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How Sleep Helps Work-Life Balance

Looking for ways to navigate that tricky relationship between your work and the rest of your life? Well, certainly it’s a lot harder to compartmentalize than it used to be.

We come home and our phones, tablets and laptops come with us. Plus, more and more people are working flexible hours or working from home these days. If you’re one of those, you know how hard it can be to 1) reach top productivity and 2) turn off work when you need to.

But regardless of where you work, below are some handy time management tips to help create healthy balance and be productive in every element of life. Sleep, it bears noting, is a key part of good time management:

  • Remember that we’re all equal in terms of time. We all get 24 hours in a day and it’s up to us to use it well according to our values and goals. Sure, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we want to do, but we never “don’t have enough time” to do what’s really important to us. How we spend our time demonstrates our priorities. A good way to deal with this issue is to think of your time like money; consider your next-best alternative an expenditure of time. If it’s better, consider a shift.
  • Quit work at a fixed time each day. You can try setting two times—one that’s ideal and another as the time you won’t work past, no matter how busy you are.
  • Sleep! Not only is it good for you, but it’s proven to boost productivity and mental acuity. Prioritizing sleep helps establish healthy rhythms. And it’s not just about the time you spend sleeping, but the quality of sleep you get in that time. (That’s why having the right mattress is important.) Sleeping well can help you make wise decisions, finish work faster and feel energized instead of exhausted. On the other hand, if you don’t get enough sleep or get poor quality sleep, you can end up in a vicious cycle of working longer to achieve the same amount and making sub-par decisions about your time.
  • Switch off email for long periods of time. If you can, check it once around noon and once at 4 p.m. That way, you give yourself space to get things done in the morning and still check your email before it gets too late. Then, you also have time to respond to anything that came in the afternoon, or any replies to emails you sent at noon.
  • When you’re super busy and under pressure, ignore your email entirely. It’s distracting and has potential to throw your brain off on all kinds of tangents.
  • Value your time. If you do, chances are others will too.
  • Use your time for things that are worth it. If you love your job, it’s hard to leave at the end of the day. But it’s always good to take stock of what you’re working for. Hopefully you have some non-work related things in your answer!
  • In general, take time to care for yourself—however that looks for you. For us, it involves investments in rest and health, like taking time for ourselves, hanging out with people we love and exercising regularly. And of course, combining great sleep and time management techniques. We’re all better off for some TLC and R&R.

Sleep tight, Urbanites!