Hello. My name is Jae Dansie, and I’m a snooze button pusher.
Don’t think that’s a big deal? Oh, I push the snooze button almost mechanically, as though my sole purpose of every morning was to wake up briefly to push buttons before drifting back off to sleep.
At first I thought it was just my own laziness. And that might still be a big chunk of it, but it’s a big problem. Fortunately I have a flexible job. Basically as long as I get the 40 hours in every week, the time I arrive at work doesn’t matter to an extent. Before 10 is preferable. Anything post 10:30 is pushing it.
This has been a problem for a long time. During jobs that required a specific time I usually experienced panicked get-ready-quick mornings because I just had to press that snooze button. One. More. Time.
I know for most of the world the easy solution is to just get up. And once I finally got out of bed, I gave myself a strict scolding for sleeping in so long and wasting so much time and being late.
And then the next morning.
Sometimes the problem is I set my alarm for way too early when I’ve gone to bed way too late. I’m the type that needs 7-8 hours—leaning toward the 8. So if it’s midnight and I think I can get up at 6 to do a little writing before work…well, chances are slim to not happening.
I even tried repeating in my head over and over again before falling asleep, I will get up when my alarm goes off. I will get up when my alarm goes off. Oh crap! I didn’t get up when my alarm went off!
What’s a person to do?
Like any good child of the digital age, I turned to searching the internet. Because I tried the whole, hide your alarms, have a friend help you get up, program your stereo to come on with loud music, etc. etc. etc. While those things worked for a time (I think mostly out of novelty), believe me when I say I have the incredible ability to seek all those disturbances out, quash them, and return to slumber almost instantaneously.
So back to the searching. It was comforting at least to discover other people had this same problem. But no one had any real solutions. Not until I stumbled across this post by Steve Pavlina. (This is why I love the internet!)
I encourage you to read the whole thing, but for those who want the Cliff notes version: if you’re anything like me you’ve spent several years training yourself how to react to your alarm, and that is to ignore it. And then, if you’re trying to be a responsible sort, you’ll probably beat yourself up about your failure. But as Steve says:
Beating yourself up about your bad wake-up habits will not work — in fact, you’ll just condition these mental beatings as part of the very routine you’re trying to change. Not only will you not get up when your alarm goes off, but you’ll also automatically beat yourself up about it.
So what’s his solution? Training.
Okay, not exactly this kind of training. But sort of. A little more from Steve:
Now some people, upon encountering this conundrum, will conclude that they simply need more discipline. And that’s actually somewhat true, but not in the way you’d expect. If you want to get up at 5am, you don’t need more discipline at 5am. You don’t need better self-talk. You don’t need two or three alarm clocks scattered around the room. And you don’t need an advanced alarm that includes technology from NASA’s astronaut toilets.
You actually need more discipline when you’re fully awake and conscious: the discipline to know that you can’t trust yourself to make intelligent, conscious decisions the moment you first wake up. You need the discipline to accept that you’re not going to make the right call at 5am. Your 5am coach is no good, so you need to fire him.
Seriously, that 5am or 7am or whatever am coach I’m counting on to help me get out of bed needs the pink slip and he needed it a long time ago.
Okay, now it comes to what you have to do, and this is the silly part. At first I gave Steve’s post a healthy eye roll, but the further along I read, the more it made sense.
The idea is that your subconscious mind is really in control in the morning. And for those of us who had a crap coach that trained us to be perpetual snooze button pushers trained our subconscious minds to react to alarms by silencing them—not getting out of bed. Because of our coach’s terrible coaching, we can expect most mornings to give us the same result: we’ve overslept.
This is where the training comes in. Steve’s solution:
This is going to sound really stupid, but it works. Practice getting up as soon as your alarm goes off. That’s right — practice. But don’t do it in the morning. Do it during the day when you’re wide awake.
Yes. The idea is to practice responding to your alarm by getting up when it goes off.
Okay Judge Judy, stop with the—well, judging!
Here’s the thing. It works. If you follow what he says. You train yourself to respond to your alarm and then in the morning it’s almost like you’ve become a robot, following a command you didn’t even know was programmed in there.
All last summer I got up early and did a major rewrite of SHADE thanks to following this sage advice.
But here’s the catch (and there’s always a catch). If 5am coach is good at one thing, it’s getting his jobs back. You can fire him time and time again, but for some reason once he’s been fired he comes back to you sounding like a genius.
Oh, just five more minutes. What’s it going to hurt? Can’t you snooze once AND THEN get up? Just a little more sleep? Besides, you were up late, right? You’ve got to look after yourself.
When you break your conditioning you can slip back into old habits the very next day and suddenly you’re the snooze button pusher again. This has happened to me more times than I care to admit.
So it does have to do with my laziness, just not in the way you might think.
Once you’ve broken conditioning you have to go through the whole process all over again—at least I do. And it’s a bit time consuming and annoying to boot. Who wants to lay in their bed when they’re wide awake, set their alarm, pretend they’re sleeping, wait for it to go off, and get up to go do the first thing you’d do in the morning AND THEN go back to your bed and do the same thing all over again? Now ten more times?
A big part of the reason I’m doing this post at all is a sort of public commitment to fixing this problem. Again.
But also to let anyone out there who has this problem know that it’s likely something you’re going to be struggling with for a while. So buckle in and know that sneaky 5am coach is out for blood.
And for those of you with a partner or friend who have this issue, now you understand better how to help them.
What do you think? Do you have the snooze button issue? Are you definitely not a morning person? Could you press the snooze button for 3 hours given the chance? What do you do to help yourself get out of bed in the mornings? Let us know below.