Study Style: Sleep When You're Dead

by Liz Boldman
(Tallahassee, FL)

I usually spend most of my nights fighting sleep, trying to get everything done.

It's not that I procrastinate, it's that I work all day long and don't have much time to do anything else. So I read when I can, work when I can, write when I can, and sleep when my body gives out.

Is it healthy? Not at all. But I get by.

* * *

It seems there just aren't enough hours in the day, Liz.

Burning the candle at both ends is okay for a while, but it's unsustainable. Sooner or later, something's going to give; don't let it be your health through lack of sleep.

Like you, I've got plenty on my plate too -- running this site as well as having a demanding full time teaching job, three kids, a marriage, a commitment to the band I play in as well as a house that always needs something doing to it.

I used to get up at 5 am to build this website, work on it for an hour, do what I had to do, fit in another hour in the evening, then collapse in to bed too late.

I found that motivation got me through for a while. I couldn't sustain it though, and I got ill.

I knew I wanted to keep all the commitments in my life, but it dawned on me that I was going to have to change the way I managed them all.

Here’s what I did:

Analysed my time. When I kept a time log to discover how I was really using my week, I realized that, although I was using it fairly well, there were still a few pockets of wasted time that could be used more effectively (which for me meant more rest and sleep).

Analysed my work. This was a shock -- I thought I was doing more than I really was. The best thing I ever did was to set a simple timer before I started a task to see exactly how much focused work I was actually doing.

Set realistic goals. Experience has taught me that anything else isn’t going to happen without a significant cost to something or someone.

Changed my sleeping habits. I got up half an hour later and started going to bed half an hour earller. Late night TV or web browsing were just not worth the price I was paying.

Introduced more structure to my weeks and days. I’ve found that a schedule at home works well. Used along with I’ve managed to organize things more efficiently and effectively.

Of course, life is rarely straightforward, but a framework to the week does seem to help keep things balanced.

Bottom Line?

It's important to balance and keep re-balancing work, rest and relaxation. And there are ways to do that –- you just need to step back, analyse your situation and look for the opportunities.

I'd love to know how you get on...

Best wishes,


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