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Albuquerque Business First has hired May Ortega as its new technology and health care reporter. Ortega joins the New Mexico business magazine after spending a year with The Monitor as a crime reporter. She is excited to jump into business writing as she covers technology, healthcare and professional services. Follow along on Twitter.
h/t Talking Biz News
The number of people not in the labor force has been growing. As of December 2016, 95.1 million people, aged 16 or older, were not in the labor force, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An aging population is responsible for this growth, but what are the other reasons individuals cite for not being in the… Read More ›
Last night, I began to read an excellent novel right before I went to bed. The plot twists! The engaging dialogue! The cliffhangers! It was a great read. But there was a problem. When I finally went to put the book down two hours later, I was completely wired, and nowhere near sleep. Needless to say, I wasn’t too productive the next day.
I always thought it was a good habit to read before bed. Was I wrong?
Kind of. I had failed to take my own advice — to do something mindless before bed — and had instead remained engaged in something that was mentally stimulating, instead of something that helped me wind down. Stress is stress, whether its source is work, or a fictional heroine who won’t leave her unfaithful husband. And that stress is responsible for 33% of adults losing sleep.
But my story shows that external stressors aren’t always to blame. Sometimes, our own routines are getting in the way of our productivity, especially when it comes time to settle in for the evening. It’s not easy, but with a little recognition and behavior modification, your bedtime routine can go from wrecking your work, to enhancing your productivity.
Bottom Line: You’re Not Sleeping Enough
As you may have guessed, we are faced with a sleep deprivation epidemic — 34.8% of U.S. adults sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours each night. And it’s getting expensive. In the U.S., the lack of productivity caused by sleep loss costs employers as much as $411 billion a year.
Less than seven hours in one night is what the CDC calls “short sleep,” which we’ll use throughout this post. Among such side effects as high blood pressure and diabetes, short sleep can also lead to “frequent mental distress.” In other words, it can really mess up our work and life in general.
On top of that, short sleep is linked to a higher probability of obesity, probably due to its correlation with poor eating habits. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to mindlessly eat or make less-than-healthy food choices. But we also eat poorly when we’re stressed, and when we’re stressed, we don’t sleep well. All of these behaviors are linked and, ultimately, are leading to this epidemic of exhaustion.
That network of cause-and-effect does more than illustrate that you’re probably not sleeping enough. It shows the complexity behind why you’re not sleeping enough, which is where your bedtime routine comes in. So let’s explore some of the “why”s. Once you’re aware of them, you can fix them.
6 Reasons Why Your Bedtime Routine Is Wrecking Your Work
1) You’re eating a bunch of crap (and probably too late in the day).
In addition to short sleep causing bad eating habits, the same thing works in reverse — diets high in saturated fat and carbohydrates, for example, have been linked to lower sleep quality. Plus, our tolerance for glucose decreases later in the day, so eating late a night can also throw off our circadian rhythm, the biological sleep-and-wake pattern of humans.
But willpower is hard — and as my colleague Mike Rehahan once wrote, it depletes as the day progresses, so the later it gets, the more tempted we are to indulge in comfort food that we don’t have to cook ourselves. After a long, tired day, it’s a recipe for disaster. You’re not just more likely to indulge. You also risk depriving yourself of quality sleep, creating a vicious cycle of exhaustion.
Here’s where planning ahead can tremendously help. When the weekend rolls around, all we really want to do is watch Netflix and shop online. But setting aside two hours on Sunday afternoon to cook meals for the week can help preserve your willpower on those late nights. But make sure you’re giving yourself the right kind of sustenance — check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s tips on that.
2) Sleep isn’t in your schedule.
When our days are already so overbooked, it seems ridiculous to schedule something like sleeping. But it’s called a routine for a reason — “setting a pattern of going to bed at the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning,” according to the CDC, is key to sleeping well.
Not too long ago, I wrote about how I use a technique called time blocking and create calendar events for everything — getting dressed, working out, and feeding my dog. But when I realized that I was slipping into the bad habit of being liberal with my bedtime, I knew that I would need to schedule time to turn off my electronics, too.
When I asked my team to share the bedtime habits that mess with their productivity, Managing Editor Emma Brudner replied, “Falling into the rabbit hole of the internet for hours.” She’s not alone — I have a bad habit of turning a simple search for a carbonara recipe into an hours-long research session on the culinary arts. And when that happens, my desired bedtime falls to the wayside.
That said, too much screen time before has other impacts on sleep quality that we’ll discuss later. But scheduling a time to unplug can prevent those evening hours from wasting away. Depending on your bedtime, try programming a recurring calendar event to shut down two hours before you actually want to get to sleep for Monday through Wednesday. As it becomes habitual, start adding additional nights.
3) You’re planning your next work day at home.
I’m a big believer in the separation of home and office. Even when I work from my modest apartment, I have a special space set aside to attend to my tasks — every other area is an off-limits, no-work zone.
That accomplishes two things. First, it helps to keep certain distractions out of sight while I’m working. And when I’m not, having a something like a designated “weekend chair” keeps me from checking work email when I should be recharging — as 50% of us are wont to do.
That’s why I also believe that all work-related tasks, including planning for the next day, should be limited to designated work spaces only. Thinking about that seemingly endless schedule can cause some anxiety, which you don’t want to bring into a place that’s designated for personal time — especially at a time of day when you’re supposed to be winding down.
It might mean staying at the office a bit later, but planning your next day at a designated workspace can help maintain your home and sleeping areas as a stress-free sanctuary. Try it tonight — chances are, you’ll be glad you left your work at work.
4) You’re putting off morning stuff until the morning.
We know — when else would you do morning things?
But my colleague, Sophia Bernazzani, stresses the value of getting certain morning tasks done in advance, and she suggests taking “15 minutes to lay out your outfit, pack your lunch, and prep your coffee” the night before.
If you’re not a morning person, she explains, “decision making abilities are limited — so you should save them for work.” So completing these items ahead of time not only gives you the peace of mind of having them done — but also, it frees up a bit of time in the morning to sleep more, work out, or meditate, which is shown to lower stress levels by 31% and increase energy throughout the day by 28%.
5) You’re ignoring your tension.
We have instincts for a reason — we’re built to instinctively seek out the things that will help us survive. Those are represented in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which includes sleep at its baseline.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
When we ignore our instincts, things start to go haywire because we’re essentially fighting biology. And when we ignore our instinct to sleep — by reading “just one more” chapter, or watching “just one more” episode — it can lead to even more tension over the fact that we’re losing sleep.
It’s very meta, but stressing over a loss of sleep will only make you less likely to fall asleep, since — say it with me — stress causes sleep loss.
But when you can’t get that stress off your mind, write them down. It makes sense that journaling before bed has shown to improve sleep quality — it gives your troublesome thoughts somewhere else to “live,” rather than being mentally recycled when you’re trying to quiet your mind.
6) You’re looking at screens.
We’re starting to feel a bit like a bunch of broken records with this one — yes, we harp away about ditching the screens before bed. And yet, nearly half of us continue to use our smartphones before bed.
But if you’re getting as sick of reading about it as we are of nagging about it, here’s a quick rundown, courtesy of Harvard:
- Blue light is the kind emitted from most electronics.
- It’s often cited as the culprit for sleep loss, because it sends a signal to your brain that daylight is present.
- That — like so many of the behaviors we’ve listed here — causes disorder to your circadian rhythm. When your brain thinks there’s daylight, it also thinks it’s time to wake up, not go to bed.
Seriously. Put the screens away before bed.
Give It a Rest
Our cultural sleep deprivation might make things look a bit bleak. It’s causing us to be grossly underproductive, which is causing our collective employers to lose a lot of money. Not only that, but it’s making us sick.
But we hope this post emphasizes that it doesn’t have to be that way, and that our bad bedtime habits can be modified. Don’t try to tackle all of these things at once — start with the one that’s easiest for you to change, and once you master it, slowly work your way through the list.
Consider the fact that people who sleep six hours or less each night lose about six days worth of productivity each year. When you feel tempted to stay up late, ask yourself, “What could I do with six extra days?” Let yourself dream — it’ll be worth it.
What does your bedtime routine look like? Let us know in the comments.
Megyn Kelly, Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow are some of the top names in political news coverage today. Although it would be ideal to engage with these journalists, chances are you won’t be able get their attention. Instead of targeting only a handful of the most popular names, there are thousands of other journalists you can create relationships with that are reporting on similar topics. Using the Cision Communication Cloud™’s Influencer Search, you can identify influencers discussing key topics that are important to your brand. To demonstrate this, we used the new cloud to discover the top inauguration media influencers you might not know about.
Note: Cision is politically unaffiliated and does not endorse any political parties, platforms, campaigns or candidates.
Top 25 News Influencers:
Hinz is a Columnist, Blogger and Political Writer at Crain’s Chicago Business. He covers Local Government and Politics, from City Hall and the Illinois General Assembly to the Chicago Board of Education.
Brantley is a Senior Editor. Covers Little Rock, AS with an emphasis on politics. Also writes a weekly column.
Rothstein is the Editor of The Daily Caller’s The Mirror Blog covering Politics and the Media Industry.
4. Bridget Foley – Women’s Wear Daily
Foley is the Executive Editor.
Hermann is a Crime Reporter for The Washington (D.C.) Post.
Eichenwald is a Senior Writer for Newsweek.
Balz is a Chief Correspondent covering Politics for the National section at The Washington (D.C.) Post. He is also a Panelist for the PBS show Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal.
Roberts is a Features Writer for the Style section covering the wealthy and influential people for The Washington Post.
Rowland is the Public Affairs Editor at The Columbus (OH) Dispatch, overseeing State Politics and Government coverage and Blogger for the Daily Briefing.
Decker is a Politics Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, covering California Politics.
Kelly is the Assistant Managing Editor overseeing Arts & Entertainment, Travel, and Movies as well as the Weekend, Leisure and Food sections, including Calendar and Local Entertainment Listings.
12. Debbie Lord – Cox Media Group/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Lord is a National Digital Content Reporter for the Cox Media Group and contributes to the Palm Beach Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution websites.
Harper is a Political Reporter and a Political Columnist for Washington Times. She is also a Blogger at Inside Politics and the Water Cooler blog.
14. Deborah Simmons – The Washington Times
Simmons is a Senior Correspondent for the Washington (D.C.) Times. She covers a breadth of topics, but focuses on politics, education, sports, and culture.
Shesgreen is a Correspondent for Gannett Washington, covering Federal Government, Politics and the Supreme Court, and serving as Washington Correspondent for Gannett’s Ohio and Missouri Newspapers, including the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Springfield (MO) News-Leader.
Koff is the Washington Bureau Chief for Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, overseeing coverage of the White House, Congress and National Politics and Government.
17. Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times
Dinan is the Deputy Assistant Managing Editor for Politics and the Congressional Bureau Chief. He covers politics, elections, policy, federal government.
Bauder is an Entertainment Reporter covering the Television Industry as well as Music for the Associated Press in New York.
Naylor is a Washington Desk Correspondent. He also contributes to All Tech Considered. He covers political and federal agency topics.
Jackson is an Investigative Reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Salant is a Washington Correspondent for NJ.com and NJ Advance Media overseeing Politics. Jonathan covers Washington, D.C. for NJ.com and The Star Ledger.
Hampson is a National Reporter for USA Today in New York, NY.
Shanahan is a Lifestyle Reporter for The Boston Globe and additionally contributes to the Names & Faces column, which contains local news on well-known Personalities and Celebrities.
Tinsley is a Senior Reporter for the Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram and a Blogger for PoliTex, covering Politics and Government at the Local, State and Federal level, as well as localizing National and International News, also covering Human Trafficking.
Noveck is a National Features Reporter covering Culture, as well as Fashion and Film Reviews for the Associated Press in New York.
The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) dropped 4 points to 53 from the previous quarter, but remained above the breakeven point of 50, which indicates that more remodelers report activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report activity is lower. Although the RMI declined, it is consistent with levels seen in the first… Read More ›
Usain Bolt once again dominated his track and field events at the Summer Olympics, putting the perfect finish on his last Olympics in Rio with three gold medals. For eight years, Bolt has been the standard of athleticism, triumph and competition. As the “fastest man in the world,” it seems as if Usain isn’t racing anyone but himself.
But he didn’t get there by taking sprints around the block. Bolt has trained his entire life to reach this pinnacle of athletic success. He says, “Competition is the easy part. Behind the scenes is where the real work is done and everything is done to get to that one race that you need to run.”
In other words, the hard part comes when he’s training, not when he’s reached the primetime TV slot. Many brands probably know this applies to their methods of marketing as well. The glory of a successful campaign all pulled together, beautifully presented and generating leads, doesn’t come without the struggle, the back and forth and the elbow grease of developing good ideas that come to fruition.
While your brand might be the Usain Bolt of your industry, it’s important to remember that your team is more like the Jamaican relay team when it comes to the hard work behind the scenes. Marketing is the anchor that takes a company’s offering across the finish line ahead of all other competitors, but sales and product teams are the other relay members that bring the baton as far as they can. Bolt recognizes the critical help of his teammates; marketing should do the same.
To win the race, marketers need to constantly eye the competition in the surrounding lanes and put in the work before they reach the track. This takes a careful approach to company-wide teamwork, knowledge of your audience and a dedication to the game as a whole. To become the fastest company in the industry, take some advice from the fastest man in the world.
One of the first places marketers focus their attention when trying to gain new customers, reach existing ones more effectively and increase company revenue is to partner with the sales team. Companies with closely aligned sales and marketing teams have 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
Most companies tie the success of these two departments together. In many cases, sales and marketing acts in tandem rather than independently. A successful company is one that has a clear line of communication between sales and marketing.
With efficient communication between departments, marketing can gain a better sense of their customers. If there is one thing that can deliver a competitive advantage it’s the use of buyer personas.
Companies who map these details and apply them to the buyer journey see 79% higher cross-sell and upsell revenue. Sales teams are often the professionals interacting with customers and hearing feedback about what is important. That information is critical to creating accurate and useful buyer personas.
The sales team is one member of the track relay team racing for the edge out in front. They help put marketing in an advantageous position when it is their turn to run. Together the two members finish the race as they hoped: in first place. Training for that hand-off before the race takes good communication, solid interdepartmental alignment and an understanding of how to work together.
Another integral piece of a marketing team’s competitive strategy that is often overlooked because of the main focus on sales is alignment with the product team. Marketing must have an in-depth knowledge of their company’s offering to market it effectively. The best way to learn this information and apply it to any marketing campaign is to work with the product team at every stage of the process.
During innovation, marketing is able to see what the company ideals have been founded on. During development, marketing can see the evolution of an offering. And throughout it all, marketing can highlight the best and most beneficial features of a service or product that appeals to the customer. The best product teams will keep marketing goals in mind as well while doing their job to ease the collaborative process.
This is all the behind scenes work that elevates a company to the stage of competition. Usain Bolt would never have even seen an Olympic stadium without training and applying lessons learned to new strategies to get faster. As a team, the Jamaican runners trained individually, but bring the essentials and fundamentals of running a relay to their performance.
Marketing must do the same with the product team. They can each do what they do best, but at the end of the day, being on the same page will push a company to a higher level of necessity, loyalty and prominence in the customers’ minds.
Winning the Relay
Of course the Jamaican men’s 4×100 relay team couldn’t have won without the surge Usain Bolt provided in the last stretch, but ultimately it was their teamwork that set them up for success. Each individual put in the effort before the race to know how to run each 100 meters to the best of their ability. Marketing should be doing all they can to compete to the best of their ability, including building various relationships across an organization.
However, it’s all relative. After all, Usain Bolt runs 27 miles an hour, which is about 20 miles faster than the average human. But comparatively to other species, humans are quite slow. Considering the everyday house cat can run 30 miles per hour, Bolt has nothing on the animal kingdom. Marketers should remember this as well when looking to outdo their competition.
As a tiny company, your standard doesn’t have to match Coca-Cola or Apple. It should just outpace other tiny companies as you all aspire to grow to the heights and speeds of Olympic champions and Olympic-sized companies.
Organic Life announced that they will be stopping their print publication and going digital for the remainder of the year. Previously called Organic Gardening and re-branded as Organic Life, the magazine was established in 1942 and written for all types of gardeners. Follow Organic Life on Twitter and Facebook.