Friday, May 6, 2011

Go to bed earlier, get up earlier

Originally posted on La Vie En Fifi, 15 March 2010

I read this advice on The English Organizer, about how to gain time. All the tips are fab, but the one that resonated with me most was about going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. For the past few months, I have been getting up an hour earlier, all so I can drink hot tea with milk and read – usually blogs, less often a book or magazine. I can have a lovely time catching up on all my favourite blogs and do my own writing. It’s now routine for me to get up earlier and I absolutely love this time.

In the height of summer when I started doing this it was lovely and light already, but now we creep towards Autumn it’s a little dark at first (I get up around 6-6.30am, not that early compared to a lot of folk. Our shop doesn’t open until 9.30am so we often leave for work around 9am) but I still enjoy this early time, even if the blinds are still down and the lights are on for the first part.

It’s guilt free time too. I know it’s not good to surf the net when at work – there are important things to do there, and being self employed I’m not doing myself any favours. And in the evenings I feel like a terrible wife glued to the laptop screen while my husband is sitting by himself on the sofa. So I get my fix first thing. And I’ve restarted my ‘book’, you know, the book we’re all writing. I feel like a bit of a fraud writing, I don’t know why. But I love reading so much and I have told myself – even if no one else reads it. Write a book you would like to read.

One I just finished and which I enjoyed immensely is A Spring Affair by Millly Johnson. I do love chick lit to relax and escape – there is so much uninspiring formulaic stuff out there though that it’s exciting to find a new author. Some I love are Sophie Kinsella (all of them), Emily Giffin (all of them) and Emily Barr (have only read Plan B but loved it – and it had a French angle).

I picked up A Spring Affair from the library new releases shelf and upon reading the back cover found it was, ta da, a new genre ‘decluttering chick lit’. Imagine! I had to borrow it of course and found it was such a lovely, funny, enjoyable book which actually had me in tears over my breakfast at the end. I love those books! And it had decluttering advice all the way through. A book tailor made for me I think. And maybe you too if you're a chick lit fan and as obsessed with decluttering as I am.

I went to the author’s website after I had finished and apart from a section on decluttering (yay), found tips for budding authors. If nothing else, she said, write 250 words per day, no matter what, and at the end of the year you will have a 91,000 word book. And don’t edit, just keep writing. Edit right at the end otherwise you will lose momentum. So that’s what I’m doing in the morning now. Before I start anything else, I write at least 250 words and then I am free to bring up Google Reader to read all those inspiring blog posts.

So I can heartily endorse The English Organizer’s advice on going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. After all she says, what do you do in the last hour of the evening anyway, lie there on the sofa thinking I’m too tired to get up and wash my face, watching tv that isn’t even any good, nothing actually productive. Sometimes I do that exact thing and go to bed at 11pm. That’s only 7 hours sleep – not nearly enough! I like to start getting ready for bed around 9 and be in bed reading by 9.30-10. I aim for 9 hours sleep like apparently French women get, but 8 is a good minimum.

Update: I still go to bed earlier (mostly) and get up earlier (more often) a year after reading this advice. I really, really love my early morning time with a cup of hot tea. And recently I borrowed the audio book of A Spring Affair from the library and listened to it in the car (12 cds!) over the course of a month. It was so enjoyable.

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  1. Hello Fiona:
    What very sound advice. We usually get up at some time around 6.30am, winter and summer, and are always, like you, pleased to have that extra time to the day before everything gets going.

    We are avid readers and so it is always good to have the recommendation of a new, to us, author. At present we are enjoying Helen Dunmore [perhaps you know of her?].

    Having discovered your varied and interesting blog by chance, we have Followed!

  2. Fiona! I read this post before on your old site (can't get enough of you : ) ). And I purchased this book--tracked it down through an Amazon seller...think it came from the UK. Anyhoo, I was really excited about reading it,took it with me on my trip to TN and...I could not get into it. I wanted to--especially because of the de-cluttering theme involved. I do know that I wanted to smack the husband straight away--so maybe that fouled my mood?? I will try it again. xxBliss

  3. Fiona, I have this on my list to recommend on my blog! It's so inspiring and I love her books. :)

  4. I first started doing the go to bed early and get up 1 hour earlier when studying for exams; the mornings seem to be my best time for "retention" (and I don't mean water!)
    Now, I do it all the time. It's my time to catch up on transatlantic e.mails that snuck into my Inbox during the night, catching up on blogs or non-fiction reading.In the summer it's also my time to do my yoga or Pilates, because you can be sure I will make excuses throughout the day ;-)
    Congrats on the book writing. It's said that everyone has a book inside them. Lets hopefully see yours very soon.

  5. Congratulations on starting your book! Enjoy the process! I'm not a writer, but as an editor of many first novels, I must second the advice to not edit as you go along. Find out your story, then worry about structure and prose mechanics after.

  6. I've tried to sleep earlier and wake up earlier, but it doesn't work out well for me. I have a feeling that if I can get on a really good system, an orderly routine, my life would be much easier.

  7. This is excellent advice. I have always been quite partial to my 'morning time' I don't have to be to the office until 7:30 but I get up at 4. I like not having to rush, I could not imagine going from my bed to the shower to my car all in an hour's time. I like to read blogs in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, and have plenty of time to get used to being awake and prepare for my day. I go to bed around 9 and fall right to sleep. On the weekends I still go to sleep at 9 but I sleep in until 6:30 or 7 which I find gives me more energy but is less practical for a work day.

  8. I spent my corporate career going to bed early and getting up early. My husband would get up at 4:30 in the morning and be in bed by 8:30 PM. Since we now both work from home, we think it's very decadent to go to bed at 11 PM and rise at 7 AM. I think the important part is to carve out time for yourself first thing in the morning - which is what I do - and start getting ready for bed 2 hours before you plan to be in it.

  9. Hi Fiona,

    Thanks for this post - a great reminder for me, the faux-night owl. My beau said I should give myself a break from stress and worry and actually just get to bed earlier. You have inspired me!

    On a completely unrelated topic, do you do your own makeup yourself? Your eyes are so pretty in your profile photo! If you would share, would you do a post on your beauty routine?

  10. Fiona, I read "A Spring Affair" last year and loved it! Yes, a new genre - organizing chick lit!

  11. I retire for the evening between 9:30 and 10:00 unless I have a business dinner or an important gala to attend. I rise between 6 and 6:45a.m.

    Congratulations on your book - hope to see it out in the bookstores in the future. xx


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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