Sleep routine, productivity, Erin duncan creative

Get Shit Done Series #1 : Protect Your Sleep ☾

Darlings ♥♥

We all want to Get Shit Done!

When I am really on fire 🔥 it looks like…

→ Doing way more in half the time.
→ Creating my BEST WORK.
→ Working with natural ease and flow.
→ Brimming with great ideas.
→ Feeling accomplished and not exhausted.
→ Seeing the RESULTS that I want.

Take a snapshot of me three years ago and I can tell you there was none of this. Well, there was a bit, but it was sporadic at best.

The essence of this Getting Shit Done Series is that there is a recipe for powerful productivity. A method for getting into flow and producing brilliant results. 

You can harness this recipe and make it part of your daily life. Then you will be producing like a mofo and feeling fucking good about yourself!! 

If you are anything like me, then you have no intention of being productive at the expense of your health or time with your family.

I’m in my forties and I need a whole ‘nother level of self care. Something sustainable, that extends far into the reaches of my life. A way of BEING that shakes out all my dark, tired, ‘running on empty’ beliefs, habits and routines.

This is not a productivity post telling you how to fill out a planner. This is about how making deep changes to my life has fuelled my productivity and creativity to a level that I hadn’t considered was possible.

In my previous blog post, entitled “Get Shit Done” I outlined the nine “pillars” involved in my personal routine.

1. Protect Your Sleep
2. Morning Ritual
3. Say “No” to lots of things
4. Clear and cleanse yourself and your space
5. Focus on one thing at a time. 
6. Set Up a System
7. Work in chunks of flow time
8. Batch create
9. Active Recovery

In this series I am going to dive into each of these nine pillars and share my approach with you.

This first part of the series will focus on SLEEP

Talking about sleep is clearly not as sexy as planners and productivity systems but stay with me, friend. The results could very well change your life.

Protect Your Sleep

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or an expert. I’m just a gal sharing my experiences on the internet. If you are struggling with pain or insomnia, please reach out to professionals.

For years I regularly stayed up past midnight because I wanted those hours for myself.

In those quiet hours I could..
✶ Get things done in peace.
✶ Finish artworks.
✶ Build a business.
✶ Read and escape.

Yet no matter how late I stayed up, I never seemed to get enough done. I wasn’t creating work that I loved and I was tired. Always so damn tired.

There are tons of studies which show that lack of sleep over the long term:
☞ Greatly compromises our immune system
☞ Adds extra stress hormones to our already stressed bodies.
☞ Reduces us to our LEAST PRODUCTIVE state.
☞ Negatively impacts our relationships.

…the list goes on and none of it is good.

The crux of it is that we will never be clear headed, on-point, and totally on fire 🔥 whilst we are not getting enough sleep. 

Unless you’re 20 years old, then by all means, who needs sleep?

Rather, the key to doing your best work is keeping yourself in optimal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition. We don’t have a hope of cultivating any of this without SLEEP.

On my continual quest to get more done in life, I reached the point where I knew that I was never going to feel well unless I changed my sleeping habits. 
Sleep Hygiene they call it, which just sounds all wrong. 

This lead to a FETISHISING of sleep. A commitment to prioritising it and harnessing the magic that comes from a good night’s sleep.

How to improve your sleep

Okay, so here are the steps that I took to improve my sleep. It’s all rather simple but not necessarily easy…



The bedroom was cleaned from top to bottom. No boxes, blockage or dust underneath the bed. I purchased a new bed frame from Temple & Webster. It makes my room feel good and updated.



Studies show that you need to be in a cool room to sleep really well.
Cool – not cold!
The optimal temperature is approximately 18 degrees celsius. 
Now, I live in the tropics so we replaced the old Air-conditioner with a new, quieter, more energy efficient one.



Sleeping in complete darkness is vital to quality sleep.
Essentially you want to make it as cave like as possible because that’s how our “caveman” bodies are wired to sleep.

Black out those windows!
No light emitting technology or street lights shining in. Your sleep rhythm will thank you.



I bought new bedding, the best I could afford. Specifically cooling fabrics for tropical living.
I invested in quality linnen sheets, bedcovers and pillowcases and lovely bamboo pillows and blankets.
I purchased from Temple & Webster but it would be remiss of me not to share Bed Threads and their Build Your Own Bedding Bundle – its’ so much fun!! TARGET also does an affordable range of linen bedding.
I picked bedding in colours that I adore – sage green, olive green. 

Seriously, make your bed a gorgeous shrine.



I’m a sucker for things that smell nice, especially essential oils. I think they’re fabulous and healing and well worth the investment.

I have a nice diffuser that I got from eBay for around $40. 

I purchased a selection of essential oils from Doterra that promote rest, relaxation and sleep:

Lavender Peace
Roman Chamomile
Peace Blend



We all know that tech in the bedroom is not great for you… something to do with blue lights and circadian rhythms. 
After nighttime doom scrolling my way through the COVID epidemic, the time came for me to get some distance from my phone.

I admit that this was one of the hardest things to do and maintain.

I borrowed these books from my local library which helped and I highly recommend them:

How To Break Up With Your Phone – Catherine Price
Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
Deep Work – Cal Newport



Yoga Nidra is basically guided mediation for inner peace and calm.
It is referred to as Yogic Sleep because it takes you to the brain state that exists between wake and sleep. Perfect for setting the tone for a good night’s rest.

I downloaded INSGHT TIMER app on my iPhone (I know, the irony of using an app when you’re trying to stay away from tech) but Insight timer is a great, free app.

If you search Yoga Nidra, there are many guided mediations that you can try out and listen to for free.

I listen to Yoga Nidra For Sleep by Jennifer Piercy.



I thought I’d mention it here because lots of folks (including my husband) like to write a few words in their journal before bed. It could be a daily review or a gratitude list of some sort. 

I think it’s a good habit however I do prefer to read at night and do my writing in the mornings when the sun is rising.



A keep a huge stack of books by the bed. Some purchased and some borrowed from my local library.

Real books. Not kindle books or digital books. Real, beautiful, delicious smelling books. All sorts – fiction, non fiction, finance, romance, literary, classics. After 9pm, tech is off and I read books.



Having a beautiful morning routine hugely impacts my sleep at night. I go to sleep looking forward to the morning. Being up early, making the most of my day and getting exercise means that I fall to sleep much more easily at night.

My morning routine is the most powerful, life giving part of my day. It really does set the tone for your whole day and also how you will sleep at night.

Getting the book ends of your day into a beautiful routine will create beautiful days.



This is a big one, loves.

Eating carbs and refined sugar, especially at night… is fucking with your sleep.
This was me, working late, eating late, smashing blocks of chocolate at 9pm on a daily basis. Your body is desperately trying to cope with the sugars – especially in your forties and beyond.

This is probably the most important item of the whole blog post my friends.
What you eat and when you eat it really, really matters.

I’m not going to go into this to much because it is beyond the scope of this blog series. If you would like to know more, let me know and I’ll put some info together!



Giving up coffee had a profound effect on my sleep. PROFOUND.
I sleep better through the night and wake up feeling great. Not needing anything to help me wake up. 

And look… I am not perfect.
I was working around the clock to finish an e-course a few weeks ago and you better believe I worshipped at the church of COFFEE… and it helped!
But It’s an insidious habit that creeps it’s little way back in.

Coffee and it has a bigger impact on our lives than we like to admit and it feels great to not be a slave to it.

It probably looks like I gave up a lot of things but I didn’t see it that way. I was so tired of feeling like shit every single day that I would have done anything to wake up feeling great again.

These are not golden rules.

We are all different people at different stages of our lives. The mother of young children is going to suffer from lack of sleep and also wanting to be awake late to have the time to herself. I’ve been there.

If you are running a business there will be times that you are going to be burning the lamp late into the night  and that’s a good thing. We ride the wave until the job is done.

But I feel that should be the exception, not the routine.

For all my late nights and hard work, I wasn’t half as productive then as I am now. I put in more hours before but I wasn’t hitting my FLOW STATE and getting great work done in half the time. I am now and quality sleep is the keystone.


I’m excited to know if this resonates with you and if you have any other tips for getting better sleep.

Erin xxx

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Erin Duncan

An Australian Artist and Illustrator currently living in Tasmania.
Everything I make is a way for me to share a little magic, wonder and possibility with the world.

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