All Work and No Sleep Makes for a Very Ineffective Manager…

Nostalgic-Boss-worker-sleepingI often hear others express how sleepy or tired they feel. I am well aware of this feeling with four children, 10 years old and under, and a busy full-time job as a manager. People often ask me how I still have so much energy given my busy life. My response is usually, “I am naturally hyper.” The more I think about it, though, I really have a hard time being fully engaged with my day with less than 8 hours of sleep.  On the other days, when I simply “get by” with six or seven hours, I am living on the fumes of what is left over and not feeling or exuding true energy. This reality started making me think, “How do other managers cope with less than the right amount of sleep every night and still be effective at leading teams?” Put differently, can any manager truly make a positive impact on their organization if they are burning the midnight oil every night? After reading many articles and publications, I think the answer is no.

A manager’s lack of sleep can affect his/her ability to impact the organization in a positive way. The benefits of making sleep a priority for the life of an aspiring manager are essential to reaching organizational and individual goals.

Why Sleep More?

A few months ago, I needed to work until 11P.M. every night for a few nights in row to get through the work I did not finish during the day and then get up at 5 A.M. to get lunches ready for my family. I felt really draggy. What did I do? I proceeded to make myself a strong cup of coffee to “wake myself up.” As you can imagine, I felt great for the first few hours of work and then slowly began to crash and lost any hope of having a productive day. Later that afternoon, I was in a meeting and completely lost my focus about half way through it and could not regain my momentum. I knew that the caffeine I had that morning was like fuel to my waning fire. I made a decision from that point that I would not allow myself to get less than 7 hours of sleep on any given work week night.

So How Do You Get More Sleep?

  • In keeping with our company’s focus, I always write down a list of unresolved issues or tasks in my Manager’s Red Book right before I go to bed. This way, I will not have to toss and turn all night thinking about these issues and I can set off to resolve them once I return to work in the morning.
  •  Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. It may feel strange to do so, but you will feel better for it. I know I do.
  • Do something that is relaxing to wind down before bedtime. For example, drink herbal decaffeinated tea, take a bubble bath, meditate or read a book. Whatever puts your mind and body at ease.

Sometimes burning the midnight oil to meet work deadlines can actually work against you and make you a less effective manager and team member. Put your mind to getting more shut eye and you may actually exceed your boss’ expectations. If your life is anything like mine, just put your head down on the pillow and I am sure sleep will naturally happen. Sweet dreams!

By, Heather R. Younger, J.D., Director of Sales and Client Relationships at Red Book Solutions | 15 years experience in sales, customer relationship management and retention in healthcare, financial services and consulting.

Self-proclaimed customer “nut” and highly energized team leader.



4 responses to “All Work and No Sleep Makes for a Very Ineffective Manager…

  1. Not only do you feel crummy without enough sleep, research is ever increasingly linking sleep deprivation to many diseases including inflammatory illnesses that speed up the aging and deterioration process in our bodies. I get up at 4:30 AM during the week and I am showered and in bed with a book at 8 PM. I have trained myself to not think I’m missing out on something (like late night TV?) by going to bed early. The payoff of feeling energetic and optimistic makes it all worthwhile.

  2. That’s a great practice! I need to start doing this. There have been too many times where I feel like I’m losing out or falling behind when I don’t stay up late to finish things. Due to this I lose sleep and become less productive.

  3. Debbie Abiara

    Thank you for this wonderful post. It is surely inspiring.

  4. a manager has to schedule h/her time table for both office operation and family responsibilties without forgettin enough time for brain relation

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