Just as you are falling asleep, your mind finally relaxes and a thought floats in to your head. It’s something you HAVE to remember to do tomorrow.


It’s 3am and you partially rouse from sleep. It’s like that task you forgot to do yesterday has nudged you awake, reminding you to do it later that day.

Sounds familiar?

If so, you are a busy person (like me).

When the mind truly relaxes – i.e. when you’re falling asleep or at some ridiculous hour of the night – lost, niggly thoughts buried under the 1,000 to-dos and obligations that swim around your brain finally rise to surface. Sure, there’s a voice in your head that tells you not to worry. That thought is so clear, so obvious, it’s bound to resurface come morning. Such a fibber, your semi-conscious self! You won’t remember.

What to do?

pnclbdEquip a pencil and paper beside the bed. “Write away” that thought or idea and get back as fast as possible to your sleep and recovery journey.

Why not a smart phone or tablet? Too many swipes and clicks and that bright screen. Using one will wake you up to near or full consciousness and that puts you in danger of having trouble getting back to sleep. You’re back at square one (sleep wise). The trick is to get your semi-conscious self to scribble down some trigger word or doodle while busy-mind conscious self is still unaware you’re even waking up.

As for why a pencil? It’s a more reliable marking device and any marks that miss the paper clean off the furniture more easily.

For paper, recycle the backs of old scripts or other documents. The nocturnal prompt only has to last as long a breakfast when you’ll be awake enough to decipher it and translate it to the day’s actual to-do list (on smart phone, tablet or wherever you have it).

Pencil and paper. Hmmm. Sometimes old school and low-tech is the way to go.


Cheers & a good night’s sleep to you,

– – – – – – – – – –
Deborah Patz is author of “Film Production Management 101” and the upcoming “Write! Shoot! Edit!” both published by MWP Books.  Happily, she didn’t need to make any 3am notes last night!

WHERE IS DEB? (Events, appearances)
Jan.24 – Author guest at the Tea & Ink Writing Cub, Vancouver
Jul.30-Aug.3 – UFVA conference, Los Angeles