The modern alarm clock can be a deadly, life-stealing, procrastination-training device. It comes with a feature that destroys the foundation of all success: me management. It does so by providing you the ability to push a button and reset the alarm to go off at some later time. Most of these snooze alarms are set to give you nine minutes more sleep.
One push of the button allows you to go back to sleep for nine minutes. A second push and you have lost eighteen minutes. Pushing the button a third time, and you have given up a full half hour of your day. But you have really given up something far greater.
“What’s the big deal, Iannarino,” you say. “It’s only nine minutes.”
The big deal is that you have made a commitment to yourself to wake at a certain time. When that time arrives, you groggily renegotiate that commitment. You postpone the keeping of that commitment to avoid the tiniest bit of discomfort and to gain the tiniest bit of pleasure.
During the extra nine minutes of sleep, you aren’t gaining much in the way of quality sleep or improved energy, but your self-discipline is evaporating. You are training yourself that it is okay to procrastinate, and that nothing really bad comes of failing to keep your commitments. You are destroying your “me management.”
You set your alarm to a certain time for a reason. You made the commitment with the intention of doing something with that time. Without rising when the alarm sounds, you aren’t keeping your commitment to wake at the time you decided, and you aren’t keeping the more important commitment to do whatever it is that you need to do with that time. Maybe you set the alarm with the intention of exercising in the morning before work. Or maybe you set it so you would have enough time to read, to develop your business acumen, and to improve your personal effectiveness. I don’t know what you intended to do with your time, but I know it was something more important to your life, your health, and your long-term happiness than nine extra minutes of sleep.
Taking Back Your Nine Minutes
The power of nine minutes is that it is the ultimate expression of your “me management,” your ability to make and keep commitments, starting with the commitments you make to yourself. Even what you might have believed was a trivial commitment like getting out of bed when the alarm sounds.
Take back your nine minutes. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get out of bed at the sound of your alarm. Instead of allowing your alarm clock to be a procrastination-training device, use it as a “me management” training device.
It’s only nine minutes. But those nine minutes mean everything. There is a tremendous power in nine minutes.
Don’t hit the snooze button for the next week. Tell me how it feels after the week is up.
What will you do with your nine extra minutes?
What you do with your newfound power to avoid procrastination?
Are the most successful people you know disciplined? Are they extraordinarily disciplined in the areas of their lives that really matter?
What do you need to do to be a better “me manager?”
Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.