Success is optional. Sleeping isn’t.
There’s this deadline I need to catch, it’s really important, I’ll just pull an all nighter and make it work. It’s fine, I’ll survive, get me some pizza and some coffee, please.
[8 hours later] I’ll go home, take a shower, sleep for 2 hours and get back in the office. I’ll rest in the weekend. Wait, there’s that party in the weekend and then that long list of tasks I said I can do on Sunday. Sigh. One more coffee, please, it will do the trick.
Be it the need to prove one’s value, to contribute to the project, to surpass others or just the simple quest for appreciation and social consideration, sleep is seen as the not-that-important part of life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there so many times, I still find myself not understanding what is so wrong with a little lack of balance.
I work hard and play hard, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, I’ll stop when I’m done and not when I’m tired. I know these lines in my 4 hours per night sleep, I tell them out loud fast and well articulated, not breaking eye contact and looking down at whoever tries to express their tiredness at 5 pm.
But what I didn’t anticipate is the emptiness that comes with the late office hours, the weekend tasks or the overnight work sacrifices. Pushing a personal or professional limit, getting out of the comfort zone and all that semi-inspirational talk is good up to a point, but it won’t benefit a tired brain and a slightly nonfunctional and painful body.
You need to rest. Your brain needs to shut down, your body needs recover. Your meals need to be healthy and your food should be giving you energy, not slowing you down.
So you need to step up and work more? Focus, get distractions out of the way. Prioritize and schedule. Seriously, prioritize. Be efficient and effective. Cut out the crap. Get to know your body, understand when you are the most active and make that the biggest chunk of your working day.
Stop believing you’re a big deal
You are not THAT busy, not everybody wants a piece of you. Yet. That tires you up too, spend more time doing, less talking or complaining about it. At the end of the day, it’s the results that matter, not the effort that you’ve put in. Always ask yourself if you’re being productive, don’t cheat on yourself.
For crying out loud, for your own health and sanity, learn to freaking say No. To your colleagues or boss, to your family or friends, learn when you have too much on your plate and understand that it’s ok to have boundaries and limits. It does not make you weaker.
And most importantly, breathe in and breathe out. Some stuff will not get done by the end of the day, some stuff will never get done. And that is perfectly fine. Absolutely fine. When you’ll wake up early in the morning, the sun will still go up, nobody will have died over an unsent email and you’ll get to your urgent to do list once again.
It’s all on you, kid.