What do these have to do with each other, you may wonder. Let me explain.
The very first post I ever published on here was about sleep, which goes to show how important that is to me. Maybe I do need a bit more of it than others; I can function with 5 hours, but only for a few days, then I need to get up to my 7-8 hours again, otherwise I'll be useless and walk around all day like a zombie.
Usually, during the week, I switch the lamp on my bedside table off between 11.00 pm and midnight, most of the time quite close to 11.00. When I have had a particularly exhausting day, or the night before was too short and I am very tired, it is lights out earlier, sometimes as early as 10.00 pm.
Sounds like plenty of sleep until 7.00 am, when I wake up from the sound of the bells from the nearby church that serves as my alarm clock, doesn't it?
And yet, there are times when it is nowhere near enough.
Take last night.
I went to bed, read a little, and switched the light off at half eleven. For a few nights in a row now, my mind has been whirling with fragments of thoughts and ideas; nothing troubling or worrying, but apparently enough to keep me from sinking into my friend Morpheus' arms as quickly as I'd like to. The same happened again last night, but eventually, of course I did fall asleep.
As is my habit, the bedroom window was open to a crack; I was warm and comfortable enough underneath my duvet plus a heavy blanket. On falling asleep, the last thing I consciously heard was the sound of rain, something I find very cosy when I can snuggle deeper under my duvet and do not need to be out there in the cold and rain. It had been quite windy all afternoon and evening, and the pattern of the rain changed with each gust blowing between my house and the neighbour's.
At some stage very early this morning, I woke up because the sound had changed yet again: now it was a prattle of what I am sure was icy rain, clattering on the roof of my neighbour's bike shed and my metal window sills only a few metres away from me. The blinds where moving with the wind, too, and then the thunder and lightning started, all at once.
There was no slow approach, with the gap between thunder and lightning narrowing as the thunderstorm came closer, no, it was right there on top of us when it broke loose.
I was too comfortable to get up and watch the spectacle from my kitchen window, so I stayed in bed, awake and listening.
By the time the church bells chimed seven, I was so tired the temptation to stay in bed for another half hour at least was really big. But - and this is where the self-discipline comes into play - I got up.
When I first started working from home back in May 2011, I was determined to stick to a realistic schedule of working hours, and so far, I have not had any trouble doing just that. By the time I start making my phone calls at around 9.00 am, I have already been up for two hours, having coffee, reading and replying to emails (business as well as personal ones), reading (and sometimes writing) blogs, I have fed the cat, showered and dressed properly, had breakfast and washed the few dishes I used for my muesli and coffee.
This morning, the temptation to get up later was certainly there, but that's the point of self-discipline - you just don't. (Or, depending on what it is about, you just DO).
By the way, this is what I saw when I came into the kitchen a few minutes after seven this morning: