I love my work. I love my work so much that in the past I’ve stayed up all night to get certain tasks done, going without sleep for nearly 2 full days.
But this type of decision is ultimately stupid, because the truth is that after a certain point, whether I’m pulling an all nighter or consistently only getting 4-7 hours of sleep per night, my energy and performance shrinks to a pathetic level.
So how am I avoiding poor habits like this and becoming 2-3 time more productive than I have been in the past?
I’m using a simple desktop application that my team and I created called “Lights Out.” It forces me to get off my computer at night by automatically shutting down at a specific time. I get 10 minute and 5 minute warnings in advance of the shut down.
If I try to get back on the computer before the morning, it will give me a 10 minute warning and then shut down. If there’s an emergency (which the never really is), I have one opportunity per month to bypass the shutdown and turn off the app.
The end result? I am more focused and get more done each day knowing that there’s a strict, automated limit to the amount of time I can spend on the computer. In addition, my eyes are less strained, I’m able to fall asleep faster, and I’m sleeping at least 1-2 extra hours each night (and I expect that the increase as I use the app more).
Having a “hard shutoff” time makes me focus on getting specific, straightforward, concrete tasks done before the day it finished. This makes me at least twice as productive as I was before.
We’re going to slowly begin opening up the application for a select group of 20-30 people to try in the next couple of months. To request an invite, fill out the form here:
Feel free to let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas too!