After a great "weekend" or relaxing, the week has spiraled into dreariness. I really think it's the weather. Normally, I love the cool and damp days of fall, but it has started to become very miserable outside. Growing up, there was snow on the ground before the leaves were even out of the trees, but in Virginia, we have a few weeks that can only be described as dead. The leaves are on the ground in damp, brown clumps, the trees have lost all color, the grass is dying and brown, and it is dark outside by 5 PM. Worst of all, this seems to have happened overnight!!!
Anyways, this left me feeling very dreary and unmotivated. This is "midterm" week in school (i.e. catch up and cram week), on top of preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the imminent holiday season seems to be good news, it does add on to my list of tasks (which continues to grow daily due to extreme lack of motivation). How to get out of the rut of dreariness???
This morning I needed to go grocery shopping, which I was not too thrilled about. (Apparently buying all your Thanksgiving groceries early does not account for needing normal food -- bread, milk -- which requires shopping.) Still, I got up and went. It didn't take very long; I got home, put everything away, and ate lunch with Doug. We decided to work on finalizing our Christmas and Birthday lists (both of which are due to my family on Thanksgiving). Together, everything was making me a bit frustrated and irritable. It was during this that my husband gave me the advice I needed: "You need to rest tonight and go to bed early."
While every overachieving bone in my body fights against his statement, this really has turned out to be the best way to motivate me to get things done and use my time wisely. I often try to stay awake waiting for Doug to get home from work, which means we both go to bed late and sleep in late. For someone who works best in the daytime (in sunlight), this has cut my "work" hours significantly, especially once these winter days began. (Besides, lack of sunlight causes a hormone drop that leads to depression.) When I should be resting, I am trying to work. When I should be working, I need rest.
So I worked this afternoon on a few key items (at least this dreariness has not impacted my ability to prioritize) and "shut down" when it became dark outside, writing this being the obvious exception. I will relax -- read a book, watch a movie, eat a healthy dinner -- and go to bed at a decent hour, resulting in more "light" hours to actually get things done. While this seems like a simple concept, I don't think people realize (in general) how important rest is to productivity; it was that realization that led me to even begin this deceleration. but the manner in which a person rests is just as significant as getting rest. I was spending a lot of time trying to make myself "rest" (sit and do nothing) instead of actually rest (sleep).
Bottom Line: I guess my husband can be right sometimes too.
P.S. I have been trying to get a new "early bed/early rise" schedule for a while (mostly to be able to get some things done while Doug is still asleep), but I couldn't find proper motivation to make this stick. Now that I have seen the effect that missing out on daylight is having on me, I have plenty of motivation ;)
Update (Sunday): Well, I was in bed about 3 hours earlier than normal (and actually tired); however I had some difficulty falling asleep due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e. the upstairs neighbors), so I read for awhile, popped in some earplugs, and finally fell asleep (almost 2 hours early)!!! I got up around 9:30 (90 minutes earlier than normal) and was able to get a lot more done today than most days. I felt awake, motivated, and "together" all day.