(last updated on April 29, 2014)
For those of you just tuning in, I’ve been determined to wake up early every day for two weeks to see what happens; the theory is that I’ll somehow get more done in the day because I’m deliberately pacing myself, sort of like a long distance runner. This went pretty well during week 1, but over the weekend I’d stayed up waaaay too late, and have been paying for it.
It’s taken a few days to get back on track after last weekend’s schedule collapse, and each day has been marred by small imperfections in execution.
Just for fun, I’m going to spend just 15 minutes to write this post and not back-edit it after I’m done. Not quite as dramatic a concetp as that live episode of E.R., but heck, it’s plenty enough for me this morning. One moment while I fetch my notebook…
Flaws in Execution
The main success of the experiment, so far, has been getting out of the house and hitting the coffee shop every morning. This has been helped that a friend of mine was actually there too, so I had someone to talk to for a few minutes every day. This underscores the importance of having real people involved in habit-changing activity. I will have to arrange for something next week, and for after SXSW.
Although I’m feeling good about getting to the coffee shop every morning before 8AM, the execution part hasn’t been very clean. My alarm clock goes off every morning at 6:30AM, and I usually end up getting out of bed later between 6:45 and 7:15. I’d like to spring out of bed, but a few factors—undersleep, coldness of the morning, inconveniently-positioned slumbering cats—have undermined me. If I am well-rested, as I was over the weekend when I was sleeping in, then getting up is much easier.
This brings me to the second inconsistency: going to bed early enough to get enough hours of shuteye. I am finding that I need about 8 hours of sleep currently, assuming I’m drinking enough water. If I forget to drink, then I tend to sleep longer. One advantage of drinking enough water before going to sleep is that it forces you to relieve yourself in the morning; I understand that this is also a trick used by soldiers on watch. But I digress…I haven’t been going to sleep early enough, because I’m starting my work too late and am working into the red zone, which I’ve defined as any time after 8PM.
I tend to need a few hours to wind down, so after I’m done working I watch some TV. I’d cancelled my extended cable some time ago, having been distracted by all the interesting programming on the various specialty channels. I kept basic cable because it ends up being cheaper, and the Tivo does its thing by capturing the good programs. However, we’re in a new golden age of television, and there are tons of great shows. Sigh. I end up watching a few back-to-back episodes, then I’m still wired because I’ve been sucked into some storyline and am filled with ideas. Gah. So I still end up having to wind down, and I fall asleep later than I want.
(4 minutes to go)
The Connectedness of Everything
Although I’ve been waking up “early enough” and have been doing some kind of exercise, I’ve also been under-charged. I end up taking a nap sometime in the early afternoon…can’t help it, I just conk out. Also, in the morning my head has been fuzzy and this has put me into that weird trancelike procrastination mode, where the productive part of my brain refuses to go into gear. Instead of gating rapidly through the gears and getting work done (eek, 2 minutes to go) I end up chugging in 1st, checking email and doing other low-hanging, instantaneously interesting things like organizing my notebooks. Maybe these things make me FEEL productive because my brain is at least working, but it’s also an example when my conscious will isn’t engaged at all. Starting the work on time, when I have scheduled it out (this is part of the morning routine), is increasingly becoming critical to me. And I have to make sure that everything that’s happened in the previous 24 hours has gone to plan to maintain the mental alertness that makes it happen.
So I’ve realized that a lot of what I do every day is not just a discrete task, but part of a continuum of activity. My time and energy is part of a zero sum game of resource management, and I’ve got to get my head into it.
(10 seconds! Closing out! Done!)