Notes from the Bedside

I love the complexity of what I do at work, but I don’t particularly enjoy it when it keeps me awake at night.  Sometimes I find myself laying in bed for an hour or two at a time, in the middle of the night, simply because my brain just won’t turn off.  I’ll find my thoughts looping through different scenarios and challenges I’m facing.  During this time of absolutely zero distraction, however, I find that I can often achieve a state of mental clarity that allows me to see solutions that I simply wouldn’t come up with during the daylight hours.

When that happens I think, “I have to remember that in the morning,” but the truth is that it rarely happens.  Until now.  Not that I can still remember it in the morning, but I’ve taken to writing them down at night.  On the night stand next to my bed, I have a notepad, a pen, and a small pen-light so that I can write down the thoughts that keep racing from one side to the other.

The two-sided benefit is that I don’t have to remember anymore, but it also helps me get back to sleep.  My theory is that because I want to remember these things, my sub-conscious keeps bringing them up, so I have trouble actually getting it out of my head.  Once it’s written down, my sub-conscious decides it can take a rest, which allows the rest of me to get back to sleep as well.  Psychology isn’t my strong point however, so feel free to call me out.

Often the light of day reveals that my midnight brilliance is more closely associated with madness, but more frequently, it proves to be just the solution that I needed.  If you have a similar problem, I’d recommend a notepad and pen at your bedside.  You might just sleep better at night.

P.S.  For those who prefer electronic notes to paper ones, I’ve got a geek crush on Evernote.

Written on August 28, 2009