How do people get to bed on time?
It can be so tough at the end of the day when we feel that we have been so incredibly busy and yet when we look back, we feel that we have not gotten anything that we intended to do completed. It is hard to feel motivated for the next day, when we wake up and are already faced with things from the day prior that we did not get finished. One of the best ways that I have found to begin the process of getting into a healthier and more stable routine is to really start each day with prioritizing the tasks that you need to complete. Working to look at all of the things that you have to complete when there are so many can be tough, but once we are able to create a good comprehensive list, and then identify the level of importance each one has can really put us in a better place to be able to focus on what is most important and feel that we are accomplishing things throughout the day. At the end of each day we can look back at the list that we created and even if we did not complete everything, knowing some days there is just too much to get it all done, when we have prioritized the tasks, we can see that we got the most important things completed and can feel good about what we have accomplished.
We also have to put perspective on the free time that we are giving ourselves throughout the day. When we try and work, work, work all throughout the day, and don't allow ourselves times to relax and refocus, we can get burned out very easily and feel overwhelmed once again. Ideally during the day, we have a set type of schedule, with reasonable flexibility, where we can spend about an hour and a half focusing on work/tasks, then build in a 10-15 minute break in between periods of working. Working within this framework or work, break, work, lunch, work, break, work, end of the day can really put us in a place where we have good periods to get things accomplished, while not feeling like we have had no time to ourselves to relax and enjoy the day. Sometimes when we feel that we are not getting enough done, we tend to push ourselves to work through lunch or not take any breaks, and that is counterproductive as we can get burnout much faster when we engage in that manner.
When we have been able to prioritize our tasks, create a good schedule that allows for free time, and work throughout the day to get to a point where we are tired in a positive way at the end of the day, then we tend to naturally get into a better routine of getting to sleep at an appropriate and healthy hour so that we can be refreshed for the next day. These changes don't always come overnight, and they take continued effort and focus as we are working. On average it takes 22 days, or about 3 weeks to take a new set of schedule/activity and make it a habit that organically occurs in our lives and requires less and less conscious effort as we move forward. The goal is to make gradual changes in how we are spending each day, so that they can build upon each other and allow us to make lifestyle changes for the better.