For the past few months I’ve been sharing my organizational system and printables that help me stay on track and get my work done. I have tons more printables that I use but I think it’s time to address an issue that each and every author I know personally struggles with. It’s my biggest daily, weekly and monthly hurdle because I am my own hardest taskmaster. There are times I think that maybe I shouldn’t be working for myself, setting my own schedule, determining my monthly goals and making my own quarterly and yearly plans. Because no one will expect more out of myself than I do. I always think I can get more done than I can. I always think I will have more time than I will. And I always drive myself just a bit further than I’m able.
So what am I talking about?
Hi, I’m Ann Shannon, the Manic Writer and this is my September contribution to the #authortoolbox blog hop. The #authortoolbox hop is hosted by Raimey Gallant. She’s an amazing blogger with a background in marketing and she writes! (She might be a superhero!) You can click here to check out Raimey and the other participants in the hop. They’re a great bunch of bloggers and writers, and I’m excited to be a part of the group. As for me, I write romance and I spotlight Indie Authors on my blog because Indie’s are awesome! I giveaway an indie book every month. Won’t you drop your email in that subscribe box and join me in my mania?
The focus of the #authortoolbox is to help our fellow authors be the best they can be. The topics range from marketing, to editing, critiquing and author related products. I’ve learned a lot from hopping around the various posts and I’ve contributed my own planning system. You can check out the #authortoolbox tag on the sidebar to see my other posts and get my printables to help you organize your own days, weeks, months and years. If you’re an author and a blogger you can join the hop! That link above to check out the other posts is where you sign up.
I’ve said all I can say, for now anyway, about organization, but there is one thing that needs to accompany good organization and that is Self-Care.
This post will be the beginning of a series on Author Self-Care that I will publish as part of my #authortoolbox contributions. I hope you enjoy them and find that they help you grow as an author, blogger and best friend to your self.
The best thing you can do for self-care is sleep
As this is the intro post for a new series I’ll keep it simple. The best thing you can do for self-care is sleep. Of course there are many other ways you can take care of yourself, but if you don’t start here it will be hard for those other strategies to be helpful and effective. Sleeping is a basic human need. If you’re not meeting it effectively or sufficiently then you are likely not taking good care of yourself. So let’s discuss sleep, why it is so important and how you can improve your self-care with it.
First things first though.
I pass no judgment on anyone for how they choose to sleep. There are many ways you approach this basic activity and no one right way to do it, other than the basic fact that you need to do it.
It is imperative that the human body have sleep. Without it we begin to lose the ability to function effectively and eventually your body will simply demand sleep and you won’t be able to stay awake. While we sleep our body heals and repairs it’s heart, and blood vessels. The downtime helps your brain to function and helps keep your emotions balanced, it improves your ability to learn and be creative amongst many other things. Visit this link for more information about how important sleep is.
How much sleep do you need?
This is a very individual answer. Common advice is eight hours, but I do quite well on about seven unless my chronic illness is flaring, then I need a little more. I’ve never in my life slept more than eight hours when I wasn’t sick. Some people can’t function without ten though and some do quite well on as little as four. The amount of sleep you need can be related to your age, with younger people needing slightly more than older people, but that isn’t always the case. Only you know what works best for you and can determine how much you need.
Make sure you act on it once you decide!
That’s the self-care part. If you determine that you need nine hours of sleep then you must decide what times you will go to bed and wake up to make that possible. Will you always hit that nine hour mark? Probably not, because life is messy, but if you aim for it then you will hit it most of the time.
What does this look like?
As I’ve said before, sleep is individual. How much you need, when you need it, and how you get it will be something only you can decide for yourself. If you find yourself needing guidance I recommend you speak with your doctor, or a sleep specialist. I will tell you how I manage my own sleep cycle as an example, but no one way will work for everyone.
I need about seven hours of sleep a night, unless I’m sick or in a flare. I am also a very early riser. I’ve been known to get up as early as 4am to write because inspiration struck. I don’t do that as often as I used to, but it still happens. Typically, I get up between 5am and 6 am. If I’m awake at 5 then I hop into my office and pound out a few words in the early morning quiet. I’m a proud member of the #5amwritersclub on Twitter, though I’ve been less active in it lately. In order for me to be up at 5 or 6 and get seven hours of sleep I need to be asleep by 10pm. One of the downsides to being a morning person is that I’m not a night person. By 7pm I am done but I’m not always ready to call it quits and sometimes that hour or two after dinner is the only time I get to visit my husband because of our crazy schedules. Plus, all the good television is on at 9 and 10! (Thank you Hulu!)
I made a choice to not watch TV at night unless I could finish by 9PM. Yes, that means I miss a lot of prime shows. It doesn’t really bother me, I’m not a huge TV fan, and I’ve got Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime where I watch many shows after they’ve aired. When football season is over we’ll be getting HBO on demand and start watching Game of Thrones, because I’m one of the ten people who hasn’t watched it yet. At all. (Well, I watched a few episodes when it first came out and lost interest. We’ll see what happens this time.)
So my aim is to be in bed by 930pm in order to be settling down and asleep by 10. On days that I’m not feeling well, or I’m flaring I have to aim for an earlier time. As a morning person I rarely sleep past 6am and the 6am hour is new for me. When I was younger it was 5am! When I was a child my Mom made a rule that I couldn’t get out of bed before it was light outside. She is not a morning person!
So will you decide how much sleep you need to be healthy? How will you meet that goal to take care of yourself? Share your sleep strategies in the comments with me and my other readers so we have a lot to think about! Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to visit the other blogs in the #authortoolbox hop!
Click here to see more of the #authortoolbox blog hop!
Thanks for Stopping By!
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