“Sleep is over-rated” That’s what she said!
Ok ok…..before you have a go at me over that statement, hear me out. Yes I do know about all the research and media out there on the importance of getting enough sleep. I believe the recommended amount of sleep these days is 7-9 hours….. that’d be lovely thanks! With a four week old newborn and a toddler with croup, sleep is a hazy memory at this point in time! This musing is actually less about the importance of sleep, and more about the importance of prioritising your time for things that really matter. And some of the things that really, really matter are taking time out for rest and restorative practices, meditation, a walk in nature, a mindful cup of tea, yes and sometimes binge watching Netflix!! So when I talk about “getting sh*t done”, please know that I mean that healthfully and holistically!
The story goes like this….
One day I had a meeting with Anne Fenton, the President of the Peel Thunderbirds women’s AFL club down in Mandurah. I was meeting with her in my Enhance Physiotherapy practice manager capacity to see if we could partner up and support the girls through the season. When Anne arrived I was instantly impressed. She was just one of those polished, put together, sophisticated ladies, and she was really friendly and lovely. I asked her how she came to be President of the club and she told me that her husband was head coach, her daughters played and she put her hand up! So I asked her how many children she had – FIVE!!!! Then over the course of conversation about building good relationships with clients it came out that she also has a successful family accounting business with super loyal clients. I have two children (my second was only a twinkle in my eye at the time I met Anne) so I love to pick the brains of ladies with lots of kids re: their top tips for succeeding at life with a family. So of course I had to ask Anne and she said:
“Sleep is over-rated”
She said it tongue in cheek and we had a chuckle…..because with 5 kids, I imagine sleep would have been in short supply for many, many years for Anne, but did that stop her from getting on with it and kicking ass at life? Hell no!!
This statement and this conversation changed my life and my perspective about how I prioritise the time in my life (Im not kidding, it really did). Because what I took away from this chat was not that sleep is literally over-rated (because lets face it, life can be a lot tougher when you are on the pointy end of chronic sleep deprivation – hello new mums, I feel your pain!). But what I know she meant deep down was that how you spend your time is a choice and you need to actively and consciously prioritise what is important in order to get that sh*t done.
Because here’s the thing ladies. Time (and death) are the only true equalisers.
Meaning that no matter who you are (you, me, JK Rowling or Jacinda Ardern – oh how I heart thee Jacinda!), we all have the same amount of time in the day. So if your life’s goal is to ensure you have seen all the best Netflix series in existence, then spending all your time doing that is amazing!! Good for you!! However, don’t then spend your time complaining about how you are are ‘too busy’ and ‘don’t have enough time’ to achieve the things you say you want to achieve in your life. Similarly, if you find you are burnt out, depleted and just ‘don’t have the time’ to relax or do anything restorative for yourself…again you need to re-examine your priorities. If you really want to do something amazing and get sh*t done, you (AND ONLY YOU) must create, in fact literally carve out, the time to do it. It might mean chip chip chipping away at a project over many weeks. Or starting a new exercise or mindfulness routine that you actually stick to. It might mean getting up at 5.30am to meditate and exercise before your kids get up and studying in the evening after they go to bed. It might mean scheduling a yoga class or going on a bush walk and prioritising this over…. cleaning and other trivial domestic tasks. Yup I said it. There is always more to be done around the house, but sometimes IT CAN WAIT!
So there you have it. Thank you Anne you changed my life by changing my perspective on time and what can be achieved in life. I take my hat off to you because damn – FIVE KIDS!!!
PS – Do you ever feel frustrated about not getting the really important stuff done because you don’t have enough time? Maybe it’s time to examine what you are spending your time doing. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comment below.
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