3 min read

the case against idle time

the case against idle time
Photo by Ryoji Iwata / Unsplash

Turns out procrastination and insomnia have the same cure.

See, the best technique for chronic insomnia involves limiting the hours you spend in bed. It's called CBT-I.

With CBT-I, you limit your hours in bed to a little less than your sleep duration. If you spend 9 hours in bed and 5 hours asleep, that's terrible sleep efficiency. So reduce your hours to 4.5 or 5 hours in bed. During the day, sleep pressure will build and you'll find it easier to fall asleep. Over time, you can increase your sleep duration while still falling asleep in less time.

It checks out that my best sleep this month was a week when I was out with friends every single day. I kept getting home a little past my bedtime and you can bet it was easy to fall asleep.

the best $50 I ever spent on sleeping better
I’ve had the most consistent sleep schedule of my life the last two weeks. I’m not even fucking with you. All because of an Amazon order on Saturday, January 27th... Let me tell you why you should part with $50. lack of sleep can f*ck up your day I’m

A great technique to fight procrastination is similar. It involves limiting the hours you spend working and it's called the Unschedule. With the Unschedule, you schedule activities besides work first. That might be social time, exercise time, time for guilt free play. During the time you're not working, pressure to work slowly builds. When you eventually do work, you're an absolute beast.

I cranked out an incredible amount of work in a short time today thanks to this effect. I got to the office today feeling that subtle pressure of "I gotta get to work". I had chosen to not work the previous evening (thank god) despite some pressing tasks. So I was able to ride the subtle pressure this morning and get so much done in less time. It was more fun too.

write a declaration of work boundaries. here’s mine.
It’s just a job - My manager Dear Reader, I choose to not work evenings or weekends. Even if: * I woke up late. * I procrastinated a lot. * An exec messages me at 6:01pm. * It’s crunch time, like annual planning season. Further, I choose to make time for the following

In contrast, if I did work the evening, I would have dragged my feet and spent a lot longer on the same tasks.

Most tasks are elastic in how long they take. You're more efficient at tasks when you feel that subtle pressure to finish within the hours you have for it.

Then perhaps the best advice for procrastination is to become a parent. Parents might only be able to work from 10am-4pm. But you can bet they feel a pressure to Get Shit Done during working hours that a new grad with no commitments does not.

Parents have incredible work efficiency.

You can't become a parent?

The next best thing, have a busy life.

Try to do a lot, and you'll make great use of your time.