At the same time I was undergoing a drawn-out divorce (after a long-term abusive marriage), managing an apartment building, babysitting and writing three times a week for MSN Money. Tired? Always.
Without naps I probably wouldn’t have made it through, let alone graduated magna cum laude. Kept snoozing even after graduation because I was traveling regularly and taking on freelance gigs in addition to the MSN job.
Turns out I was in good company. According to an article by productivity author and coach Michael Hyatt, the list of famous nappers includes Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller and Thomas Edison.
Naps feel luxurious, even when you’re taking them because you know you’ll be pulling an all-nighter. Especially when you know you’ll be pulling an all-nighter.
If you’re a freelancer you could probably use a nap, too. Even a 20-minute doze helps make you more alert and recharges your batteries after (or in the middle of) a difficult day.
This is especially true for those who combine writing with day jobs. Say you come home from your part- or full-time job with the goal of producing one blog post or several pages on your latest magnum opus. A brief rest, even if you don’t fall deeply asleep, can be a great transition.
A few napping rules
Keep it (relatively) short and sweet, or you may have trouble going to sleep at your regular bedtime. Set an alarm to wake you in no more than an hour. (I used to wake up on my own within 40 minutes.)
Get up when the alarm goes off, even if you feel logy. Moving around a bit will help the nap sink in and do you some good. Have a glass of water or fix yourself something to eat.
If you can’t nap when you get home due to family responsibilities, see if you can schedule a snooze at work. If there’s an employee lounge or a door on your workspace, tuck yourself in (metaphorically) and set that alarm. Hey, a guy I know sometimes slips out to the parking lot and naps in his car.
“Just thirty minutes can prevent the day’s wear and tear from frying your circuits,” Hyatt notes.
In addition, he says, napping encourages creativity (“relaxing your mind and allowing new associations to form in it”) and makes you more productive. The more energy you have, the more productive you can be.
Next time you feel too burnt-out to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard, try walking away from it all – straight to your bed or the couch. Or your car, if that’s all that’s available.
Self-care is an important skill for freelancers. Being your own boss means noticing that the employee is on the ragged edge, and doing something about it. Sleep tight.