By Joe Holder
How to protect those precious hours of sleep every night.
Most people's days are governed by a thing called Parkinson's Law: Basically, it means that the time it takes for you to do your work expands to fill the time allotted for it.
That often means that your day—whether it's your job or stuff on your to-do list—can keep growing into your evening, and before you know it, you're climbing into bed hours later than you'd planned. Particularly at the moment, when the line between work and rest is blurred by being at home.
That's why I recommend giving yourself a bedtime. Having a set time when you start getting ready for bed is a hard cut-off, and that helps develop a sense of proactive urgency. That way you won't get as sidetracked doing things that are frivolous or dragging out other projects.
"Having a firm end time to your day makes you a lot more productive, strategic and focused".
For example, if you have to send an email for work and you have all night, you could find yourself taking the whole evening to get it done, with lots of distractions like playing on your phone or watching TV.
But when you have a hard bedtime, you get a lot more strategic with your time, so you'll often find you get just as much done in a limited time versus when you had all night.
I recommend a bedtime of 10 or 11pm at the latest. Work backwards from when you have to wake up: Make sure you're able to be asleep—actually asleep, not still brushing your teeth or winding down—for a minimum of six hours a night.
Of course, you can always set your bedtime on the early side and make an exception here or there when life gets in the way, as long as you're usually striving to hit that bedtime.
"Choose a time for your bedtime, and try to be in bed by that time every night for a week".
You'll find yourself being more strategic with how you spend your evenings and you'll start your days feeling more well-rested.