Old Habits Die Hard

Old Habits Die Hard

Sis and Co. are visiting this weekend, and we all ended up sleeping in. The funny thing is that each of us had woken up early, saw no one else up, and decided to go back to sleep. I rolled out of bed just before noon, having enjoyed the indulgence of being warm under the covers reinforced by the two snoozing near my feet. Another late weekend start, just like old times. What’s different about today’s sleep-in, versus times in the past, is that I can compare this to the past 5 days of “starting my day on purpose”.

Lost in Time

While I greatly enjoyed sleeping in, our day is really just getting started at 3PM. We could have done a ton of stuff by now if we’d been up earlier. Now, we will have to scrape what dregs of fun the bottom of the day still offers, and I am feeling a little sad because of this.

As I was saying, the past five days have been started on purpose, and today that feeling that I’m in “catch up” mode is even more sharply in relief. I have to figure out what activities to triage so the day can finish well. This used to be the way I felt every day, and it wouldn’t usually bother me. It would be a problem if I had project work to do, and I would then be more concerned about maintaining project pacing around fixed events such as scheduled conference calls, face-to-face meetings, and scheduled deliverables. My daily existence was like that of a drifter wandering his way between places. It reminds me a bit of Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation, an apparently talented and capable person who is being swept along by events he can’t quite remember initiating, but nevertheless bounded by them. We all have the ability to nudge ourselves into a new position, amusing ourselves to pass the time, and to make statements about what’s important, but these aren’t actions as much as they are conditioned reflexes to maintain the status quo. In the case of not waking up early, I let the status quo happen to me instead of creating it. I think that is what’s bothering me today.

It’s now Sunday, and I woke up a little earlier today after having gone to sleep at 4AM. We all tend to stay up too late and eat too much good food when we get a chance to hang out, so I need to expand my methodology to include other people. This is a delicate thing to balance without being overbearing or irritating. I’ll reflect on this next week.


  1. rick gregory 16 years ago


    I try to make a clear separation between weekdays and weekends… I may have stuff to do on the weekends, but they’re ‘me’ stuff.. I gauge less by productivity and other other workaholic metrics and more by “is this recharging me”. I’m a bit like you sleep-wise… naturally I stay up until 1-2am, get up around 9-10am. What I’m doing is getting up at 7am M-Fri, but indulging myself a bit on Sat and Sun by sleeping until 8 or 9. I get the psychological life of “ah, the weekend… my time.. don’t have to work” but I’m not throwing myself off drastically. Shifting by more than this makes it very hard to get back on track come Monday. So, my advice… sleep in no more than 2 hours past your normal rising time, but DO indulge yourself a bit. Leave the productivity guy on the shelf as much as possible and use the weekend to recharge, but don’t go overboard.. otherwise you yo-yo, and your weeks are that much harder… you’re sleep cycle is messed up, your tired for the first 2-3 days… and if you’re like me you’ll feel like a hamster on a wheel…


  2. penny 16 years ago

    Dave, I look forward to hearing your insights on including others.. my husband and I still struggle with this (we’ve been together 6 years married for 2). Right now I need to figure out how to share myself better with some high needs (and good) clients.. We have one full day—actually 25 hours worth—for ourselves (Shabbat) and don’t feel (too) guilty if we sleep later than normal or take a nap in the afternoon. I agree with rick, don’t let yourself sleep much more than 2 hours past your normal wake up time … it’ll really screw up your schedule. Good luck!