2013 February 22
One of the great things about an academic job is flexibility in the hours. But this blessing can be a bit of a curse: it can be hard to get the day started when you don’t have to show up at work at any particular time. (Cue tiny violins, #richpeopleproblems, etc.) Like many people in this position, I’ve had a longstanding love/hate relationship with the snooze button on my alarm clock. I’d usually hit snooze four or five times and spend about 45 minutes half-awake feeling guilty for not really wanting to get up and at it.
Around a month ago I decided to try and get out of the rut. Unsurprisingly, the internet is full of advice on how to get out of bed in the morning, and equally unsurprisingly, most of it is dubious at best. Even less surprisingly, a lot of the advice is from self-appointed self-improvement gurus (whom I often find to be kind of bizarrely fascinating — they’re so weird!). One of these people is named Steve Pavlina, and I have to admit that I gleaned something from a blog post of his on the the topic. I didn’t take his advice (simulate waking up quickly during the day), but I did like his perspective: relying on sheer willpower is not the answer. Maybe it works for some people, but not for me, and it’s really not fun to start every day with a demoralizing lost battle against inertia.
I decided that I needed to find something fun and easy to do first thing every morning. Not necessarily something that’ll get me up and out of bed instantly — but something that I’ll look forward to doing and that’ll keep me awake as my brain warms up. I’m a bit of a nerd, so what fits the bill perfectly for me? Catching up on my favorite blogs.
Specifically, instead of checking them compulsively all day, I now read them all in one big burst in bed using my phone and an app called NewsRob. My alarm goes off, I hit snooze once, and the next time it rings I sit up and grab my phone. Catching up on everything takes about the same amount of time as my previous snoozing, but it’s actually fun and doesn’t make me feel guilty. As a side benefit, I’m no longer compulsively checking blogs all day!
People who aren’t me will presumably have different priorities. A friend of mine watches the Daily Show instead. (One advantage of that over the blogs is that it’s not always easy to read a lot of dense text while your head’s still fuzzy.) I’m sure you could come up with other options.
So far, the new system’s been working great. My mornings feel way better and what I’m doing is so easy that I don’t think backsliding is going to be a problem. Baby steps to a better life!
(apologies to David Rees for the title [←bad language])
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