One night last month, I was reading with my son at bedtime. The book we were reading inspired me to share my story about creating more of the most valuable asset: time. I'm not talking about "enjoying the moment" or "being more present", although those are important concepts. I'm talking about actually adding an extra hour a day to your waking life. The book my son and I have been reading this past few months is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Yes, my son and I read self help books together at bedtime. We used to read books about sharks and other fun stories, but I decided we'd both be better off if we invested our reading time in learning real life lessons from the one and only Dale Carnegie. Plus, well, I'm a nerd. I'm hoping he will be, too.
Back to the point of this. Adding one hour to your day is truly possible. I know this not only because Dale Carnegie says so, but also because I have been experimenting with it for over a year and have finally mastered it.
How to create one more hour each day
I need 8 hours of sleep at night. Well, that's what I always thought. So I've always tried to make sure I get my 8 hours.
When my son was a baby until he was about three years old, I slept whenever, wherever, as long as my baby boy was sleeping too. Not because he wasn't a good sleeper. Quite the contrary, actually. He slept lots. But what I found myself doing, and this went on for about 2 years, was sleeping about 6 hours at night, then when he took his afternoon nap, I'd lay down too and get another couple hours of sleep. I obviously wasn't gaining anything by doing this, since I was still sleeping 8 hours. It was a bad habit I couldn't (mostly just didn't need to) break. I'd put him down at 9pm and stay up for 3-4 hours, wide awake because I'd slept for 2 hours in the afternoon. He'd wake up at 7am and I'd feel tired all morning until nap time. What I discovered many years later, (mostly over the past year) is that if I would have set my alarm for 15 minutes when I laid down for my afternoon nap, I would have awoke energized rather than groggy, and I still would have needed only 6 hours of sleep at night!!!
This is not a new thing for many of you, but I want to share that some of the world's most successful people who have TONS of obligations and run huge corporations actually nap. Every day. Guilt-free. They own it. They swear by it. They don't let any meeting or email get in the way of their nap. And I have become one of these guilt-free happy nappers.
I've always struggled with afternoon fatigue. I'm talking struggling not to fall asleep sitting up fatigue. I've spent years trying to find the right supplement, the right time of day to walk my dogs so the fresh air will wake me up and the right sequence of daily tasks to minimize that awful feeling of fatigue in the afternoons. Even before my son was born, I was a napper. It's always been my thing, but I always slept too long so I awoke feeling groggy - never energized. I had the right idea by listening to my body, but I was going about it wrong. And tonight, Dale Carnegie confirmed that I've finally mastered the art of napping. Mr. Carnegie also confirmed that I shouldn't keep it a secret. It's healthy and some of the world's wealthiest people swear by it. These are only two of the many reasons why you should strive to be a happy napper, too.
"Why should I become a happy napper?"
Like I said, while reading "How to Stop Worrying & Start Living" to my son, the chapter began with, "Why am I writing a chapter on preventing fatigue in a book on preventing worry? That is simple: because fatigue often produces worry, or, at least, it makes you susceptible to worry."
Since mastering the art of napping, my tendency to worry has decreased. I feel so much more able to take on life's challenges, to roll with the punches.
The chapter I'm referring to in Dale Carnegie's book is called "How to Add One Hour a Day to Your Waking Life."
"You cannot continue to worry if you relax." ~ Dale Carnegie
Dale goes on to explain, "The US Army has discovered by repeated tests that even young men - men toughened by years of Army training - can march better, and hold up longer, if they throw down their packs and rest ten minutes out of every hour."
This short chapter tells many stories of famous world leaders whose daily nap, or many daily naps, enabled them to work more, "fresh and fit", than they could have by sleeping once a day.
The original John D. Rockefeller lived to be ninety-eight and took a half-hour nap in his office every noon. "He would lie down on his office couch - and not even the President of the United States could get John D. on the phone while he was having his snooze!"
Dale tells the story of how he persuaded one of Hollywood's top directors, Jack Chertock, to "...take a vacation every day. How? By stretching out in his office and relaxing while holding conferences with his staff writers." Dale goes on to share, "When I saw him again, two years later, he said, 'A miracle has happened. That is what my own physicians call it. I used to sit up in my chair, tense and taut, while discussing ideas for our short features. Now I stretch out on the office couch during these conferences. I feel better than I have felt in twenty years, work two hours a day longer, yet I rarely get tired.'"
Here's what I will do going forward at noon every day to prevent fatigue:
- set my timer (an old cell phone) for 20 minutes
- turn off my cell phone
- lay down and close my eyes
- fall asleep within 3-5 minutes
- wake up 10 minutes later feeling like I've slept for an hour or more
- have tons of energy for the rest of the afternoon & evening!
In January 2016, I began playing with this mini-nap idea. I had to. There would simply be no other way to fit in all of my daily obligations AND time to write a book. I'd always heard that it was more effective to have a short nap, but my bad habit of blocking off an hour or two to "catch up on my sleep" kept me on a fatigue merry-go-round that looked like this:
- after 5 or 6 napless days, I'd feel like I'd earned a nap. So I'd nap. For 1-2 hours.
- couldn't fall asleep that night, so I'd get 5-6 hours of sleep.
- tired all the next day. No time for a nap.
- still tired. No time for a nap...this went on until day 6 when I'd have a big nap and start the cycle over again.
What finally made me try shorter naps was hearing Tim Ferriss talk about his sleep schedule on an episode The Four Hour Workweek podcast. He said basically the same thing as Dale Carnegie. When you have many obligations and are addicted to accomplishing as many things as humanly possible, you need to find ways to create more time. Cutting down one's nighttime sleep to 5 or 6 hours and adding one or two 20 minute "rejuve sessions" (a.k.a. NAPS) per day not only creates an extra hour each day but also increases productivity during every minute of the day!
Napping helped me stay on top of my regular duties for my clients while I worked to complete and publish my first book. Had I not forced myself to take shorter naps more often, I'm not sure my brain would have been alert enough to finish a book!
So that's how to add an hour a day to your waking life, and add quality to everything you do by bringing your fresh & fit self into every conversation, presentation or activity. I'm living proof it works.
As of tomorrow, I have decided that each and every day, I will aim to take a 20 minute rejuvenation break to lie down, close my eyes, think about nothing, sleep, and wake up fresh and excited to start the second half of my amazing day! I hope you'll do the same! You deserve to feel rejuvenated! And if you have children, your children deserve to have a rejuvenated mom or dad!!
(And you deserve the $100-$1000 you can earn each day with that extra hour!!!)
I'm looking forward to sharing with you what I've been doing with my extra hour each day: a video course to help you turn that extra hour into $100-$1000!!!
Are you excited???