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Don’t Let Insomnia Ruin Your Project

A man is lying in bed looking at his alarm clock because he has insomnia.I am pretty sure that every project manager is familiar with the following situation. You get home from a tough day at work and can’t get a particular problem out of your head. At night time you lie in bed tossing and turning but can’t get a wink of sleep.

I used to suffer from bouts of insomnia a few years ago and I know that my job had a lot to do with it. However, by looking at the situation logically I was able to get a better night’s sleep and improve my projects in the process.

Resolve Everything You Can Before the End of the Day

One of the worst things you can do is go home at the end of the day without having resolved some of the important issues. Of course, you won’t always be able to sort out everything by the time you pack up to go home but you should try to avoid leaving things open ended unnecessarily. For example, if you have a couple of simple tasks then you might as well take a few minutes to clear them up at the end of the day. Even if you can’t do everything needed to get the tasks 100% completed you can at least get a clearer idea on what you need to do sort them out. I can still remember the day I got an email just as I was about to leave the office. It was headed up something like “big problems” or “we’re in trouble” or something. I had been through a pretty tough day and I simply wasn’t ready to handle any more bad news so I closed the email without even reading it. Of course, the issue started to prey on my mind and I had no way of checking my work email when I was at home. I spent hours lying in bed with my eyes wide open trying to imagine what terrible problem would be waiting for me in the morning. In the end it turned out to be nothing serious and I made a promise to never again go home with such a big doubt in my mind.

Plan for the Following Day

Another good tip is to make sure that you go home with your following day’s work already quite well sketched out.  This can help as well because it means that you aren’t left worrying about what you are going to do the next morning. This is a great help because otherwise you could be lying in bed trying to work out what it is you need to do first in the morning. I have taken this idea into other parts of my life now and often write lists and notes for myself so that I don’t need to remember so many things. It works for me and I would certainly suggest that you give it a try. Organizing yourself will mean that your brain doesn’t need to try and remember all the information so you might as well go all the way and buy yourself a diary which you can use to fill in your plans for the following day before you go home each evening.

Don’t Get Too Stressed

My nights of insomnia were usually related to having unresolved issues on my mind. However, I can imagine that there are lots of project managers who can’t get to sleep at night because of the stress of the job. Because this isn’t something which really affected me I can’t speak from my personal experience but I think that identifying the problem is the first step. If you can come to terms with the fact that you are suffering from work related stress then it will be far easier for you to do something about it. The solution which best suits you really depends upon what is causing you the stress in the first place. Are you working long days but still unable to get up to date with your workload? Or are you worried because your milestones are slipping or because your stakeholders are giving you a hard time? The only way to resolve the problem is by first of all getting to the root of it. If you can do this then it is up to you to find out a better way of working and living which will let you sleep more easily at night. It will help your career and your overall health as well.

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