How timely was it that the article by Jane Porter, How To Turn Your Insomnia Into A Productivity Tool in Fast Company's Business + Innovation section appeared in my Twitter feed? Recently I've been having trouble sleeping. I'm not quite sure why but so far this week it not been unusual to find me roaming my home at some odd hour. I don't sleep much as it is, I wake up automatically after 6 hours regardless of what time I go to bed. I also tend to wake early if it is bright sunny day even with light blocking curtains covering the windows. I just sense that the sun is up and that I should be up as well.
The past week or so, I get into bed and.....nothing. Can't drift off. This is odd for me, I tend to fall asleep soon as I burrow down under the covers. On the rare occasion that automatic sleep eludes me, I play a few rounds of one of the games on my smartphone, sometimes falling the sleep in the middle of a turn. However, these last few days that has not been working. I don’t know the exact cause, but there are some many exciting things happening all at once here at Danico. Between work on new service offerings being considered for launch soon, new website design and meeting so many new people (some of whom I'm happy to say are now clients), I’m finding it hard to sleep. I shut down all devices, do some stretches and crawl into bed. Just as my eyes close - wham! A few ideas flit through my brain, I grab my tablet or notebook, which ever happens to be next to the bed to hurriedly jot down my thoughts. With that out of the way, I try for sleep again. Nope, not coming. A couple of times recently, thoughts were so strong I was compelled to get out of bed, return to my office and work. The session was short, but only then was I able to sleep. Lucky for me my office is just down the hall. Not sure if I would have been compelled to drive to an office or just be awake all night. I don't want to find out. In the article, Michael Perlis, associate professor of psychology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania, posed the the question, "What is insomnia, but the gift of more time?” For the freelancer/small business owners/dreamer, there never seems to be enough time get all the things that need to be done and all the things you want to do. So, maybe Professor Perlis has a point. The moments where I give in and work at some odd hour, which seems for me to be 4:30 am, solutions/designs/code snippets, that have eluded me, flow freely. I race to grab them all fearful that they will vanish. I won't say that they are all brilliant but they definitely move me down the path of the right answer for that client or situation. This temporary insomnia is causing an internal war. The analyst in me wants to launch a study of the frequency, triggers and length of the episodes. The problem solver wants to just get it solved and get to sleep. The designer/developer in me wants to roll with, excited by the thoughts that spring forth, ready to harvest them and share with the world. So, who’s winning? I’ll give you a hint, is not the analyst (*wink*). Seriously though, I’ve learned to treat this temporary insomnia like “thinking out of the box” moments. Sometimes you just have to turn things on their head to find the right solution. Maybe, just maybe, sometimes that means doing the same with your sleep cycle. Hey, isn't there a saying about finding inspiration at the oddest moments? I thought there was or maybe I was just dreaming. Maybe those oddest moments are your sleepless periods. Why not run with them and see what greatness comes of it.
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