?!
It took me literally years to figure this out.
And here’s the one key thing that hung me up…
That is, believing that things had to be done by bedtime. Or that they had to be done at all.
You see, this is something that can very much feel like a fact to us.
But it’s NOT a fact!
It’s a thought. And thoughts are always optional.
We think things have to be done, but there is nothing that ever has to be done. Those thoughts are just chatter in our brains that we choose to believe.
Everything we do, we do from choice…even if it feels like we don’t have a choice.
Our minds are relentless in coming up with things that we “have” to do or that we “should” do.
Our job is to use our pre-frontal cortex to make deliberate decisions about what we will do…and then own that.
This includes going to bed at a particular time.
We choose a bedtime with our thoughts.
If getting more sleep is something that is a priority for us, then we can decide that indulging in anxiety over all the things on our list is not an option for us.
We can make our sleep the priority and let all the other things go.
The only time commitment to ourselves doesn’t work is when we choose not to keep it.
If you have chosen a bedtime that you are not following through on, I encourage you to be curious about that.
What is higher priority to you? Getting the sleep you want or staying up to get more things done?
Remember there is no right or wrong answer.
Consider: If it’s true that there is nothing that ever has to be done, would you choose to prioritize sleep?
What if prioritizing sleep actually helped you get the things you really care about done earlier in the day? Because you would know staying up late isn’t an option for you?
What if it wasn’t an option?!
I have found for myself that the only way I get to bed “on time” is by making sleep the priority. By being willing to let everything else go.
And, interestingly, when I draw that hard line for myself…
When I KNOW I won’t give myself more time at night to get something done…
When I KNOW sacrificing sleep is no longer an option for me…
I get the things I really want to get done completed earlier in the day, and I don’t save them until the end of the day any more.
With that, I’m also so much more productive today than I was a year ago when this was such a huge problem for me.
So fascinating, right?!
This just goes to show that staying up late didn’t actually make me more productive. I just thought it did. And because I thought it did, I continued to stay up late.
What if you are actually less productive when you don’t give your body the sleep it needs?
What if you would actually get more of your important tasks done if you prioritized your sleep time? If you knew you wouldn’t give yourself more time at night to get it done?
And, what if you getting the sleep you say you want every night is 100% within your control?
It is, my friends.
You just have to really decide THAT is in fact your priority. And know that if you are NOT going to bed when you say you want to…sleep is NOT currently your priority.
What do you want to prioritize?