If unfinished projects keep you worrying & planning at night, try these 4 strategies to help you get stuff done so you can get to sleep already.
Coaches often end up working with clients who are a lot like they are. As a Sleep & Well-being coach, I’m no exception! Most of my clients are high achievers and like to feel productive. They’re passionate about many things, and often involved in quite a few projects.
As I mentioned here, few people who struggle with sleep lay awake in bed at night thinking happy and/or humorous thoughts. It’s also true that few people can’t sleep because they’re thinking about all the things they’ve accomplished during a day!
Rather, what keeps you worrying, planning, and waking at 3 am is your endless list of To Dos.
There never seems to be enough time to do everything, and unfinished projects might weigh heavily on your mind at night. These may be projects you legitimately want to do! You may have had to push them off for a long time because other priorities have risen to the top of your task list. Or maybe if you’re honest, you’ve procrastinated a bit.
These projects linger in the background, draining your energy, and robbing you of your sleep.
Here are 4 strategies you can use to get stuff done so you can sleep already!
Strategy 1 – Dig One Well
The Dig One Well strategy has positively helped so many of my clients get stuff done so they could get to sleep! I’ll share it first.
I first became aware of this strategy from one of my Yoga Therapy mentors, Chase Bossart. I wrote about it here.
Basically, it states that many things could help you, but if you’re running around trying a lot of little, different things, you’re not likely to get far. It’s like digging a lot of little holes in the ground, expecting to get to water.
In “get-projects-done” speak, I’ve heard this called “eat that frog”, “ride the wild donkey,” etc. Whatever metaphor or language you like, the idea is that you stick with something until it’s completed.
It’s single-focus. (See also Strategy 4.)
Strategy 2 – The ONE Thing
A related strategy I learned about a bit later was that of the ONE Thing. This comes from the book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. The question is, “What’s the One Thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
I can tell you from personal experience that when you do your ONE Thing, it can feel like you’ve done about 10. And of course, if everything else is easier or unnecessary, you’ve freed up your brain and given yourself more space to rest.
Strategy 3 – Tiny Milestones
You might know that you’re just the kind of person who will always have multiple projects going at once. If that’s the case, not to worry!
The better strategy for you might be the tiny milestone.
Here’s an example from my life that inspired this post:
I wanted to spray our patio and driveway edges with some eco-friendly weed killer, which I ordered and received last week. Initially, I put “spray patio & driveway weeds” on my task list.
But to check this off, I need:
- To find a bottle I can use to spray it (I know there’s one in the basement)
- To label the bottle so it doesn’t get used for something else (for which I need a sharpie)
- Protective gloves for my hands (there’s some in my bathroom cabinet)
- A sunny day to do it (i.e., check the weekly forecast & my schedule)
- To read the directions and get the weed killer into the bottle as directed
That’s at least 5 things I can do regardless of the weather and my schedule. That’s 5 things I can do to feel as though I’ve made progress. And I can even check them off a list if I’d like to!
Strategy 4 – Single- / Mono-tasking
In years past, many of us were taught to believe we could get more done if we were doing multiple things at once.
Not only was this advice incorrect, but it also trains our minds to be distracted.
If your mind is running in 50 different directions when you are trying to fall asleep (or fall back to sleep) at night, your daytime habit of multitasking is likely to blame.
To settle your mind to sleep, you need to be able to focus it on a single task. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why your sleep depends on meditation.
When you practice single-tasking (also called mono-tasking):
- you’re more likely to accomplish what you wanted to in your day
- you’re less likely to have unfinished tasks or projects running through your head at night
- you’ve trained your mind to be focused, which come in handy when rest & sleep IS your focus
My current mantra is “find the bottle, find the gloves!”
Which strategy will you try this week? Comment below & let me know!
Are you ready to get serious about sleep?
I CAN HELP.
If you’re sick of stressing & worrying about your sleep & the toll it’s taking on your productivity, relationships, & health, download my FREE video series: 3 MINDSET SHIFTS REQUIRED TO RECLAIM YOUR SLEEP when you click the button below.