March 13, 2011

Sleep & Creativity

As a recovering workaholic the best thing I can do for my business is get a good night's sleep. 

Did you know that Harvard did a study and found that you boost your creativity by 33% when you get a good night's sleep?

Getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can cause premature death, it also increases your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.

So living longer, being more productive and creative - is that worth a few extras hours a day to you?

I never get more done than after a good night's sleep.  But how many times have I started to work again at 10pm after my kids are in bed and work until 1 or 2am only to get up again at 7am.  Is this you?  I can tell you, it's not worth it. 

Some small business gurus will spout you have to sacrifice to become successful, working 60-70 a week.  But I'm here to say if you don't take care of yourself, you are not going to be healthy or happy enough to enjoy that success.  Is success, money in the bank only?  Is it worth it no matter how exhausted and non-present you are during the day?  Let's face it, if you are running on empty because you were up all night working - how enjoyable are you to your family the next day? 
So let's talk about those sacrifices:

1. Your health should not be laid on the alter of your business.  Take care of you, sleep, eat well, walk, get out of the studio.  Working 24/7 will not lead to success, it will lead to burnout.

2. Cut out TV or limit it to the weekends when you deserve some down time.

3. Sacrifice being the perfect mother/wife - other people in your family can do dishes, wash clothes, help cook dinner.  A few dust bunnies will not kill anyone.  Let go of standards of perfection and focus on the things that make you happy.

4. Sacrifice your freedom for a schedule - set up work hours and stick to them - do not go online, do not answer the phone, do not do the dishes or run errands.  If you have 8 hours a week to work - then work them, don't waste that time doing anything else.

5. And finally - how much time are you spending online, really?  How many blogs, tweets and Facebook status are you tending to?  Keep track for a week, I mean minute by minute.  There is a limit to what we can do and social media is rockin' for promoting your business.  But I venture to say if you are spending more than 2 hours online a day, you have found the place where you can trade in some time for those zzzz's. 

Listen to this podcast with a top Etsy seller who downsized to find balance and happiness.


Molly Alexander said...

Fantastic post Heather - I definitely need to take better care of myself, and these are some easy changes I can make to do just that. Thanks for the info!

Genea said...

I agree! Great post! Balance in my business is surely my down fall. This is the thing on which I am working while the hubby and I are apart until our move(end of may). It's so easy to keep working if there is nothing interrupting us. I vowed to take the weekend off, which I think I accomplished :)

lisbonlioness said...

You are SO right!
I work idiotic shifts, sometimes 13 hours a day, then maybe only 4 or 5. There is no biological clock for me anymore, I can tell you.
So when I DO have time for myself, I use it by doing, you guessed it, NOTHING. I am slack then, overflowing bin and all.
Sometimes I burst with energy, and that is when I get stuff done. And if I don't feel like it, well, who cares? No masterpiece ever came from a grumpy, tired, worn- out artist on the very edge of sanity. (or so I keep telling myself!)

lunedreams said...

Amen, sistah! I consider sleep a highly productive, and always worthwhile activity. I always get sick if I go too many nights without enough sleep. It's absolutely essential for optimal functioning. And even a normal lifespan!

I'm a champion time waster. Totally ADD with getting sidetracked by non-urgent crap when I really need to be doing something else. Thanks for the reminder!

KJsBeadaciousBeads said...

Yea. I get my 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night and I get a bit of time in at the gym too. I can't tell you the number of otherwise smart people who think they can skip sleep.

I watch TV on Saturday nights that I have recorded during the week. I find I look forward to it more.

BooBeads said...

This post hits home for me!

Yes I tend to go back to my work table after the kids are in bed, and up until 2 or 3 in the morning. Back up at 6:30 am.

I should really try getting better sleep myself!

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

So wise, Heather, thanks for the reminders. I especially have trouble right after the daylight savings change, it messes me up. I stay up later unintentionally, then drag around the next day when I still have to get up.

I have learned the importance of down time, too. I used to work around the clock, feeling that it made me my most productive. Now, I feel I look forward to my creativity time when it comes, even though there's not as much of it.

Smart ideas! I need my 8 hours a night!

Marie Cramp said...

Wise words my friend! Very wise words!!

Rebecca said...

Great post, I totally agree. I am quite a bad sleeper which can be really frustrating - it's such an important thing for leading a productive life!

sarah said...

Guilty, and all counts . I should try harder and getting enough sleep and rest. I am not getting any younger, and it is about time to listen twice to my body and its health needs.