One of the many perks of working as a freelancer is the luxury of choosing the hours you work. But have you become one of those people who work all hours of the night and struggle to get up with the sun? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that and I know plenty of freelancers who prefer working without the daylight distractions but you may be missing out on the most productive part of your day.
The facts . . .
- People who wake up earlier tend to feel more proactive, optimistic, healthier and less stressed.
- When your body is sleep deprived, your blood pressure rises, you eat more and your reaction times slow down.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night to feel refreshed and alert for the day. People who get less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours of sleep a day, significantly increase their health risks.
Let’s start with sleep
The obvious solution to getting up earlier is getting enough sleep. This means preparing yourself for a good night’s rest well before you finally hit the pillow. Avoid spicy foods, chocolate, fruit or caffeine before bed and opt for a nice cup of herbal tea or glass of water instead. Remove any work-related electronic devices from the bedroom and stop using your laptop, mobile phone, tablet etc. at least an hour before you retire. This will help you to switch off and relax. If you kick back with a good book before bedtime, this will tire out your eyes and make you feel nice and drowsy. Taking a warm shower before bed and listening to some soft nature sounds will also help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Keep it regular
The best way to become a morning person is to start going to bed and waking up at the same time every day so your body will naturally start to get used to feeling sleepy and awake at those times. Set your alarm tone to something soothing, rather than a nasty blaring ‘beeper’ that will you shock you out of your sleep. Avoid lazy around in bed and get up and moving as soon as you can. A few stretches or 1 minute of light jogging on the spot will make the body feel more energetic. Follow this routine with a morning shower and healthy breakfast and after a while, this will all just happen mechanically.
Clear the mind
Nothing livens up the body and mind more than exercise. All it takes is a brisk walk after breakfast to clear the mind and focus on the day ahead. A good night’s sleep and regular exercise will not only put you in a better mood but it will improve your life, help you to work more effectively and give you more energy.
By following these very simple tips, those who can work their own hours will have more free time; feel a lot more energised and focused and that much closer to achieving their ideal work/life balance. And isn’t that what freelancing is all about?