Daily schedules can be an exhausting grind. We wake up, hit the morning home routine and life doesn’t stop all day…kids to school…rush hour traffic…(some of you are worn out already)…hectic, mentally draining work-day…kid pickup from school…rush hour II…quick dinner…county rec-league sports practice…evening projects…10 minutes (maybe) talking to your spouse…your favorite late night show…repeat again tomorrow.
But wait, I missed a step in the daily schedule…a step that is crucial to us being able to “repeat again tomorrow.” Our bodies can’t do without it and, if truth be told, it is something we all look forward to everyday.
Ahhh, yes, sleep. There is an absolute joy in laying your head down gently on the pillow and slowly drifting away to dreamland. Just the mere thought of that moment is pleasurable…relaxing…peaceful…calming. Hey! Wake up…I’m writing here! Sorry…thought I caught you drifting off.
The amount of sleep a person needs varies depending on age and lifestyle, but most studies indicate the average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep each night. God designed our bodies and minds to recharge during these hours. And while it is necessary for us, and very enjoyable, we can’t fall in love with it. The consequences of that could be dangerous.
Proverbs 20:13 says, “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.” The writer here is describing a lifestyle choice. He is drawing a distinction between the lazy and the hardworking. The lazy person relishes in sleep, choosing not to rise and work. Because he does not work, he earns no wages and therefore comes to poverty. In contrast, the person who lives with their eyes open (takes no more sleep than necessary) will be satisfied with their basic needs. They are rewarded for their industrious lifestyle.
For me, however, the concept of this verse goes deeper than this basic contrast. I believe it’s about chasing your dreams. It’s about winning at life.
Do you have a dream? Is there something of great importance you want to accomplish? Are you being driven to some specific goal? Then, you will have to make time for it. (This is by far the biggest goal-blocking excuse we use – “I don’t have the time” or “I can’t find the time.”) One way to “make more time” is to adjust your sleep patterns. Or just sleep less. Be awake more. That is where I had to start.
I had the “I don’t have the time” excuse running through my head when I started running. When could I possibly fit 30-90 minutes of running into my daily schedule? I realized the only time I could realistically accomplish training was in the morning before I went to work. There were simply too many family related responsibilities after school and into the evening to allow me to run then. So, I adjusted my sleep patterns from a 6 am to 11 pm daily schedule to a 4 am to 9 pm daily schedule for the four days of the week I would need to train. Notice it’s the same amount of sleep time, just a different segment of the day.
I encountered the same weak-minded excuse when I decided to start writing this blog. “I don’t have the time!” Having been successful with the running schedule, I knew I only needed another time adjustment. So, on two more days of the week I’m on the 4 am to 9 pm schedule. This way I can spend at least 3 solid hours writing and working on my blog before I go to work. Those three hours from 4-7 am are extremely productive, mostly because I’m the only one up. Less distractions amounts to greater efficiency.
Interesting thing is that, over time, my body has automatically adjusted to this new schedule. I was never a morning person. Hated them. Now, my body often wakes up on its own at 4:00 am without an alarm. And my mind is also ready to go, knowing I have goals to accomplish. 4:00 am has become my new 6:00 am.
My next dream-chasing, sleep-related goal is to gain one more hour during the day by pushing my bedtime back to 10 pm instead of 9, while keeping my wakeup time at 4. That may not sound like much, but do the calculations. It amounts to…you guessed it…365 extra hours per year.
I think I can do a lot with 365 extra hours per year. I know it will be 365 more hours my eyes will be open, able to survey the landscape, connect with people, look for opportunities and pursue my dreams.
What lifestyle adjustments have you made in the pursuit of your dreams?