Screw You, Snooze Button

alarm clock

A Quick Note: This post originally appeared in “The Load In” the weekly email from Startup Musician. To get it before it hits the blog, sign up below.

The time I most get excited about ideas is late at night. This is the time when I feel invincible, and inspired to start new things. Notice I said “inspired to” and not straight up “actually succeed in starting new things”.

I write out my ideas, go to bed with giddy excitement for what tomorrow will hold. “Tomorrow is the day!” I tell myself. I’m finally going to start _________. This blank has been filled with many things over the years, and yours is different than mine, but you get what I’m talking about, right? You can barely contain your excitement, you’re ready to get going in the morning!

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But what inevitably happens, EVERY SINGLE TIME? I snooze my alarm “for just 15 mins” which quickly turns into 30, and then 45, and then soon I’ve been snoozing for 2 hours and I haven’t gotten anything done. By the time I actually get out of bed, I’m tired, groggy, cranky, and now I have no time to work on my amazing thing. Just 14 hours ago (man, I slept for a long time) I was ecstatic just thinking about this idea. But now, I’m out of time, the busy-ness of the day has started, and there’s no time to do the thing I wanted to do.

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Me, most mornings.

PLEASE TELL ME THIS ISN’T JUST ME

For you this could be practicing, writing, producing, mixing, or any other number of things to help you build your career. It’s the things you know you probably should do, but when the day gets busy, it’s the first thing to get cut.
 

Here’s what I’ve noticed about myself

If I don’t have to get up in the morning, I’m not going to. It doesn’t matter how excited I am the night before, if the options are work on stuff that doesn’t have to get done, or sleep, I’m choosing sleep every time. In all fairness, I’m a different person in the morning. I’m not Brandon, I’m “Morning Brandon,” a much crankier version of myself (ask my wife or former roommates).

So what’s the solution?

Schedule something that you HAVE to get up for. Something that, if you don’t make it, you’re going to be letting someone down. For me, I teach bass at a college down the road. Rather than schedule all 7 of them at once, or shoot for the afternoons, I’ve intentionally scheduled them to start at 8 am on 2 different days (three on one day, four on the other). This forces me to wake up early. If I don’t, I’ll leave my students hanging. Because of the way I’ve split it up, I’m done at 10:30 am, and wide awake. Now it’s on with my day, on to the passive, creative projects that want to do. If it weren’t for the early lessons, I would probably be snoozing until 10:30 anyway (real talk), then having to rush to a packed afternoon of lessons.
Obviously, if I’ve got a late night gig the night before, this is much tougher. But I know myself, and I know that if I can sleep, I absolutely will (even if I’ve gotten enough already).

What does this mean for you?

Your schedule is totally different than mine, but the concept is the same: force yourself to wake up in the mornings by scheduling something that you have to wake up for. Make it so that someone will be disappointed if you don’t. This sets your day up well and builds momentum through the day, so you can actually work on the stuff you want to work on.