My life is pretty much at capacity. I’m the founding editor of this blog, and write regularly for it. I run an active online business, shipping out about 500 orders of handmade whipped butters a month. And I just opened a companion storefront in Brooklyn. Oh, and I have three young children, including a juicy but very time-intensive 9 month old. But at 10:00 pm every night you will find me fast asleep in my cozy king bed because I am not about that #TeamNoSleep life.

And honestly I *can’t* be about that #TeamNoSleep life because it is physiologically impossible for me. If 11 pm rolls around and I’m not close to being asleep my body’s like, ‘Haha. So you wanna try it. Okay. Well when you wake up tomorrow with a ringing in your inner ear, eyes that both look and feel like they are full of salt water, and a persistent urge to fall down, we’ll see what’s funny.”

It was around age 30 that I began to realize that “all nighter” was a concept I had to violently abolish from my life, and it’s been a gradual process. Today I’m all about that sleep life. That ‘sipping tea before drifting off on a cloud’ life. That ‘drool on the pillow because the sleep was so good’ life.

So how do I do it? Here are a few things I live by.

1. I outsource like a motherf*cker.
Back in Chicago I saw a business counselor who gave me some very sage advice: Outsource your housework, save your time for your business ideas. It took me some years to see the wisdom in that but now I get it. My phone is full of apps that make life easier. Task Rabbit (like Uber for handymen), Instacart (grocery delivery), Yelp Delivery (takeout), Amazon.com (so I never have to set foot in Target), Care.com (home cleaning), Home Chef (meal delivery). I am the high priestess of ‘finding people to do the shit I don’t have time to do.’ Outsourcing frees up about 10 hours of my week. And that mostly goes back to sleep.

2. I delegate and mentor.
Training up talented black women to work with and for me isn’t something I do out of the goodness of my heart. Well, I mean, yeh it is, but it’s also a business decision. Having a team who knows how to keep my operations going is critical to my survival as an entrepreneur. The more I train my team the more responsibility they can take on. The more responsibility they take on the less I have to do. The less I have to do the more I can focus on big-picture stuff… and sleeping.

3. I’m off social media.
I’m not on Twitter or Instagram. If you search for “Leila Noelliste” on Facebok you will find this dummy account I haven’t posted on in years.

Hehe. That picture is like 3 years old.

I do have a decoy Facebook account that I mostly use to post pictures of my kids for my Haitian relatives. But that’s it.

The endless social media updating, the constant bombardment of baby and wedding and vacay and graducation pics, the depressing articles about Donald Trump. I don’t have time for it. Because I’m sleeping.

4. I work according to my rhythms, set realistic daily and weekly expectations and have a clear sense of time.
I only work about 6 hours a day. With such limited time I am always keeping a mental inventory of how long things take — to write an article for BGLH, to train a new employee for the storefront, to whip a bowl of butter from start to finish. Knowing this helps me plan out my days. I start the week with a checklist of what I need done and work towards it daily. I also schedule tasks according to my rhythms. I am at my sharpest in the mornings — so that’s when I write my articles for BGLH. I’m more in ‘veg mode’ later in the day, that’s when I do shop work because it’s rote (you don’t need a ton of brain power to scoop shea butter into containers.)

5. I set hard time limits.
I am strict about my time limits. If there is an absolute emergency and I have to work late then I do it. Otherwise my work day ends at 4 pm, 5 the latest. I have also redefined what counts as a work emergency. Hint: Not much.

The bottom line is this: My days are long, and I can’t get through them without a heaping amount of sleep first. My brain is sharp and creative when it’s operating on enough sleep. Plus I am bout that melanin life and my skin pops the most after eight hours of slumber.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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6 Comments on "I’m an Entrepreneur, I Have a Bunch of Babies, And Yes I Get 8 Hours of Sleep Every Night"

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Shakira Lewis

Very timely and inspiring article, thank you! You mentioned in one of your comments that you read a lot about efficiency. Please could you recommend any books that have really inspired you? I love reading but am trying to focus my attention more on books that will help to improve my life.

AliciaFiasco

This is really dope. I am really trying to structure my life better and convert to a similar lifestyle. Your insight certainly helps. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Pyles

Wonderful article and inspiring for me to get off my behind!

Amy
Great article! What are you children doing and how are they being taken care of while you are in weekday work modes? I am also interested in how you divide up your weekends, with children, family, obligations etc. I severely struggle with my time management and have 4 children ages: 15 boy (ASD), b/g twins age 10 & a daughter who just turned 7). As I have been reading several of your posts today, I am realizing how easy it it’s for me to understand your writing. I feel like I’m at a seminar and your the #1 speaker. Basically… Read more »
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