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Snooze Abusers, Take Note!

I am often mistaken for a morning person.  This is because, most weekday mornings, I’m already up and working by 5:45am.  The other evening I was having a drink over at my friend’s house when her husband realized this for the first time.  “What on earth are you doing at 5:30 in the morning?” he asked incredulously, “cooking the yarn??!”

No, ironically, very little of what I do with all my work hours has to do with actual yarn.  It’s the behind-the-scenes of running a business that takes up most of my “back office” time: responding to emails, marketing, website design and updates, paperwork, accounting, writing newsletters…and blogging!

These are the things that, for me, require maximum concentration, the promise of non-interruption, and a dedicated space to wrap my head around whatever I’m doing and see it through to the end.  There are dozens of projects that I can tackle at the shop, in between customers, but those are in a vastly different camp from my “morning projects,” the ones I tackle before the sun comes up, when my fiance and my pup are still snoozing in our bed.  Unfortunately for me, the 3 hours that are book-ended by my first sip of coffee and my 9:00 am shower to get ready for work are the most creative, productive, and valuable 3 hours of my day.

I say unfortunately because, if it weren’t for my goals and to-do lists, I would sleep until noon.  Anyone who has witnessed me at a festival, camping trip, or group sleepover knows: I am Rip Van Winkle.  I would sleep for 40 years if nobody ever thought to wake me up.  I’ve been getting up early to harness those extra 3 hours of productive energy for so long that I have melted the circadian rhythm right out of myself, and when I do have the opportunity to sleep in, I take advantage of it like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Over the past year, however, the strangest thing has happened: after 19 years of respecting and obeying my alarm clock, my brain stopped caring.  No matter how strongly I felt the claim the previous night (“You have so much work to do in the morning! You HAVE to get up at 5:30!), from my sleepy state in bed the next morning, with my phone at my fingertips, and the newfound discovery that hitting the volume button acts as an insta-snooze, I didn’t care at all.  And I started snoozing.  Like, crazy-snoozing.  Snoozing for an entire hour, and sometimes even 90 minutes.  It was insane, and all said and done, not only was I giving myself a terrible final hour of sleep every morning, but I was losing up to 5 hours a week of work time to snoozing!

So with deep fall approaching, and the busiest 3 months of my year staring me down, I knew something had to change.  I implemented a 3-prong solution that — so far — has been working like it’s 1998 again!

bathrobe

1. Cozy New Bathrobe.  Just because I’m up at 5:30 certainly doesn’t mean I need to be dressed or presentable.  Knowing that there is a super cushy warm robe waiting for me on the other side of the covers makes it a little easier to take the plunge.

Keurig

2. Caved and bought a Keurig.  I’ve been resisting this since they were invented, because it just seems…too easy.  I am one of those people for whom that first cup of coffee in the morning is a non-negotiable necessity, and I own an apparatus for just about every way there is on the planet to make that first cup.  We have a drip coffee maker with a programmable timer.  Espresso machine.  A 1-cup filter.  Three different sizes of French presses.  But man, every time I stay at my dad’s house and can have a real cup of coffee in my hand with the push of one button and 30 seconds of my time, I see the allure.  And now it happens in my own kitchen.

Side Note: The reason I’ve been resistant for so long is that the design of this machine is so inherently wasteful, expensive, and ridiculous that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I finally did, under the solemn promise to myself that I would get a set of those refillable filters and fill it with my own coffee, not those disposable pods.  Lo and behold, Keurig foresaw this and designed their 2.0 line to stand there with its arms crossed and shaking its head if you try to brew anything but their proprietary disposable pods.  BUT, I found a hack for this and am successfully brewing my own coffee with the 2.0 — waste-free, mess-free, and instantly.  Ask me how!

Alarm

3. A Snooze Abuser Alarm.  I am no stranger to assaultive alarm clocks.  When my brother Barry was younger, he would sleep through his alarm with such regularity that my mom explored every option the Internet had available to remedy the situation: alarms that got progressively louder, alarms that had sirens and flashing lights, alarms that vibrated under your pillow — even one with a helicopter that would take off from its base and fly around the room buzzing until you chased it down and turned it off.  I revisited all of these familiar gimmicks during my search, remembering the irony from my childhood bedroom of the fact that everyone in the house was awake to these inane sounds…except for Barry.

However, my problem has nothing to do with the inability to hear my alarm.  It has everything to do with the fact that my sleeping brain doesn’t care, and if there is the option to snooze, it will leap at it.  My sleep brain basically has outsmarted my awake brain.  However, I discovered an app for my phone that really digs at the root of the problem.  Step Out! is an alarm that has no snooze; instead, it will continue to ring until you get out of bed and take 20 steps with your phone in your hand.  The app itself is terribly clunky and complicated, but the idea behind it is pretty genius: by the time I’ve succeeded in turning off the alarm, I’m 20 steps downstairs and wide awake.  I’m 30 seconds away from a cup of coffee.  I’m already in my bathrobe.  Tucker is at my feet anxipus for breakfast even though it’s 5:30 in the morning.  I can do this.

Office

Are you a snooze abuser?  What solutions have you tried?

Share your thoughts!