09 February 2010

enough to create insomnia

I have never been a morning person. Even as a five-year-old child, I had a hard time getting to sleep at my prescribed bed-time, and I hated getting out of bed. This is not necessarily because I'm asleep in the morning; often I'm awake, but I'd just rather stay in bed. I can enjoy the warmth, the cushiness, and read a book, check my e-mail via my internet tablet, or even just stare out the bedroom doorway and admire how nicely the pale blue-green paint on the bedroom walls goes with the bright red couch and creamy pale yellow paint in the living room.

Ironically — okay, it's past ironically, so cruelly —I have always had jobs which required me to be at work dead early, earlier than most of the other cubicle-dwellers. I'm very fortunate to be at a job I like right now, and one of the things I like about it is that there are enough early starters that no-one comments on when I come in. In previous jobs I was always one of the first ones, and some lark would always praise me for it. It's hard to be gracious and say thank you when you're double-checking your caffeine intake is sufficient and trying not to think of how much you'd rather be lying in at home, finishing the book you're reading.

Supposedly there are Lots of Studies out there proving that larks are more successful than night owls like me. I don't doubt it. They're always waking me up too early, while I have to be careful not to disturb them at night. So I lose sleep while they don't. Think about it — why are noise regulations all about keeping quiet at night, but not in the morning during those last few crucial hours to sleep?

The other things larks do is pile on the list of things that could become Successful Habits if only you got up just a teensy bit earlier. Here's my list of things morning people tell me to do in the morning:
  • exercise: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes to change in and out of exercise gear (40 minutes total)
  • write morning pages (15 minutes). In real life, every time I try to do this, I fall asleep in my writing-spot and it takes me more like 45 minutes. But let's say 15 to do it as prescribed.
  • have a nutritious hot breakfast, cooked fresh, and eat it (30 minutes — 15 to cook, 15 to eat)
  • meditate (15 minutes)
  • work on my novel (60 minutes)
All that adds up to... 160 minutes, or 2 hours and 40 minutes.

I do not move quickly in the morning. Today, this night-owl's alarm clock goes off at 5:15am. So if I added in extra time to do all that larky stuff, I would have to get up at... 2:30am?

2:30am. That's not a waking-up time. That's a going-to-bed time.

And for the pseudo-larks out there who like to toss their heads, smile smugly, and say, "Oh, that. I always get that ready the night before so I don't have to worry about it in the morning," there's already lots to do in the evenings and on weekends. Adding on to that total another 160 minutes of tasks doesn't help.

So what to do? Work smarter, not harder, I suppose. I have my own list of tricks for how to get things done. What about yours?

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