This guest post is by Tania Dakka of Fit Freelancer.
Yes! Your great idea for the post you want to write on the density of the Himalayan fog and its effects on mountain goats has finally hit! And it’s only 3:18am! Woohoo!
But tomorrow morning, that content isn’t going to look so pretty, is it?
Tunnel vision has struck again and you find the time has gone out the window. Unfortunately, so did the quality of your work.
As bloggers, we love to squeeze every second out of the day that we can. We push ourselves, hyper-focused, right into hyper-drive. We don’t want to stop. We know we’ve got content to create and we’re not going to let a blank screen make us tap out.
My father always said I didn’t know where to stop. And I’m guessing you don’t either. It’s what drives us as bloggers.
The problem is you know what you want to do. You know what you need to do. But you don’t know how to do it right.
Sitting at your laptop all day makes you productive and happy. Until you get up and find your energy sapped, your head hurting. And your content, well, let’s just say it’s less than stellar.
You’re preparing posts when your brain is overworked and barely functional. You barely take creativity breaks or fit breaks or any other kind of break. (Unless you count your social media “networking” time.)
Staring minute after minute at your screen until the wee hours of the morning because you think you’re going generate some grand, isn’t the way to work smart. But, congratulations! It is the way to work hard.
As a blogger who wants to be productive and conquer the blogging world, you’ve got to let go of the habits that are keeping you tired and run down. You’ve got to give your body and mind the rest they so desperately need.
Optimize your sleep, optimize your blog
But resting isn’t the same as resting well. You need maximum results from your efforts. Right? You want to put out viral content that everyone needs and wants to share. You want your right readers to find you and fall in love with you.
Optimize your sleep, just like you optimize your copy and your website. Rest and be well-prepared. (You saw The Mechanic, right? “Victory loves preparation.”) Sleep is your preparation.
The fact is when you’re tired, you’re ill-tempered and short-sighted. The quality of your productivity won’t be what it could be if you were functioning with a fully well-rested mind. And not only do you put out poor quality words, you eat more junk food and give in to cravings when you haven’t bolstered your will power with the right kind of sleep.
Sleep is a powerful factor in every aspect of your life. It sets the foundation of your mood, your thinking, your creativity, and your energy. Avoid the following sleep mistakes and reinforce your blogging foundation and create great content again!
5 Sleep mistakes
Sleep mistake #1: Eating and drinking the wrong things at the wrong times
We all throw down whatever chow we can find when we’re focused on our blogging. Drinking coffee and eating heavy foods (like a whole pizza) before bed sabotages your sleep for the night.
Corrective action: Cut off caffeinated drinks early in the afternoon. Limit evening snacks to fruits or veggies in moderate amounts.
Sleep mistake #2: Not exercising
Avoiding exercise in the name of the blog puts your body at risk for disease and gives little outlet for exertion. Exertion affects the quality of your sleep. The more you wear yourself out physically, the better you’ll sleep. (You’ve seen the kids after a hard day at play, right?)
Corrective action: Exercise to full exertion at least four times per week. Although an ideal goal would be for 15 minutes a day, every day.
Sleep mistake #3: Hitting the hay too late
Staying up until all hours of the night and getting up early is an obvious killer for your sleep quality. As matter of fact, not having a sleep schedule guarantees that your body clock won’t find its needed rhythms so you don’t fall into that deep sleep you so desperately need.
Corrective action: Set a bedtime for the same time every night and stick to it. Shoot for seven hours every night. If you’re blogging late, write down your train of thought for your project and go to bed. Re-read your notes before starting the next day, and you’ll likely find you don’t miss a beat.
Sleep mistake #4: Not having a sleep routine
You know every time you sit down to the keyboard what your routine is. Your trigger is to sit, then your thought flips to social media. Then, you flip to email. Then, you flip to your blogging. It’s a routine that your mind knows well. If you don’t have a similar routine before bed, you’re not putting your mind into “sleep mode.”
Without the routine, your mind has to find its own route to sleep, which means it takes you longer to fall asleep.
Corrective action: Set up a routine that preps you for sleep and do it in the same order every night. For example, brush your teeth, put on your jammies, do some stretches, then lie down for some breathing exercises. Do them all in the same order each night and by the time you reach the end of your breathing exercises, your mind will be set to sleep so you drift off effortlessly.
Sleep mistake #5: Electronics in the bedroom
You read your ereader, smartphone, iPad, or tablet every night before bed. And that’s okay. You can still do that. But not in the bedroom. The light displays from electronics disrupt your body’s natural rhythms by introducing light when the mind thinks it’s time for dark, causing you a lower quality of sleep and to feel less rested the next day.
Corrective action: Keep your electronics in another room and make it a policy not to use them in the bedroom.
Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? What stops you from making sleep a priority so you can create a great blog? Tell us about it in the comments.
Tania Dakka, Fit Freelancer, helps freelancers thrive where life, fitness and productivity collide. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook and stay on top of your entrepreneurial game! (Warning: You may be asked to do a few pushups!)