Tag Archives: waking up

No conception of time

I’m always going to bed way too late, like I try to commit myself to being asleep by midnight, but it never happens. I don’t know why, but whenever I try to get myself to abide by a schedule, time has a way of skipping past my consciousness in twenty-minute chunks at a time. So I’ll be on the computer, it’s eleven forty-five, I think, OK, fifteen more minutes and then I’ll go to sleep. And then it’s past two in the morning.


That’s OK, I’ll tell myself, as long as I get up early, I’ll make up for the lost time. But my alarm goes off and my body gets out of bed and walks across the room to shut it off, all without even disturbing me from my sleep. And then it’s ten o’clock. Which, yeah ten is kind of late to sleep in, but I work at night, and so it’s not totally unreasonable. And besides, I still have five or six hours before I have to head back to the restaurant, I should be able to make constructive use of my time.

And then it’s noon, and I’m still in my pajamas. And actually starting the day, it shouldn’t be this hard. But there are so many little steps that I need to complete to get past this late morning limbo that I’m stuck in. I need to brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, get dressed, make the coffee, take my dog for a walk, come back in, eat breakfast, and then brush my teeth and take a shower.

But I’ve been thinking about it too much, how I’m going to get started right away, how if I can ust concentrate on completing each mini task as efficiently and quickly as possible, I shouldn’t really have to spend more than half an hour, tops. But now it’s getting close to one-thirty, and so the idea of breakfast is slowly starting to merge into where lunch should be. I’m figuring that I’m probably only going to have enough time for one meal, something closer to three, I’ll make myself a big sandwich or I’ll buy some pizza and I can just eat my cereal as a dessert.

It’s too much thinking, I can’t believe I’ve already spent this much time not doing anything, two o’clock already and I’m still in my pajamas. Wasn’t I supposed to get some writing done? Didn’t I have plans to go for a run, maybe get to the gym? Nothing’s going to fit into my schedule anymore. And I’ve got to be real here, I don’t have a schedule, I don’t have anything, not even a basic conception of how long a minute lasts, ten minutes, half an hour.

Shit, I’ve really got to get going, at this point I’m going to be late for work. It’s OK, I’ll just drink coffee when I get to the restaurant. Hopefully I’ll have enough time to grab a stale bagel at the coffee shop next door. What about my writing? Well maybe I’ll get some done when I get home from work. That’s what I’ll tell myself, even though I know it’s never going to happen.

Or, I wish that I could tell myself that it’s never going to happen. If I were sure that there was no chance of me coming home and starting my productivity at close to midnight, I’d put it out of my head, I wouldn’t entertain the possibility that it could happen. But once out of every thirty or forty times, I actually will come home and start working. I’ll get this insane focus to just sit down and crank out some writing. And it’s not forced and I’m not compulsively checking the Internet every ten seconds.

I’ll plow through three, five, ten pages of writing, this is crazy, I can’t even get ten pages of writing out if I have a whole day off, something that I’ll dedicate strictly to productivity. And I’ll be so into it that I’ll start to fool myself, like yeah, I’m doing it right now, there’s no reason why I won’t be able to get this done tomorrow also.

And so I’ll wake up late the next day, but it won’t matter, because I’ll have gotten done so much work the night before. And I just loaf around all day before going to work but, whatever, I’ll just do that nighttime thing that I did last night. But I’m sitting at my computer and it’s happening. And then it’s three in the morning, I give up, I think OK, I’ll just get up early in the morning and make up for all of this time wasted. But why can’t I ever hear my alarm clock going off? And what am I doing all day when I should be up and going? Why does so much of my life feel like I have no control over anything, not big-picture stuff, not even minute-by-minute decisions? It’s like I’m sitting on top of a giant cork that’s exploding from a huge bottle of Champagne or … no, that’s ridiculous imagery, I’m trying way too hard, it’s like I’m on a really long waterslide, lots of twists and turns, I’m constantly feeling my body lift off the tube, and then I’m pressed up against the side, all I can really do is try to keep my neck somewhat straight, there’s too much water in my eyes for me to see, but hopefully I can keep my nose and throat open long enough for me to take the occasional breath of air … no, that’s equally crazy, I still feel like I’m forcing it, and I can’t believe this took me forty minutes to write, I was banking on twenty, and now I think I’m going to be late.

First things first

Prioritization, it’s one of the cornerstones of getting stuff done. Maybe it’s the only cornerstone. But I guess then you’d have to imagine everything that you’re getting done as being in the shape of a giant capital L. It doesn’t matter, I said the word cornerstone, I don’t know why really, why do I pick any word over another word? It’s all just some unoriginal way to say something unoriginal. I could have said bedrock, foundation, you know.

But I’m talking about getting your priorities in order. It’s essential, before committing to any task, to figure out what you’re going to do first, then what you’re going to do second, right? All the way until you’re finished. But even then, you’re hardly done prioritizing. Because that thing that you just prioritized, that’s just step one in a multi-stepped process which all culminates in everything that you do, your life.

And it’s why I can’t get anything done, I’m terrible at prioritization. I wake up in the morning and I try to just will myself to get things together. I sit straight up out of bed and I say, “First things first,” and I say it with meaning, hoping that that meaning will kind of launch me into the day, like I’ll intuitively know what I’m supposed to do next.

But, and I’ll take yesterday as an example, I woke up, I said, “First things first!” but then I started thinking, well, shouldn’t I have gotten out of bed first and then said first things first? Come on Rob! Get your priorities together. And so I decided I needed to reset the day, so I laid back down and told myself, fall asleep Rob, go to sleep and wake up again and you’ll have a clean slate, a brand new opportunity to really put things in order.

But I should have set a cell phone alarm. You know how it is when you first wake up, right? For me anyway, until I actually get out of bed, go downstairs, and have a cup of coffee, it’s not like I’m really awake, awake. What I mean is, until I have that caffeine pumping through my system, I could at any time hit my head to the pillow and resume sleeping as if I had never woken up in the first place.

Which is what happened, and this is just stupid, typical me not setting out my priorities in a prioritized fashion, I woke up to my alarm clock, I turned it off, there was the whole, “First things first!” followed by everything that I just talked about, and then I hit that pillow, I went back to sleep. The next thing I know I’m sort of waking up naturally, really almost groggy from what I’d soon discover after looking at the clock was way too much sleep. What time was it?

It was almost eleven thirty. Talk about not having my shit together. My dog was whimpering at the bottom of the stairs because he had to go to the bathroom, so I threw on some shorts and took him out, all the while squirming because I myself hadn’t even gone to the bathroom yet, and so I felt bad, I didn’t give him a chance to really get out there, to really sniff the ground or pick a spot, and it’s that whole thing about, priorities man, your plane’s going down, you make sure that oxygen mask is on you before you start helping out the little kid sitting next to you, in my case, the dog who just refused to go to the bathroom, and yeah, maybe I was pulling his chain a little too hard, but man did I have to pee, and it was this whole thing with me not having my keys in those pants, so, and I’m such an idiot, I tied him up front while I hopped the fence in the back. I couldn’t get into the house, but at least I could pee in the backyard, but as soon as I unzipped my fly I hear, “Rob! What the hell are you doing?” it’s my wife, I’m like, “Baby! What are you doing home?” and she’s like, “It’s Saturday! What the hell are you doing? Where’s the dog?” and I’m like, “He’s tied up out front!”

I’ll cut to the chase. She got up early, it was Saturday, I had just forgotten, I think I forgot to add keeping track of what day it is in that list of priorities, and she took the dog out already, that’s why he wasn’t peeing. It was almost lunchtime. “What if the neighbors see you?” she was screaming out the window, and I was like, “I don’t know, why don’t you scream a little louder and maybe they’ll look out back to see what’s going on!”

And I was starving. I wanted a bacon egg and cheese but it was almost lunchtime, and come on, what kind of a prioritizer am I supposed to be, eating breakfast for lunch, on a Saturday, I think I work on Saturdays, I should have checked my schedule, maybe that’s what all of those missed calls were. It’s about understanding the importance of getting up on time, returning phone calls, man, priorities, right? First things first.