Alarm Clock Strategy

12 September 2010

sleep wake lifehack

I'm not a morning person by default. Life claims otherwise, though, so I've had to figure out how to wake up at a reasonable hour. Which is even more difficult when you throw in a little jet lag.

I play the typical games of setting my alarm 9, 18, or 27 minutes earlier than my target wake time. This gives me at least 1, 2 or 3 snooze cycles before having to drag my self out from the warm embrace of sleep.

Though, I'm amazed at how efficiently my sleep can adjust to a regular 9 minute interruption, and blow right on past my target wake time.

One alarm, 9 minute snooze, late!

At best, I'm 9 minutes late. Sometimes it's more like 27.

I use my iPhone as my alarm clock, docked next to the bed. Thankfully, it allows for multiple alarms. I've now taken to setting my typical N-snooze alarm, to gently ease me towards getting up. But now I also set a secondary backup alarm a mere two minutes after I really want to be awake.

Two alarms, 9 minute snooze, plus 2, okay!

By breaking the 9 minute cycle, the quick secondary alarm is like your mother standing over you, not letting you sleep the day away.

When the 2-after alarm goes off, my mind registers that I'm "late" since it's after the target time, but I'm not panicked since I'm not that late. Yet.

This is what I do to most successfully get up around 7am.

iPhone settings

If you were king...

28 March 2007

behavior lifehack

KingOfHearts.jpgIf you were king, would you fire everyone, close the company, and open a donut stand tomorrow? If you were king, would you give everyone on your staff an extra week of vacation and a top-of-the-line iPod? If you were king, would you tell Microsoft to bugger off? If you were king, would you have your company invest in that scrappy little startup down the street?

"If you were king..." sets the mental stage differently than "if you were me..." or "if you were the boss..."

When you're talking with someone and ask for their opinion, they bring in certain constraints to their answer. If you ask them to imagine that they are the boss instead, they will bring in the constraints that they imagine the boss might have.

By jumping on up to imagining they are king, it breaks the habit of thinking within constraints.

Kings don't have to follow the rules. They can knight people. They can behead people. They get to wear fancy robes and carry a bejeweled scepter. Very few of us actually know any kings, so these four little words of conversational judo can help you think more broadly.

What would you do if you were king?

Desk Flossing

13 March 2007

health lifehack tools

Floss! Just a quick lifehack that I've started recently, completely unintentionally.

I picked up a huge bag of DenTek Easy Angle(tm) Floss Picks ("Flossing Made Easy!") and keep them at my desk.

I previously thought I hated flossing. Now I've realized that I simply didn't like wrapping thin string around my fingers until they turned blue. The Floss Picks are nice.

The key is to use them when you're stuck on a long, mute-friendly conference call. It helps if you have a headset. Sure, you could surf the web or try to be productive, but you'll miss someone important say something even more important at just the wrong time if you let your attention wander too much. Flossing, on the other hand, is an activity that doesn't require you to take too much attention away from the call. Unlike trimming your finger and/or toe nails, flossing is a relatively quiet sport, suitable for cubicle dwellers.

I've flossed more in the past week than I had in years.

Give it a whirl. And don't forget to hit mute.