The Power Nap: Staying Productive Despite Losing Sleep

Its inevitable that you wont get enough winks. Especially after a night out or burning the midnight oil to finish all those looming deadlines.

Sleep is so crucial to our health that were compelled to spend almost a third of our lives doing it. Yet our commitments as contract workers are much more important, because they determine our success as freelancers.

So how do you make do with your lack of sleep, while still having enough energy to get things done?

You may have heard about the power nap. From personal experience, a few minutes of dozing off gave me the boost to get through the daydespite getting no sleep the night before. The relatively short duration keeps you from falling into deep sleep, which is very hard to wake up from and results in grogginess.

The power nap on the other hand is quite a refresher. I always loved waking up totally alert and ready to get back to work, especially when I entered the nap feeling like I was about to collapse.

Heres a few things that will help you maximize your power naps:

Nap in a relatively quiet area. Noise distracts, and distractions keep you from falling asleep.

Don’t lie down. Lying down means youll wake up hours later. At least for me. Try not to get to comfortable; just enough to fall asleep.

Get the duration right. Experiment. How long should you power nap be? 20 minutes already makes me groggy, while 15 is perfect.

Use only when needed. Dont see the power nap as an excuse to procrastinate! Remember its a tool to remedy your lack of sleep.

What are your experiences with the power nap? Do you find them effective?

Getting Things Done, Even if 30 Projects are Pending

So you’re drawn up your daily checklist and are shocked. I need to do all this!?!

Congratulations, your procrastination, lack of attention to detail, or laziness are coming back to haunt you. Or fate has dealt you a disaster or emergency. Now you despair, wondering how you’ll get everything done.

First things first, realize that it’s time to dig yourself out of the hole. Start working. Yes, you have so much to do. But nothing will change if you continue cursing the day you were born.

Next, with such a full schedule, stop accepting new projects. It makes no sense to add to the load. It’s now time to clear the backlog.

Where do you focus your efforts? Consider which projects you should accomplish first. Is task A due before task B? Will client X give you hell for delays? Can you negotiate an extension with client Y? It will take time to figure this out, but the short-term delay will lead to long-term benefit.

Prepare yourself, for getting out of this bind requires sacrifice. Say goodbye to friends, family, and sleep. At least for the time being.

In short, it’s all about getting your priorities straight. Finish what needs to be finished first, and work your way from there. Don’t stop until everything’s done. Come to think of it, being conscious of what’s really important will always serve you well. In your freelance career and life.