Wow, I had no idea how habitual my routine had become. I said when I was preparing for this sabbatical that I was going to get rid of my alarm clock. Until this week, I have not used it, and that’s been a very good thing. But now I’ve used it three days in a row because I have agreed to some early morning commitments (like an 8:00 am veterinary appointment I had scheduled when I was still trying to not miss too much work, and breakfast with a friend). Here is what I have learned.
- The buzzer alarm is ANNOYING. It is a rude, jarring way to wake up.
- The radio alarm is slightly less annoying, but it’s strange to wake up to some man’s voice in your bedroom when you’ve finally adjusted to sleeping alone (or with two dogs who don’t talk that way).
- My natural rhythm is to wake up around 8:00 am, give or take half an hour. My preferred routine is to take care of the dogs’ needs, make coffee, have a bowl of cereal, read a little, and take my time gently introducing myself to whatever “work” I have planned for the day. If I get up earlier than that (via alarm clock), I do feel a little on edge for most of the morning.
- My natural sleepy time if I get up around 8:00-ish a.m. is around 11:30 pm, give or take half an hour. When I get up before 6 am (as I have done for tooooo many years), I am ready for bed before 9 at night.
- When I’m feeling most productive is around 10:00 am (for a few hours), and again about 3:00 (for a few hours), and once more around 7:00 pm (for another couple of hours).
- I still think like I’m tied to a Monday-Friday workweek. I find myself “preparing” for Mondays on Sunday night, with the buff-and-polish routine (nail routine, for example). I also notice that on Fridays, I am planning two days “off” and waiting until Monday to start reading or writing again.
What I need to do is, first, check out some apps for my iPhone that will wake me more civilly, with meditation or affirmation or a nice chiming sound. And second, consolidate all my appointments into one calendar or planner system, and depending on what the purpose is, not schedule 8:00 am meetings. At least until I feel like I have given my sleep-deprived body adequate time to reset its internal clock.
And then I need to be open to the idea of having my “weekend” during the week when the stores aren’t so busy, and the traffic patterns have changed. Today I scurried to get my car washed and my hair cut once I realized it was Friday; these are chores I would normally have tried to fit in on Saturday morning. And then I also became aware that I don’t need to agonize over not having started my Christmas shopping yet, since I have way more than just two weekends to get it done in…I have 14 days or 10 days if you take off everyone else’s weekends!!
It’s interesting how I conditioned I am to those getting-up and getting-going routines. I am going to work on that mindset in the next few weeks and look for some sustainable alternatives.