One little tool I find helpful if you’re going to add a little time before your buffer zone for these things (but try them during the day too!) is this reflecting on your day diary:

Good stuff about today. Bad stuff about today.

No matter how insignificant, think about the bits you enjoyed, like someone kindly making
you a cup of tea or paying you a compliment, or watching the sunrise!

This is probably on your mind anyway. Don’t rant – be constructive and write the main
points down. If you need to get another piece of paper to write down all your frustrations,
do this first, for at least 10 minutes, be non-judgemental then rip it up and throw it away!

Then afterwards write out the main points here.

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WRITE MORE BAD THEN GOOD! For each bad point you must find a good!

You don’t have to do this with the good stuff though – write as many points as you like

My To-do list for tomorrow.

This can only be made up of things that you know you can definitely achieve by tomorrow evening. You are not allowed to write it down otherwise. For example, instead of ‘do all admin’ which may not be achievable realistically, you could target one area of that admin that you know you can get done by the end of the day.

• Post letter

• Pay bill

• Buy birthday present

• Clean bathroom

Then look at your ‘bad stuff’ list. There are usually unresolved issues here, which is why they are on your mind. Is there anything you can do about it tomorrow?

If yes, then put it on the ‘to-do’ list, remembering to make sure what you have written is achievable by the end of the day.

Then look at the ‘good stuff’ list. Is there anything arising that must be dealt with tomorrow? If yes, put it on the ‘to-do’ list.

Remember to use this list tomorrow!

Reflecting on your day and making a ‘to-do’ list for the next day is very important.

The next day, read your diary and do things on your list for that day. You must do them, as your brain needs to trust that you will do them in order to switch off at night in the future. Also, you will find after doing this several times, your brain remembers how you felt when you achieved the list. It will fast-forward those lovely feelings to when you’re writing them down, almost cheating us into thinking we’re content and relaxed before we actually are! That means it won’t work just by writing things down – you have got to follow through with this intention for it to work.

So, what if you have done your diary, been through your buffer zone, gone to bed because you were significantly sleepy and according to your new personalised sleep schedule, yet there are still some niggling thoughts that just won’t go away?