Productivity

What to do if you don’t have more time to sleep

Sleeping Boy, Philippe Laurent Roland, 1774, jegornagel.com

Sleeping Boy, Philippe Laurent Roland, 1774

I am sleep deprived.

Usually my longest sleep period during working days lasts about up 6 hours with magnitude from 3 to 6. Falling asleep doesn’t take me longer than 5 minutes, laying my head on the pillow is always enough.

The official Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) say that it takes between 10-20 minutes to fall asleep for a healthy person. Any less than this and you are probably sleep deprived as I am. Any more than this indicates sleep onset insomnia, which means you have problems with falling asleep.

Minutes to fall asleep
Daytime Sleepiness Risk
0–5
Severe
5–10
Troublesome
10–15
Manageable
15–20
Excellent

Figures from Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) — Wikipedia

Sleep is essential to keep us alive and fully functional.

Sleep deprived people prove to be less productive, gain weight, tend to be moody, have cognitive impairment, and worse health overall.

The easiest and the most obvious advice for sleep deprived is — sleep more — which includes getting into bed earlier and waking up later. But, if you can’t allow yourself this luxury, you have to try to improve the quality of your sleep.

Prepare technically

Everything you know about preparing children for sleep works for adults too. Thus, it’s easy as it is:

  • Develop a ritual of falling asleep. It can be anything, but it must be repeated. For example, dinner, reading, warm shower, sleep.
  • Do not eat before sleep.
  • Change your pillow and mattress. They should be comfortable, but properly support your neck and body. Good mattress, silence, nice bed linen should set you to sleep.
  • Make your room cold. 18’C is just the right temperature to slow down the heart rate, digestion and help you fall asleep.
  • Remove any blue screen gadgets from the bedroom so that you can not physically read a little-Reddit-before-the-night-oh-my-god-it’s-already-three-in-the-morning!
  • Consider physical load during the day so that not only the head but also the body gets tired by the evening.

Turn off your body

Now you need to relax the muscles. To do this, consistently move your attention from one part of the body to the other. Begin with feet. Feel them, and then let the muscles relax. Raise attention to the body: relax the lower leg, hip, pelvis, lower abdomen, lower back, chest and back. Mentally “turn off” the body in parts, deliberately put it into sleep mode. When you go to your hands, carefully walk on each finger. Finish with the neck and head.

It takes about 7 minutes to complete this step, but you are not in a hurry — you want to prolong the falling asleep process. Which is already better than 3-5 minutes.

Keep it consistent

There is no better way to prepare your body for sleep than keeping a stable sleep schedule.

Round The World with Street View Project

Street View Project by Jegornagel.com

Wouldn’t you like traveling the world, exploring the wilderness, meeting new people, surely making nice shoots and posting them online? I think that’s the dream of billions.

After visiting 16 countries and living in more than 4 months in 5 countries, I settled down, found a job, married a nice girl and gave birth to a fantastic little daughter. Anyway, traveling calls and I started searching the Google Earth for inspiration.

Quite soon the folder where I store screenshots of views I liked became full. Some of screenshots were so great that I decided to share them on Instagram. Why not?

Continue reading

You can’t control what’s outside of your mind

In 21st century people can do lost of things. We can fly to the Moon, build super-powerful computers, research ocean streams from orbital stations, look deep into the cells, and cure most of bothersome diseases. We can control really much things and processes around the world and that is great. Though, when it comes to our lives, it’s hard to say that we can control hardly anything.

Reading about stoics, I found this quote by Epictetus:

We control our reasoned choice and all acts that depend on that moral will. What’s not under our control are the body and any of its parts, our possessions, parents, siblings, children, or country—anything with which we might associate.

And I find this particularly sobering. I analyzed my life and think that the only thins I can control is my mind. Even my physical body isn’t completely within the circle of my powers. In the end, I am often struck with illnesses which are mostly out of my control. Going wider, I can’t choose the country I was born in, the language I speak, the mentality I was grown into. Surely, there’s a huge variety of ways to change at least something, but you can’t change everything.

But this is actually a good news. This notably reduces the amount of things we should care about. We can free ourselves from the list of responsibilities a mile long, because we are not responsible for them. We’ve already got one and the hardest thing to manage — our mind.

There is a huge advantage of this way of thinking — acceptance. We all know how easy it is to judge people based on their skin color, education, family, accent, country, traditions, religion, physical attractiveness, and the list can be much longer. The truth is that these things are out of our control, so why bother? I might not like one thing in others and people might not like the other thing in me, but does it really worth it? I think we’d rather care about the only one thing I can control — my mind.

Content and Copywriting — Text Playlist #2

Portrait of Lieven Willemsz van Coppenol, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1658 -- jegornagel.com

Portrait of Lieven Willemsz van Coppenol, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1658

Here’s the best writings on the web I come across about content and copywriting for January 2018. Enjoy!

SEO copywriting: 17 powerful secrets — 17 insanely actionable SEO copywriting tips that you can use right now.

How to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey — this post definies the buyer’s journey as it aligns with the sales funnel and offers ideas up for effective types of content to create for folks in each stage.

82 content marketing tools to make your life easier — incredible list of tools for any particular task such as content discovery and idea generation tools through editing and image management tools.

Free copywriting worksheets by CopyHackers with Airstory — headlines, emails, competitors analysis, CTA, and copy. All worksheets are free.

How to improve my copywriting skills? — a question on inbound.org which became an infinite source of help for copywriters. Must bookmark and save a copy just in case.

AIDA: a proven copywriting formula for generating leads and revenue — a good start if you’re new to copywriting. The AIDA copywriting formula is an “old standard” that routinely produces rock-solid results.

An enormous guide to copywriting — need to persuade a website visitor? Here are 31 techniques backed by academic research in psychology and linguistics.

How customer-driven copy helped HubSpot increase conversions by nearly 100% —  the exact process used to fine-tune the messaging and nearly double the site’s conversion rate.

What is Text Playlists? That’s sort of being a radio station for text, which might entertain or teach.

Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgement

Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgement, not your environment. If you seek to avoid all disruptions to tranquility — other people, external events, stress — you will never be successful. Your problems will follow you whenever you run and hide. But if you seek to avoid the harmful and disruptive judgements that cause those problems, then you will be stable and steady wherever you happen to be.

— The daily stoic by Ryan Holiday

Why it’s important to store all your ideas

Hundreds of ideas cross my mind every day. Everybody is the same: always running and never stopping brain generates many concepts on a variety of things. I think about solutions to my tasks, ponder on ideas for new ads campaigns, and reflect upon the details of new projects. Though, the majority of those things stay unsaved, which means they are lost forever.

To prevent this inevitable loss, I created a special list in Trello app, where I put absolutely all ideas. This list includes absolutely everything without filtering or labeling ideas as “wrong”.

My philosophy is that interest is the best form to express respect. When I put my ideas on the list this means I listen to them.

Simple rules of storing ideas

So the rules are simple:

  • Write down all the ideas;
  • Do not throw away any idea;
  • Write add-ons to ideas if they come to mind;
  • Check the list of ideas during every half year reviews.

I can add details to cards of some ideas and develop them if I have additional thoughts. Thus, if I am ready to work on the idea or use it in any project, I will have some details, as I had already thought about it. Perhaps someone else will need an idea that I have already worked out, so I would be able to share.

Reasons to respect your ideas

I found it useful to store ideas, but here are some reasons to do so:

  • Ideas are nice to re-read in the future;
  • I will never forget about an idea that I may want to return to;
  • I get food for thoughts about what attracts me;
  • The process of describing the idea is the first step of implementing it to real life.

So, whenever you have an idea, put it on a list. Respect for personal ideas is proper self-respect.

How I trained myself to get up early

I want to learn and write. I can do this only in the morning or at night. At night, I have to be with family and try to figure out how to be the best dad ever. In the morning I have difficulties to get up. I’ll tell you how I learned to get up early.

Eros sleeping, Rogers Fund, Jegornagel.com

Eros sleeping, Rogers Fund, 1943

First minute after waking up

  1. Turn off the alarm
  2. Woke up, opened eyes, immediately got out of bed
  3. Went to the bathroom to take a shower

Explaining about the last two.

Understanding that the sincere desires of our body are not always the sincere desires of our body has turned my worldview. It dawned upon me that even the deepest habits, which are at the level of instincts and the experience of generations are not that important and can be changed. Sleeping habit falls here.

Sleep and brain

The problem is that brain can’t get out of sleep in a second. It’s not a laptop. It needs some time. That’s why some minutes after waking up should be filled with habitual routine: get up, go to take a shower, listen to the music.

Getting out of bed one millisecond after waking up helps not to fall back on the pillow. I used to have multiple alarms set for 5:10, 5:13. 5:20… and so on. That won’t help. I learned that I just have to get out of my warmy-sweetie bed as soon as possible and do a routine: take a shower.

Sleep and shower

Why shower? Because:

  1. It’s automatic. I don’t have to think about how to take it. My brain has 20 more minutes to relax and understand that it’s already morning, and we have to work.
  2. It’s ideas generating. Ever heard of Shower Thoughts? Science has proof. Reddit even has the separate topic on ideas from showers from all over the world.
  3. It’s all about chemistry. A lot of dopamine is released in our brains during warm showers. We’re more likely to turn attention inwards, able to make insightful connections.
  4. It’s great. I love watering myself, because it gives me a fresh feeling and energy boost just from the morning.

After that I usually make tea and cereal for breakfast, meditate for 15 minutes and get back to work: learning, writing, reading or what’s on the plan for today.

Text playlist #1 – Worthy articles

Gift of Mrs. Ernest Haskell, 1954 Jegornagel.com

Gift of Mrs. Ernest Haskell, 1954

Articles to read on the first part of January, 2018. The idea behind this project Text playlist: text to reread as music to listen.

How to be More Productive and Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the “Eisenhower Box” By James Clear

How To Be Somewhat Funny by Jon M. Buchan

Why Your Brain Hates Other People by Robert Sapolsky

When you feel like quitting, know this by Michael Meaney

11 stubborn sales stereotypes we really need to get over by Jane Fleming

Cryptocurrency for Beginners/Intermediate

 

Ways to clean Inbox and uncluttered life

clean inbox philosophy jegornagel.com

I have a principle: Clean Inbox.

Inbox is a list of tasks, unread letters, grocery list, list of problems, unclosed tabs in a browser, opened apps in-tray, etc.

They distract you, eat your creative energy, waste human potential and inhibit the rotation of the Earth.

The Inbox must be cleaned. We have two ways:

1. Remove all at once

Select all letters and remove, close all tabs in a browser, delete all unfinished lists. Frightened? I am. Though, if there was something important in one letter, people will find another way to contact me, or they’ll send it once more. If not, it wasn’t important.

2. Work through little by little

Open the first tab and work though it. Finished? Then close it and open the next. Open the first letter, write your answer, then open the next. Quietly, step by step, little by little. Soon you’ll discover that cleaned your inbox. You’re great!

I recommend the second way.