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If you are the kind of person who finds their nemesis in the form of a snooze button, then this blog article is for you.
I never used to think that the daily battle with the snooze button was a problem. But over the years, as I have become more aware of how precious my time is, it’s been a habit I have been determined to curb.
Perhaps you’re like me. The “just five more minutes” is something you need to quit… but you’re finding the warm lure of the bed covers just all too inviting. Damn you Egyptian cotton bed sheets.
I was recently leading a workshop on time management for the local branch of the mental health charity Mind* in London. One of the things that came up was everyone’s love affair with the snooze button.
Turns out we all had an issue with hitting the snooze button, wasting time in the morning, and the thought of getting out of our warm comfy beds left us with a feeling of dread. So much so, some of us went to extreme lengths to get a few more seconds tucked up.
Greg** even admitted to (in a previous job, he quickly added) always being late as he laid in bed a few minutes more and more, thinking up excuses for what he was going to say to his boss that day – we’ll come back to that later by the way.
“No big deal” you might be thinking – it’s just a few minutes, maybe 10 minutes, 15 minutes of snoozing at the worst”… no harm done. Right?
Well, no, wrong.
Waking up on time is essential for a successful, good day, because how you start your day is critical – start it off rushed, in a bad mood, berating yourself for not waking up on time… well it just doesn’t scream “I am someone who has got it together” now does it?!
Plus you know that it’s when you are stressed and in a rush, that you’ll make errors and bad judgement creeps in. So don’t do it to yourself.
Let’s be honest too, what an utter complete waste of time the snooze is! Seriously what are you going to achieve in that 15 minutes of snooze time – are you going to be getting any extra sleep? NO! You are just bloody procrastinating and putting off the obvious!
For me, the ‘wake up call’ (pun intended) was when I realised my “just 15 more minutes” was a whopping 75 minutes per working week… that is 300 minutes a month, aka five hours a month! That is almost a working day. It might be more for some, as people were openly sharing that their affair with the snooze saw them have up to an extra 20 adulterous minutes in bed.
Waking up when you intended, whatever the time, and not hitting the snooze button is something I used to struggle with – I envy, sorry I mean ‘admire’ people like my husband who ping out of bed when the alarm goes off, even at 5.15 EVERY DAMN DAY for cross-fit. He’s an ex-officer in the Royal Marines so I guess his discipline is now second nature. But for us normal folk who cannot be going through the world’s longest and toughest military training course, I have some tips for you.
This has been my personal goal of late, so I was more than happy to go off piste at the workshop and share some of my tips, which I want to share with you today.
The simple fact is we’re hard wired to be motivated by two things – a movement towards pleasure or away from pain. Makes total sense but the trouble is this is too focused on what we are receiving in the moment, not in the future.
We’re programmed for instant gratification.
Staying in bed is instant gratification, getting out into the cold is not. Even though the long term effects of not getting out of bed in time will lead to pain (wasted time, skipped gym sesh, telling off from the boss etc.), your brain’s desire for instant pleasure in the now is strong, so you have to override it!
Realise this and remember it the next time you feel yourself wanting to hit the snooze button, aim for the long term gratification.
When I was going through a rough patch last year, the battle with the snooze button was the worst. After all, why on earth would your brain be buzzing to get out of bed in the morning if you’re dreading your day ahead! This is when I started something that would make a huge difference for me!
Every day, before I even thought about whipping back the covers, I would say three things that I was looking forward to that day. Just small things. It usually revolved around food, like “I am looking forward to my lunch today” because I am a foodie and who doesn’t look forward to leftovers! This made a huge difference for my mindset because no matter how dire I thought the day ahead was, I had something to look forward to that was worth dragging my arse out of bed for.
So let’s go back to Greg… Greg is the one who admitted that in his last job he used to think of what excuse he was going to come up with for being late as he stayed in bed hitting the snooze button. He did this because he hated his job and had nothing to look forward to that day. This simple yet effective trick would have massively helped Greg see that even on the worst days there would be something to motivate him and to look forward to.
For me, one of the pains of getting up, especially in winter, is waking up to the pitch black. I seriously hate it! If you are like me why not invest in a plug-in timer for about a fiver, and plug your side light into it? If you set it to turn on 10-30 minutes before your alarm goes off, you can say goodbye to waking up in the dark!
Even better, go for a salt lamp – it gives off a soft glow that is less harsh to the eyes, but also has some great benefits. Thanks to the chunks of salt producing negative ions, these include, improving your breathing, purifying the air, raise energy levels, and improve sleep and relaxation.
One of the struggles in the morning is functioning and getting organised when you are half asleep and drowsy. It doesn’t exactly give us a drive to get up in the morning and just gives us another excuse not to get out of bed.
So why not get ready the night before. This also gives you the morning as a “buffer” for remembering anything you might have forgotten to do or pack for your day ahead. Anyone who’s read my time management tips before will know I love to add a buffer into things, to assist with my time management and planning. (If you are interested in improving your time management, you might be interested to check out my 12-week bespoke time management course”).
So make your lunch, get out the kids’ uniforms, pack your bag, put your gym kit by the door, print off those papers for the meeting… Whatever it is you need to do, prep it the night before for a stress free morning. Blogger Brighton Keller gives great tips for things you can do before bed to make the next day easier.
Finally, I got to admit this is not something I have given a try, but I have read testimonials about how useful this can be. There is no science to this. It works because to turn off the alarm, you have to physically get out of bed! Simple!
Make it a double whammy by setting the alarm to be a motivational “get your arse out of bed” kind of talk. There are plenty out there or perhaps even record yourself!
If this is too aggressive a tactic then just simply disable the ‘snooze function’ on your phone. Just because it is a default on your phone doesn’t mean you have to keep it!
If you found this useful, then you’ll love my other useful bits and bobs on time management:
And for more tips on the subject, check out these articles:
*Mind is a fantastic national organisation with local branches, supporting our nation with mental health. For more information go to https://www.mind.org.uk/
**name changed to protect the guilty 😉
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Other Blog Articles on My Web Site
Below are links to other blog articles that you might be interested to read.
Tony Robbins’ world famous “Unleash the Power Within” seminar. These are my three key lessons from the four-day extravaganza. Read them to propel your life to the next level.
Many of us get hung up on failure, or even just the thought of failure. It can be so debilitating that it stops us from trying again and living the life we want to. But in fact, I strongly believe that failure is a good thing. We could all do with a healthy dose of it once in a while.
When it comes to goal setting, you’ll have heard about SMART goals. But if SMART goals are the way to do it, then why do so many of us not achieve our goals? Here is why SMART goals are stupid and some top tips how you can improve your goal setting!
If you are serious about wanting to make life-long changes and positively transform your life, then I would love to hear from you. Let’s see how I can support you.
This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.
For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com.