Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.Ursula K. Le Guin
Tell me if this sounds familiar: the morning started with grand plans and although you got some things done, you quickly progressed into a busy day at work, having to look after the kids, running around to appointments and errands, or some combination of all of the above. You didn’t get as much “you” time during your day as you thought. You barely said hi to your partner all day. Then, the night comes and you get some downtime (FREEDOM!!!), so you “get revenge” on that lack of you time during the day by staying up late.
Makes sense, and it isn’t hard to see why it happens. Anne-Laure Le Cunff wrote recently about this notion of revenge bedtime procrastination, and I’m guilty of it.
Bedtime procrastination becomes revenge bedtime procrastination when the decision to delay sleep is in response to a lack of free time earlier in the day. Staying up late and carving out some leisure time even if we feel tired and need sleep becomes a way of getting revenge on daytime hours with little free time.
See, something all parents of young children know is that kids don’t sleep in late. In fact, they generally wake up at the same time every day. No matter what time you go to bed, that wake-up time is fixed.
Another thing parents of young children know is that you generally only get narrow windows of alone time in the hours (minutes?) before they wake and after they go to sleep, and in that time you need to sleep as well sometimes.
It makes sense to be trying to make those narrow “alone time” slots the fullest they can be. I’ve just been doing it wrong. I LOVE my morning time so much I try to create “second mornings” at night, instead of just letting the morning be the morning and the night be the night.
I have a bad habit of trying to cram too much into the day, a symptom no doubt of modern-day hustle culture and my own neurotic self-improvement schemes.
I also have a bad habit of staying up late to get revenge on a day that wasn’t 10000% productive, only to find (again-and-again) that the night isn’t when I am actually at my best for 80% of the things that I think I need to be doing (i.e. writing, admin, projects, etc). Those things are what mornings are for. 😃
The trouble with all of this is that:
- I don’t give myself a break
- I don’t use the time to pay attention to my relationships (hi to my lovely wife 💕)
- I steal time from when I AM really good at doing the things I love: the mornings! Anyone who know me knows I love the mornings. Why would I steal from them?
The best morning starts the night before.Anonymous
If I were to be really honest, the way I want to spend an evening is not to try to get things done, but to pay attention to my relationships, read, listen to music, and do nothing.
Instead of using the night to get more time to do things, what if I tried to do less?
Instead of using the night to get more time to watch Netflix with Kav (no one can watch just one episode you know), what if we had a drink together on the front porch?
Instead of stealing time and trying to create a second morning, savor the uniqueness of the evening.