Big productivity boost if you're setting your own schedule or you're often being the night owl --
Once you start to feel your mind wind down and the fog set in, sleep ASAP!
It sounds simple, but the execution is life-changing. I used to waste about the last two hours of the day in a daze on many days where I wasn't totally spent at the end of the day. Now I've got it down to usually recognizing between 40 and 90 minutes that my mind isn't going to clear, and crashing out.
There's no sense trying to push through it if legitimate exhaustion is there... the quality of thinking will be low. If you must stay up (deadline, etc) grab a cold shower or go running or do pushups. But if you don't have to -- grab some sleep. The you-of-tomorrow will be grateful you did.
"you-of-tomorrow" reminds me of this: http://formalsweatpants.com/journal/2012/2/27/future-me.html#.UJBq_cXA_zM
I was never sure if it made sense to sleep if you're going to be underslept anyways, but then I read the science in "Take a Nap, Change Your Life."
The verdict? When you're tired, getting more sleep can never make you more tired. The disorientation coming out of sleep is from being in a deep sleep mode, but it passes quickly. From empirical testing - I take almost any amount of sleep now if running low, and it works better.
I’m a big fan of consistent sleep patterns. It’s easier for me to wake up in the morning, and I feel much better when I’m going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday.
With that being said I’ve also found that being excessively stubborn with maintaining your sleep schedule can cause you to miss lots of opportunities. Here are my rules for when abandoning your sleep schedule is appropriate.
You’ve made a promise. If you told someone you were going to do something do it. No excuses. In an ideal world you would have finished it earlier, but if you were busy or decided to procrastinate do it now.
You’re working against a deadline. If you’ve got an urgent project that needs to be done for tomorrow do it. Obviously you should have put more effort into last minute panic prevention, but I understand life does get in the way and make it necessary on occasion.
You’ve got a prime opportunity. If you’ve got a good opportunity that you’ll only be able to capitalize on by abandoning your sleep pattern, capitalize on it. For example, I was able to nab an SETT invitation by staying awake an extra hour earlier this year.