16) Getting up earlier

Hhmm.  I've just come from reading a really, really good post (as all Havi's posts are) at The Fluent Self.  It's also based around getting up earlier.

Now, her post isn't really about getting up earlier.  It's about implementing incremental change.  It's about being kind to yourself, making things easier, not expecting huge changes to happen (literally) overnight.  And I love it, and agree with it, I really do.  Incremental change is about the only way I can achieve anything, which is why my lazy-ass sourdough method is working so well, and why this shouldn't be read as an attack on the wonderful Havi (or on Selma, the fabulous duck).  I am not throwing shoes.  But this has reminded me of a thought which has come round and round again recently, and which I think bears stating.

[disclaimer: I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is fairly well
managed by balancing all my activities over the week.  It's possible that
some folks could happily trim their sleep in the week and catch up at
the weekend.  That wouldn't work for me.]

So.  Getting up earlier to do more is a bit of a sore point for me.  If you want to get up two hours earlier, what else is going to have to give?  Most people I know have over-busy lives.  They have jobs, families, homes, hobbies.  Most people are a little bit tired all the time, yet we still want to fit more in.

There is an assumption in this world that getting up earlier is Virtuous.  It is somehow Healthy and Productive and Laudable.  Going to bed late, though, is regarded as Foolish.  The Lazy, Feckless and Irresponsible stay up till two in the morning.  But, whenever you hit the sack, whenever the alarm clock goes off, there are still only 24 hours in the day, and you are still going to need to sleep for around 8 of them (six if you're lucky).  If you find getting up is too hard, it's probably not because you're lazy, it's more likely because you're tired.  And needing sleep is not a moral failing.

A question:

What would your reaction be if a friend said, "I'm going to start going to bed two hours later so that I can get more done"?

In short, getting up two hours earlier doesn't add two hours into the day.  It probably means you're going to need to go to bed two hours earlier as well.  Sure, if you don't use your time well in the evenings, but are productive in the mornings, then it might well help you to change your hours, but why not just look at the way you use your time?  It might be easier.

One comment

  • Well said. I need my sleep too. I know this and yet I’m not always good at ensuring I get it. I am though good at pushing myself harder and harder to get everything done, until I can take no more and collapse in a heap, which is probably why I got ill in the first place. (I was diagnosed with post-viral fatigue about 18 months ago. I’m better than I was, but not completely. The more it goes on, the more I wonder if this is as well as I’m going to get and I just need to accept that and adjust accordingly. Which I have, but I’m bored and frustrated and want to do more). Sorry, comment turned into rantette.
    Note to self: plan your time more and remember to plan in relaxation and fun stuff.

    12th February 2010

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