Nap Know-How

Entrepreneurs need their sleep, but they often don’t get enough of the quality sleep needed to think straight, execute and perform. When I meet a client for the first time, I’ll ask about their sleep: Do you go to sleep at about the same time every night?  Do you fall asleep within 20 minutes or so? Stay asleep (except for the occasional bathroom break?  Wake up refreshed?  Only 2/10 will say “yes” to the last question — the most important one.  There are lots of helpful ways to get better sleep, as I will mention in future blogs. But, because it’s highly likely that you are sleep deprived right now, knowing the right kind of nap is a good business strategy.

The question often arises: What length of nap and what is the best time of the day to nap? Sleep experts tell us (and I have put myself through these nap rigors, so I can speak from experience), that the best time to take a nap is early in the day. This helps fill the sleep debt from the previous night. Naps taken after 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon may interfere in your evening sleep. The best nap is one that refreshes and restores and doesn’t take a lot of time from work. It’s the 10-20 minute nap, called “the power nap” that boosts alertness and energy.  It’s essential that you set a timer or something to keep it short. 30-60 minute naps can leave you groggy and grumpy. It can take you several minutes to get back to any kind of productive work. Interestingly, even if you don’t think you fell asleep during that short time, you probably did. But, remember, just lying down with your eyes closed and letting your body relax is more helpful than not resting at all. Give it a try and share your experience!

 

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Four Points for Follow Through

Whenever I feel like stalling on a project, telling myself that I have plenty of time to finish it, or that today is not a good day for that sort of thing, I consider four points:

  1. the value I place on the project (respect, money, time-sensitivity, etc)
  2. the outcome I need to produce; what does “good enough or “near-perfect ” look like?
  3. how lousy I’ll feel if an emergency pops up that stalls this project even more, and
  4. the satisfaction I’ll experience when it’s completed.

As you approach the New Year, take a look at what project or projects you have in queue and consider these four points. Take your highest value project and parse out the steps needed to complete it, or to make greater headway on it, over the next 2-3 weeks. Schedule a reasonable amount of time every day to put in some effort toward this valuable project. It may be 15 minutes, it may be 2 or more hours a day, but consistent attention to it will bring you closer to the finish line.

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