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Why Sleep Matters So Much and 15 Things We’re Improving This Week

Jul 24, 2014 6 min readSelf-Improvement
Photo of Courtney Seiter
Courtney Seiter

Former Director of People @ Buffer

We’ve talked in the past about how often exercise and reading pop up on our self-improvement lists at Buffer. Another element you’ll almost always spot on our goals list is sleep—getting more sleep, getting to sleep earlier or getting into a better sleep routine are a few popular variations on the theme.

Curious why sleep matters so much to us? It goes back to one of Buffer’s core values, one of which is “Live smarter, not harder.”

Buffer culture live smarter not harder

I take a lot of inspiration from that top point about “waking up fresh over working that extra hour.” In a remote, distributed team, it can be a challenge to switch off and give yourself time to enjoy downtime, hobbies or even an early bedtime.

But getting a good night’s sleep is worth working on—it can make us more focused, more creative and a lot happier!

If you feel challenged by sleep like some of us at Buffer do from time to time, here are a few resources that might help:

Here’s what each Buffer team member is working on this week!

We love hearing your improvement goals, too—tell us about them in the comments so we can cheer you on and learn from your goals!

(Psst: We love chatting about each other’s improvements, too. See all of our comments here.)

Niel – I’ve been doing quite well with my fitness lately. I’m aiming again for 2x8km and 1x10km this week for my running. On in between rest days, I’m aiming to go to the gym to do some non-cardio exercise + lots of stretching. The aim is to go the gym 3 times a week as well. This is a big step up from my current running routine, so my main aim is to try and sustain this routine, which means going to bed earlier and also eating better. Super keen to see how my body handles this routine!

Rodolphe – Continuing my meditation routine, 4/5 times a week does work well! This week has some travelling, so trying to get some reading done as well (Joel’s recommandation and Gary V.’s book), with an emphasis on quality family time during the end of the week. Meanwhile, trying to get a more regular sleep routine :)

Dave – Totally inspired by the flood of books coming through Buffer perks! It’s going to be a Kindle week :) I’m experimenting with my day to stretch my working afternoon out, so I have a little more overlap with the West Coast. I’m introducing a second break into my day which I’m going to use for reading and mediating. Really excited about this experiment!

Mary – Spending most of this week in SF. :) My goals this week are to read each night before bed, hit my goals for drinking water (I’ve been slipping on this), exercise for an hour each day and send two letters to the very kind family I stayed with on Maui. I’ve found a place to stay for the next month I’m in SF so I’ve been able to imagine living here a bit more now too!

Adam – This week things are going to be a little light. I am heading out on a vacation/holiday – which is a huge improvement. My Kindle is packed as are my running shoes. Hoping to snag some time in the morning/evening with each. :)

Tom – Definitely looking forward to getting into the books that Joel had recommended. It’ll be a reading week for me! Also aiming to hit the gym 3 times. Also aiming to release a new Android update that has updated metrics and landscape support (super useful for tablet users!). Also hoping to get some good sleep in, 8 hours per night. I was pretty tired last week and want to address that!

Courtney – This week my new productivity method is to check email only twice per day. I have to admit it got me a good bit out of my comfort zone on Day 1! Looking forward to seeing how I feel by the end of the week and if I find myself more focused. I also want to continue the good morning rhythm I’ve gotten into of starting my day with a brisk walk. I can tell it makes a big difference!

Nicole – Continuing to de-clutter my life a bit to make way for the truly important things – it’s been an incredible journey so far! After a tough landing in the dirt last week, I’m resolving to get “back in the saddle” (literally) and ride my horse several times this week rather than my once-a-week average. Training him and re-gaining long-lost riding skills are areas I’d really like to improve upon.

Kevan – I’ve got the great opportunity to visit with some close friends early on this week, and I often find myself a bit too head-over-heels to make these times meaningful. So I’m hoping to improve by slowing down, embracing quiet moments together, and allowing myself to let any meaningful moments happen naturally. Could be some good takeaways for my other friendships/interactions, too! Apart from this, I’m looking forward to getting back into a good exercise/reading routine when I’m back home later on this week.

Carolyn – Continuing with my 30 day July challenge of intermittent fasting Monday through Friday. (So far, cheated 1 day. Plan to have that number be the same at the end of the month!) I’m also noticing that sometimes I overeat at lunch because I am so hungry, so this week I’m trying to eat more slowly and be more mindful during my mid-day meal. Lastly, this is my fourth (4th!!) week of setting a goal to hit a weekly average of 11K steps / day, I’ve missed all of the last three. Staying accountable to Daniel to have the average of 11K by the end of Friday because weekends are the easiest. :)

Åsa – After almost 3 weeks off running I’m slowly adding this back to my morning routine. Aiming for 4 runs this week, 3-4 km. My knees feels like they are back on track :) Also focusing on improving my productivity using lists that I write the night before (thanks Courtney for the discussion last week!).

Michael – This week I want to continue with my new end of day routine, switching off a little earlier to cook dinner and spend some time with my family, and then to come back for an hour or so to finish up with the more routine tasks before signing off. I’ve been tweaking my days a bit over the last few weeks and this seems to feel most comfortable. I also want to make some time solely for reflecting on the people I feel grateful for and ways I could show my gratitude. This is something I’ve started doing once a week and it feels great!

Brian – I’m going to try something on the more challenging side for the next month – I want to read one book per week. I’ll start with Joel’s last two recommendations, then dive into a couple design/product books I’ve been holding onto for a while. If I can manage to hit 4 books in the next month, I’d be soooo happy :)

Jamie – This week I’m focusing on two things. In addition to getting in a 20 minute walk during the day, I am also starting a short exercise routine first thing in the morning. When I take my dog, Pax, outside, I am going to do 50 jumping-jacks and 50 high-steps, along with some stretching. The other thing that I am making a priority is directly after working hours — still need to decide when that cutoff should be :) — I plan on reading for 20 minutes and meditating/praying for 10 minutes, with 5 minutes of clearing my mind and another 5 minutes of dwelling on the people that I am thankful to have in my life!

Mike – This week I’m starting recording in the studio, so it will be harder to try to keep up with 4 days of workout and 3 days of swimming, so I’ll relax on the swimming part. Also, I’m following my diet and I’m really digging the results, so it’ll be another thing I’ll be focused on keeping this week. Since I will cut a little of physical training, I’m happy to be able to use the moments in the studio as a way to practice mindfulness, where the only thing that matters is the metronome and to keep my pickstrokes as balanced as possible, and my hands synchronized! :)

Want to share your own improvement goals? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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