And what makes me do it.
Looking through my day, I singled out one thing I often find myself doing that I recognize as poor choices.
My biggest vice: Getting up in the morning.
Most days I go to sleep full of motivation. (I have a theory that I am like a big, complicated machine that takes a while to get up and running and that also takes some time to shut down.) Making plans for the next day is always on my mind before I jump in bed. Realizing the amount of stuff I want to fit into this day I usually decide that I will have to get up early and I fall asleep pleased with that decision, looking forward to the productive day I’m going to have. This is where my problem starts because the Fridtjof that wakes up the next day has a completely different set of priorities, and on top of that list is sleep. And so, I hit the snooze button on my alarm. One time, two times, three times, and so on until all I have time for before I must get up is putting on some clothes. My productive day has started with disappointment. If I have any obligations it usually turns out okay since I hate to not keep appointments, but if I have none I can easily sleep for two or three hours more than planned, putting a major spanner in the works for the perfect day I envisioned the night before.
Aside from being my biggest vice, and something I face every day, I bring this up because it is so obviously an irrational decision. I know I have to get up at some point, I know it ruins my day, I know that I have (usually) gotten enough sleep to function, and I know I’m going to be mad at myself for not getting up earlier. I know that in every single aspect this decision makes my life worse, but I still do it. All the time.
Just for extra context. I know this is not a biological thing, when I wake up early I am completely fine for the entire day. Usually I feel better. Also, it is not because I loathe school or doing work. This is something I also struggle with if I am doing something on my own in the morning that I really like. Anytime I don’t have an obligation. So this is purely a bad decision.
So why do I keep doing it? I am reminded of a quote from the book “As I lay dying” by William Faulkner. He writes:
“I notice how it takes a lazy man, a man that hates moving, to get set on moving once he does get started off, the same as he was set on staying still, like it aint the moving he hates so much as the starting and the stopping.”
Perhaps it is not so much the being awake as the getting up that is causing my struggle. The phase change might just be the root cause of my troubles. This change, early in the morning, is especially challenging due to a couple of factors:
As my mind is clouded by wonderful sleep I wake up to the harsh noise of the alarm pulling me out of my dream-world as well as my warm and comfortable bed (I leave my alarm a bit away so I have to move to turn it off). I am now cold and tired and just two steps and one click of a button I am back to the wondrous place I was a minute ago.
Scope of the task
Waking up is starting the day and so leaving the bed I am in my head, not just going to the bathroom to have a shower, but simultaneously embarking on making breakfast, doing school, and fulfilling all of my life’s roles to the fullest extent. Which, to my tired and slightly confused self, seems oh so overwhelming.
Lack of presence
Dazed as I am, thinking of the day that was and the day that is to come, trying to decipher that weird dream I had tonight I am not really there. My brain is not fully on yet and I feel like I am in the back of my own head while my body just acts. Finally getting up after hitting the snooze button six times is not unlike the feeling you have doomscrolling realizing that 15 minute break suddenly turned into 45 minutes.
I believe these three points are transferable to most bad decisions we make in our day to day lives. The decisions where you are not really weighing the pros and cons of the different options, but where you rather instinctually go “eh, screw it”. However, now that we have some key factors identified, the job of the designer begins. Figuring out what mechanisms might counteract these and implementing them seamlessly into a normal day.