I am not a morning person.

I recently read an article in Elite Daily titled: “People Who Sleep Late Are Actually Smarter And More Creative” – and immediately thought “Hmm…I wonder if that makes me smarter.” Now I am nothing like Chris, that man could sleep all day if you let him. I just like to sleep in when I cannot. Somehow on the weekends I am raring to go and during the weekdays, I just want to sleep a bit longer, and hit snooze just one more time. Well maybe more than once.

I never used to be this way. Somehow over the years, Chris has messed with me. He is chronically prone to stay up late, and I find I sleep better when we curl up next to each other, so I stretched myself to stay up late with him until I too became a late-nighter. With the exception of during this pregnancy, where he has pushed me to go to bed early and for the most part I comply — even if he is not there next to me. Probably because I am so tired I can fall asleep in minutes. Hopefully that will continue when this little man joins us as I know my sleep will be changed for years to come.

In any case, the article is interesting. Every once in a while it is a stroke to the ego to read something that tells you that maybe something you thought made you seem lazy shows you to be intelligent or creative. An excerpt from the article:

“According to research published in The Huffington Post, those who deviate from the normal sleep schedule are considered more intelligent. This finding is supported by research suggesting that those who create new evolutionary patterns (compared to those who stick with the normal patterns developed by our ancestors) are the most progressive.”

It is a good article that states near the end that it all really depends on your outlook on life. I do like to think that all those hours that I am fast asleep, I am really evolving inside, coming up with new ways to take on the world!

Quiet enough

I woke up early this morning unable to get comfortable. As far along as I am with my pregnancy, I have to sleep on my side, which I did at times before, but oh how I miss sleeping on my back when I want to! Between constantly getting up to pee, and then trying to get comfortable again amidst the pillows that surround me, it is no wonder I only get one hour increments of sleep at a time. Poor Chris — he usually wakes up every time I do, although he does not have to get out of bed, readjust, and hope his feet do not get cold in the process.

In any case, this morning I woke up way before it was time to get up and lay snuggled in with my pillows, knowing I should get up to pee, but not wanting to move. My mind started to wander and develop ideas for the day, and the first thought that came to me was: “When do we really get quiet enough to really think?” I know nothing ground breaking, but for me it was a bit of an aha moment. We often get up thinking about everything we need to accomplish in our day and laying in bed longer is cannibalizing the minutes needed to accomplish the many tasks set before us. Are we really thinking during that time though? Are we really pondering our life and wondering if are we going down the yellow brick road that is meant for us? Or do we know it so well, we do not question if it is the right one?

As we endeavor to move through our day, we go from deadline, to appointment, to other engagements, ending up at home with a list of items to accomplish, and if we decide to veg out, it is usually in a way that still does not allow us to be quiet. My hunch is that for most of us the deep quiet never comes. Instead we decide to put another load of laundry in, respond to that email, or organize what needs to happen for the next day, and if we are lucky, when our head hits the pillow we fall fast asleep after a good full day. Every once in a while we might be able to quiet our minds before falling asleep. If I had my choice, I would rather wake up with my thoughts quiet enough, as often when it happens as you fall asleep you never remember the quiet voice speaking to you.

I want to start bringing the quiet into my days — even if just for a few moments where I can check and adjust. I want to ask myself if I am going down the right road that day, and if I am, what do I need to do to be quiet at some point in my day. To truly listen and hear that quiet voice remind my why I am on this road, and what I need to do next.

Get more time in your day…

We all want more time in our days. How often do you hear others say (almost daily) there are not enough hours in the day? It is true. I feel it and I am sure that you feel it too.

Did you know we each have 168 hours in a week? In some ways it does not sound like a lot, but if we work 50 hours, and we sleep 56 hours a week (8 hours a day), that leaves 62 hours to do everything else. Whether that be hanging out with kids, family, housework, errands, exercise, you could divide 62 hours over the rest of the week and you would have another 8-9 hours. Or 6 hours each day on weekdays, and 8 extra on the weekend. Where did all this come from? I just finished reading: “I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time” by Laura Vanderkam who discusses the idea of how to utilize 168 hours in a week in the best and most efficient way.

One particular area where I know I could gain time back is during my work day. I am literally always in back to back meetings all day. What if I could change the amount of time I spend in meetings? What if they were cut short? Vanderkam says:

“You can also schedule meetings for shorter slots. Just because Outlook tells you meetings should take 30 or 60 minutes doesn’t mean these blocks have been determined by divine decree. Shorten meetings you can’t kill. Two 60-minute meetings turned into 45-minute meetings buys you 30 minutes a day. Personally, I like the idea of 22.5-minute meetings or 37.5-minute meetings. Everyone will assume you have an incredibly detailed, thought-through agenda.” Page 44

I think the idea is plausible. Not only could I benefit from it, so could those involved in the meeting(s). A ripple effect. The key though is that the freedom of shorter meetings means that you get more time to do the things you need to do, and not instead go to more meetings. (I need to listen to that advice). I am going to try this and see if it brings good results!

Decisions, decisions…

Depending on what you do for a living, you might find that you make decisions all day. For some it might be an adrenaline rush, and for others it might drain the crap out of you. Regardless of whether decision-making is easy for you, it can be a draining part of your life. You need to be able to have a time to recharge the batteries in your brain to ensure all the wires are working properly. Without that recharge time, it might mean you begin to make decisions that are not the best for you and those impacted by your decisions.

How do you recharge though, if there never feels like an open window that will allow you to do so? Sometimes talking things through out loud is just enough to know the right answer. Other times you might just need a day off, and delegate the task of decision-making to someone else. You might also just need a long night of sleep.

Chris is used to me knowing what I want most of the time. Just because I know what I want, it does not mean that my desire is the answer. We still need to talk about it and come to a decision together. At times he might share information with me that might sway my decision and other times I feel clear from the beginning and know just what needs to happen. There are days when I come home (usually it is Friday) when I let him know I do not want to make the simplest decision — such as what I might want to eat for dinner. What throws him off is that 99% of the time I have an opinion, so that 1% of the time just feels odd and he can feel under pressure to then figure out what would make me happy or be best in the situation. The reality in this case is that my brain just cannot process another piece of information and I feel like a zombie.

Be sure to take the time to recharge your mind and body so that you can continue to make the best decisions for you and your family. It all starts with listening and it helps when you have an advocate that looks out for your best interest.

Being grateful

I woke up at 4:45 am Sunday morning and could not sleep or get comfortable. I thought about just getting up. Instead the thought that came to me was to just lay there and be grateful. A long list of things came into my thought and eventually I fell back asleep. I woke up an hour or so later, not able to sleep and still uncomfortable. So I did the same thing.

I have had pivotal moments in my life when I have woken in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep with very strong thoughts about another person in my life. Whether I had an intuition that something was not right in the world, or a moment of pause about a specific individual. Early on when I would have these pitch-black-middle-of-the-night intuitions, well they freaked me out. Over time I learned to stop, be quiet, and listen. Depending on how coherent I am I might lay there and pray, or think about how I can support and think good thoughts for the world situation or individual that woke me from sleep.

Waking in the wee hours of Sunday morning was not about a person, but it was a full body reminder for me. Why did I have to lay in bed unwilling to get out of my cozy bed to take moments to be grateful for my amazing husband, family, friends, colleagues, home, work, etc? The list went on in my head. Even to specific worldly pleasures, such as my new favorite sheets that I was laying between. That utter euphoria I felt for all the goodness in my life (does not mean it was perfect) reminded me to take more moments in the day to acknowledge that goodness. Why not before I fall asleep at night? Or at least on those nights when I do not fall asleep the instant my head hits the pillow… Who am I kidding? That never happens to me.

This is a reminder for you and for me. Be grateful. Keep it inside or let it ooze out and tell those that you are feeling gratitude for them. Snuggle in your bed and appreciate the sheets that have you smitten. Watch the video of your niece laughing over and over again. Forget the struggles that you have for a few moments and just be head over heels grateful for all the good in your life.