Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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I posted the other day about trying to get back into the habit of early morning walks. Unfortunately, I failed to continue that habit the very next day (hopefully I’m able to succeed on upcoming days). The main reason I failed is that I was unable to sleep early on the preceeding night. My sleep cycle is horribly irregular, given my flexible working hours. I tend to be easily tempted to take naps at odd hours.

Not that there’s anything wrong with naps mind you. But it’s probably better if my naps were predictable, like say, a quick nap after lunch (when I’m likely to be sleepy anyway), instead of the irregular schedule I have now which messes up my sleep cycle.

The common advice for fixing a sleep cycle is to have a regular time of the day when you go to bed and sleep, so that your body gets used to sleeping at this time. This has proven… difficult for me.

I think I really need to find the discipline to establish a regular routine, with scheduled naps throughout the day if needed. Routines have a few benefits:

  • it makes it easier to establish new habits if they’re incorporated into a routine. I noticed this with my Duolingo lessons, the past few weeks I’ve always been doing them right after breakfast, still sitting at the table. I bring my iPad with me during breakfast for reading the news, so it’s easy to transition into the Duolingo app. Doing it a regular time and so early day makes it a lot less likely that I break the streak.
  • it reduces the amount of decisions you need to make during the day, and can also reduce procrastination. For example, if I allocated certain hours of the day to be “productive hours” and some hours to be “gaming hours” and so on, I don’t have to make that decision during the day. And I can’t procrastinate on being productive, since I know the rest of my time is already allocated
  • having a regular rhythm makes it easier to get through difficult days

The main downside of a routine like this is… it’s boring! I dislike heavily regimented schedules that are predictably always the same. I mean, that may even be one of the reasons why I’m not working full-time anymore. I’ll need to think about this some more. A kind of hybrid approach where some time blocks are more flexible might be more feasible for me, or maybe a varying schedule depending on the day. We’ll see. But for sure I have to do something!

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