How to hack waking up

Have trouble waking up when you want? Yeah, me too.

When I set the alarm, my brain is like Mr Spock – full of logic, reasoning and good intentions. I’ll get up early because it makes sense and will be good in the long run.

When the alarm goes off, I’m in Homer Simpson mode and I become a lazy, snooze-button-hitting, hedonist.

In a situation like this, it’s good to have a few tools to hand. At the very least, I like to have a carrot and a stick.

My carrot is a great little trick which I embarrassingly can’t cite (if you know where is comes from, ping me and I’ll update the post), but which is amazingly effective.

“You can’t make any decisions whilst lying down”.

That’s it.

It sounds nuts, but it really works. Want to sleep in? Sure thing, but in order to make that decision, you have to get out of bed and stand up first.

Once you’re actually out of bed, you can generate a little more momentum (make a coffee, wash your face) and then staying up is easier, no matter what the time.

It’s a nice little hack which acknowledges that you’re not likely to be in the best decision making mode when horizontal.

If that doesn’t work (and it does 90% of the time) then, I tend to deploy the stick of shame.

For waking up, it comes in the form of this quote from Marcus Aurelius who, when he wrote it, was probably the most powerful man in the world. It’s from the Gregory Hay’s translation of Meditations and was probably written by Marcus Aurelius, in his tent while on military campaign.

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’

If the leader of the world can get himself out of bed to fight Goths in a cold, wet, field – then surely I can get up to make coffee.

If that 2000 year-old stick doesn’t work, then you can always got to Defcon 1 and set a super-loud, back-up alarm that will wake up your partner, and place it in the next room. But then you’re risking all manner of hell and not being able to wake up is going to be the least of your issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.