How To Get 8 Hours More Out Of Your Week – and still get your 8 hours of sleep!

productivityOver the years, I’ve always been looking for ways to be able to get more done in a day.  I’m sure most people can relate.  You always hear: everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.  Therefore we are limited to those 24 hours each day (and about a third of that time is needed for sleep)… or are we?

Here’s my dilemma: I’m not (by choice) an early bird.  That’s not to say that I don’t like to get up early – because I do – I just don’t like to go to sleep!  But, eventually, I have to give in and that makes getting up more difficult if I’ve only slept for a few hours versus the more ideal 7 or 8 hours

But I think I found the solution!

Why not look at our time based on a 7 day or 168 hour week?

Forget the 24 hour cycle, lets look at the 168 hour cycle.  Then we’re no longer bound by that 24 hour rule.  You see, I think I have discovered how you can get more out of a day without sacrificing sleep!

How you ask?

Well, just the other day I found myself NOT sleeping through the night, just worked through the night on my computer until 7am came around and I needed to take the car in to the dealer to have it serviced for our 5,000 mile trek across the country this saturday.  I didn’t have to wake up, because I was already awake, just went and took my shower, got ready, grabbed my breakfast shake and headed out the door.  And I felt great!  Got to the dealer, made several important calls, replied to some emails, took care of business and still had plenty of energy.

Then about 11 or 12 – definitely by 1pmI was feeling it.  I was tired and I needed to sleep SOON!  Still had a few other things to wrap up – a more-complicated-than-it-needed-to-be loan closing and a trip to the court house and by around 4pm I conked out for good (and I did sleep GOOD, let me tell you).

So it may not be the most convenient schedule to keep – having to sleep at weird times of the day and all (not a big deal, right? 😉 ) – but if you’re more concerned with getting more in and not at what hour that’s happens (within reason – you’ll be awake for certain parts of every business day), I may have the solution for you!

Now, as a side note, Katie has already threatened to kick me out of the house if I were to make this a regular part of my schedule, so it’s not going to work for me, BUT I think it still has potential (for someone out there, surely!).

Ok, so here’s how my productivity plan works:

In essence, this brilliant plan of mine will still allow you to get 8 hours of sleep per day/night while adding 8 MORE HOURS A WEEK to your schedule (or 15 hours if you’re only planning on sleeping 7 hours a night, though it makes the math a little funny…).

The secret is you just stay up longer.  Rather than being awake for 16 hours and sleeping 8, you stay awake for four hours longer each day and THEN you sleep 8 hours.  So it works on a 28 hour cycle versus 24.

Clever, right? I can always stay up longer & now I would be able to stay up longer and still get in 8 hours of sleep!  What could be better?

At the end of one week, you save 8 hours because you’ve only had to sleep 6 times!

The one minor inconvenience though is that every day you wake up 4 hours later than the day before.  (So if you wake up on Monday at 6am, Tuesday you’d have to wake up at 10am, and by Thursday you’d be getting up at 6pm after going to sleep at 10am)  So one minor inconvenience but hey, you will have just increased your available awake time by over 6% and still being able to sleep 8 hours each night (or cycle may be more accurate).

Hope that helps in some way shape or form.

…And if you do try it out, let me know how it works!  🙂  I think – for the right person – it would be amazing!  Let me know your thoughts on this – is this the greatest idea since sliced bread??  Maybe you can help me come up with a name for this time-creating sleep strategy?

I’ll try to come up with some more of these practical, everyday-type solutions during our long road trip to California.  If I think of anything, you’ll be the first to know!

PS> If you’d prefer to just get paid while you sleep, check this out: 3 Things Anyone Can Do

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  • Beverly Knox says:

    Hi Hans what a unique strategy you have to make a day longer. I have always said I wish my days could be longer. Now the thing is how to fit my lifestyle into this system. Thanks for the concept.

  • Sandra says:

    This sounds really interesting, but I agree – it’s not for a person with kids:) But the idea is cool, thank you:)

  • Hmm, I never thought of a week in hours like that, but this seems like it might work… And I’d be able to get a lot more done! I think I’ll try this out next week. Can’t lose, right?

  • I thought it was more about managing time more effectively. But I guess you are right that it seems nice to stay up four hours more and get 8 hours sleep. I am not sure if I could keep up with it since my body is used to 8 hours or more sleeping habit. Maybe I should try staying up for 4 hours more so that I could get more working hours.

  • Hi Hans:

    First I have to say that this strategy would NOT work for me. I have 3 kids and a wife and they would not take kindly to me working and sleeping weird hours. 🙂 That being, as you stated, this might be a good strategy for someone. Maybe a single person who runs their own business and has this type of flexibility.

    Good food for thought!


    • Hey Kevin, having a consistent regular schedule is by far the easiest way to go. Trying to get those few extra hours may not be worth the upheaval of every other area of your life. Lol. Thanks for your comments!

  • Hum, stay up longer, huh? While I’ve certainly pulled my share of all nighters (just this week as a matter of fact) I think we also need to be aware of our body rhythm and energy levels. I know for me that if I push myself to work just for the sake of working, I’m going to end up with crap. On the other hand, if I’m energized about a project I’m not going to sleep anyway … I’ll just lay there rehashing every detail over and over, so it’s best to just keep plugging away. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Ah, the lifestyle of an entrepreneur… Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Lol. It is a fine line and every occasion is different. I’ve had those same kinds of ideas… (I question the idea that “rarely does a good idea interrupt you” – mine seem to always interrupt my sleep!). 🙂 Thanks for the comments Marty!

  • I have tried that a bit over the last few months, it really seemed to throw my whole schedule out of wack.

    I have tested the staying up late and then getting up later too, but it just seems to make me stupid. 🙂 My brain just dosen’t seem to function properly, I am groggy and my memory seems to have taken a vacation.

    Like Marty, I then end up making mistakes that take more time to correct.

    However it could also be because whether I like it or not there are mornings where I MUST get up early no matter what time I went to sleep.

  • Hi Hans, Sounds like you’ve really come up with a workable schedule for you. Just speaking for myself, I need to balance the amount of work to be done with when my mind work best because if I keep working even though my brain is beginning the shut down mode means I’ll end up with less than my best work – and probably redoing it all.

    That said, I have found ways to push myself to accomplish more when needed. I am an early riser and no matter what time zone I’m in I naturally wake up 3:30-4am. I usually go into shut down mode between 5-6pm, but when I’m working on a project or in a time crunch, I can rest for a few hours and start again as early as 1am and work through the next day. It’s an odd schedule that wouldn’t work for most people, but it works for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hey Marty, wow you have the opposite of my natural schedule. I am actually most productive in the evenings, though that may also be because no one else is up and the phone’s not ringing, etc – much easier for me to focus at that time. However, early in the morning (like 7am LOL) I also am able to get a lot accomplished while focused the only problem can be that when I really get into a creative zone the day begins to pick up and I find myself getting interrupted frequently which throws me off. Keeping my morning marketing efforts scheduled to just an hour or two at the beginning of my day seems to work best, and then late evening if there’s something that requires a little more time. Good thing we can set our own schedules!

  • All of us lead busy lives but at the end of the day we have to shun off from everything and try to get some sleep. If we deprive ourselves of our normal quota of night’s sleep its going to show on our work as well. As far as the hours are concerned, I think it depends from person to person, some need 8 hours but for some 5 is just fine.

  • jo says:

    Hi Hans, it’s a clever way but what about my health? Wouldn’t affect my attitude and then I’d get irritated? I’m not so sure about this but my eye bags are showing, lol.

    • Hey Jo, it was just for fun really, trying to figure out how to get more out of a day… Might work for some, but not recommended for most. And yes, attitude is something else to consider as well – there’s more to life than just time management, lol! Thanks for your comments!

  • analyn says:

    I can manage on it. Even me I sleep 3hours a day. What will be the syndrome that would occur when I do that every cycle of my life? Thanks!

  • trisha says:

    The National Sleep Foundation reports that women are more likely than men to have problems falling asleep and staying asleep. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, but polls have found that many women get only 6 hours a night.

  • My friend drew out a little pyramid of how many hours are in a week and what she can do to fulfill her time better. She was working early morning shifts at Starbucks and getting home at 12pm and sleeping. She then wasted 3-4 hours in the midday. She was over it. Drawing out what can be done in a week as opposed to in a day, definitely puts your mind in another perspective. I started this way of thinking and really changed my weeks. I’m still on a “normal” sleeping schedule by sleeping at night so it all kind of falls into place. Great breakdown you have here. Thanks Hans

    • Hans Schoff says:

      Hey Diane, another way to increase the amount of time available to you in a week – in addition to good time management and discipline – is to exercise. As little as 20 to 45 min a day can 4 or 5 times a week can increase your energy levels, help you focus better and be more effective with your time, essentially giving you more time in the week. Thanks for sharing your comment!