Saturday, May 28, 2011

When I Sleep

I've been a little hesitant to write this blog post (for a variety of reasons), but so many people have been asking me where I find time to work on The Power of Moms while I'm taking care of my family and trying to get in 8 hours of sleep, so I thought I could share some strategies that work for me.  (Please add your thoughts in the comments section!  I would love to read them.)

I have about 10 minutes before my children will need me downstairs, so I'll make this quick:

My goal is to be present and happy with my family members, get 8 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period, and work efficiently and effectively on meaningful projects when I can. 

(1) I don't watch TV (except for an occasional show on Netflix once or twice a week).  The average American watches more than 30 hours of TV each week, so if you cut it out, you can get a lot more done (and a lot more sleep).

(2) My bedtimes vary, but here are a few scenarios to get in my eight hours of sleep:
  • Some nights I go to bed around 10 pm and get up at 4:30 am, then I take an hour and a half nap during the day.
  • When I have a huge, pressing project, I go to bed at 7:30, get up at 11:30, work until 3:30, go back to bed until 6:30, and then take a one-hour nap that day. I like having four uninterrupted hours to work.
  • I try not to stay up too late, but maybe once a week, I'll work from 8 pm until midnight, then get up at 6 am, and take a two-hour nap that day.
(3) All my housework is done with my family.  I don't cook, clean, do laundry, fold laundry, organize, etc. when my children are sleeping.  When they get tucked into bed, I'm either spending time with my husband, sleeping, reading/relaxing, or working.

(4) I do the Mind Organization for Moms program every single day.  That way, when 15 minutes pop up, I'm able to focus on the most essential tasks (or forget the tasks for awhile and spend time with my kiddos).

(5) M.O.M. has also helped me fall asleep quickly.  When I get into bed, I am asleep within about five minutes.

(6) My situation is a little unique because my husband is actually busier than I am, so his momentum keeps me going.  I know that not everyone has a spouse who shares their same drive, so you have to make your schedule work with your spouse's needs.  If my husband wants "down time" together, then I take that opportunity.  Nothing that happens in my office is more important than him or my children.

(7) I'm excited about what I do (I honestly feel like being a mom and working with Saren and our board on The Power of Moms is the dreamiest of all jobs in the whole entire world).  That gets me up in the morning/middle of the night.  My work is not something I dread.  It's my playtime.

(8) If I'm having a tough week (hormone-wise or stress-wise), then I make early bedtimes a higher priority.  This week, I was "recovering" from the Retreat and prepping for some pretty big projects, so I felt more tired than usual.  For the past three nights, I've gone to bed at 9:30, gotten up at 5:30, and then taken a 90-minute nap each day. 

(9) Whenever I feel grumpy, I simplify my day and get to sleep ASAP.

(10) I probably need to say that my children typically sleep from about 8 pm until 5:45 am.  We start the bedtime routine around 6:30 so it's totally quiet by 8.  My three "older" children are a huge help with Spencer, so if I'm needing more rest, they're more than happy to get him breakfast, turn on a little cartoon for him, and help keep him quiet for me.  My children also do all their own lunch-packing, school prep, etc.  I just help brush their hair, have family scripture study with them, and then take them to school.  My husband helps out in the mornings a lot, too.  We consider ourselves to be on the same team, so we do what we can to make life easier for each other.  (This is something I never take for granted because I know it's not the norm.)

Okay, maybe that was more than you wanted to know?  Or maybe I didn't answer your most pressing questions?  Please let me know what ideas you have or what I left out.

Sleep is a beautiful thing.  But so is family.  And so is working on exciting projects.  My goal is to have the best of all three.

11 comments:

  1. I agree that the most important thing is that you need to be on the same team as your husband. I had 4 little children in 6 1/2 years and never had a problem with 8 hours of sleep..it is what I needed.. as I had a home based business and the house to take care of as well..we did chores together and spent my free time playing with my kids..as that is what my mother in law said she missed out on.. now my kids are all grown, and I'm really glad I managed my time wisely. Wish I could do it all over again,, I love being a mother!!

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this April! This is very helpful! I too love having a big chunk of time to work on projects uninterrupted and I like the solutions that you have come up with. What I have been doing is staying up way too late and I think your second solution under number 2 is something that would really work for me when I need a chunk of time. Thank you so much for sharing this...I really appreciate it. Your article about bonding while cleaning has really really changed things around my house. Just that little shift in thinking, that cleaning is a time for bonding and is not supposed to be drudgery, has just been the best thing. Thank you!

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  3. This is such good advice. When I saw your title though, I was tempted to answer NEVER! You really do amaze me with how much you get done, and how well you do it. I could adopt a few of your techinques like not doing housework after bedtime. But geesh! It's tough! Love you april!

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  4. I, too, prioritize myself a nap almost every day. There is no way I can get up at 5 or 6 and keep on going like the Energizer bunny till 11 pm at night. I have got to be a NICE mom all day, not just til about 4 pm. Who can afford the grumpies to hit at 4 pm? Not me! Even tho I am not always TIRED at noon or 1, I lay down with my 2 year old for 30-45 min (sometimes longer) and make what I consider to be an investment in my happy family by sleeping at that time. I cannot lay down at 4 when the grumpies hit, so I do it when I can (Covey's "important but not urgent" principle). Then when I get everything done and the house and kids put to bed, I am not dragging thru each last step. I might have a little energy left to read for awhile or enjoy spending time with my hubby, or be there for a teen who decides that 11 is a great time to open up to mom. It works for me. Thanks for sharing your ideas April!

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  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'm in the middle of my "nighttime work session," and though I'm going to head to bed shortly, it just works for me to be up at this time occasionally. Good luck!

    And Catherine, you have so many sweet little ones right now. I've only recently started taking on more projects like this, now that my children consistently sleep through the night. I felt so exhausted for years. You are an incredible lady.

    Ingrid, I love how you take a nap even when you're not always tired. I'm with you!

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  6. April, thank you for writing this! I've recently made the decision to wake at 4am to work on my writing projects, but I struggle with fatigue. I appreciate how you make 8 hours of sleep and time with your family a priority. And doing chores when the kids are awake... not during quiet times when you can be working or spending time with your hubby. Also, I like that you incorporate naps to get your 8 hours.

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  7. Angie, you are a powerhouse. Good luck with your writing! (And with your sleeping.)

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  8. I, too, prioritize myself a nap almost every day. There is no way I can get up at 5 or 6 and keep on going like the Energizer bunny till 11 pm at night. I have got to be a NICE mom all day, not just til about 4 pm. Who can afford the grumpies to hit at 4 pm? Not me! Even tho I am not always TIRED at noon or 1, I lay down with my 2 year old for 30-45 min (sometimes longer) and make what I consider to be an investment in my happy family by sleeping at that time. I cannot lay down at 4 when the grumpies hit, so I do it when I can (Covey's "important but not urgent" principle). Then when I get everything done and the house and kids put to bed, I am not dragging thru each last step. I might have a little energy left to read for awhile or enjoy spending time with my hubby, or be there for a teen who decides that 11 is a great time to open up to mom. It works for me. Thanks for sharing your ideas April!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'm in the middle of my "nighttime work session," and though I'm going to head to bed shortly, it just works for me to be up at this time occasionally. Good luck!

    And Catherine, you have so many sweet little ones right now. I've only recently started taking on more projects like this, now that my children consistently sleep through the night. I felt so exhausted for years. You are an incredible lady.

    Ingrid, I love how you take a nap even when you're not always tired. I'm with you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much for posting this April! This is very helpful! I too love having a big chunk of time to work on projects uninterrupted and I like the solutions that you have come up with. What I have been doing is staying up way too late and I think your second solution under number 2 is something that would really work for me when I need a chunk of time. Thank you so much for sharing this...I really appreciate it. Your article about bonding while cleaning has really really changed things around my house. Just that little shift in thinking, that cleaning is a time for bonding and is not supposed to be drudgery, has just been the best thing. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. شركة تتميز بجميع الخبرات في تقديم اعمالها المتميزة في الكشف عن التسريبات من خلال شركة كشف تسربات المياه بجدة التي تعطي كل ما لديها في اصلاح العديد من المشاكل التي تحدث نتيجة كسر او عطل مفاجئ في امدادت المياه لذلك ننصحم ان تعتمد علي شركة كشف تسربات بجدة لديه سباكين وفنين لديهم الخبرة في حل هذه المشكلة بكل سهولة كما نمتلك لديها القدرة علي تنفيذ اعمال العوازل من خلال شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض التي تعالج تسريبات المياه في الاسقف والحوائط كما نقدم خدمة العزل السليمة للخزانات الارضي والعلوي الخرسانية بواسطة فني متميزة لديه القدرة علي معالجة كل ذلك بسهولة من خلال شركة عزل خزانات بالرياض تمتلك مواد ذات جودة متميزة

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