Tag Archives: time

Short Cut to Deal with Sleep Shortage: Inflating the Count with Placebo

As the pace of society quickens, and we want to sardine as many tasks as we can into one day, short cuts and sacrifices are inevitable. Unfortunately, sleep always seems to be the unlucky candidate that gets the short end of the stick and told: “Sorry, maybe I’ll get to you tomorrow.”

Well, if these are just the facts and realities of the times, then we may have to be creative and find our own kind of placebo effect to convince ourselves otherwise, and maybe derive some unanticipated health benefits from our strapped circumstances.

Here is an example: We usually count sleep duration by erroring on the side that puts us in the category of being sleep deprived. We may be in bed 8 hours, but not all of it is quality sleep time. So, in our sleep journals, maybe we put total of 7 hours or even less to account for all the tossing and turning, aches, thinking, and, yes, procrastination. Accurate? Yes, but depressing. Realistic? Yes, but doesn’t do anything for the ‘feel good’ side of the ledger.

I want to argue that some days we should try to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If we are in the midst of a hectic period where the allotted time and hours don’t add up, then let’s skew the statistics in our sleep journals, a little bit. On the odd chance, in the odd morning, that you find yourself sleeping all the way to your alarm, with the alarm actually waking you up, but it still totals only 6.5 hours of sleep, then let’s inflate the numbers a bit. For myself, I imagine myself, and tell myself, that I could have slept another half an hour at least, if the alarm didn’t go home, then I’ll just reward myself with the bonus. I could have slept a quality 7 hours, so just give me the credit.

Will this placebo effect carry me through the day? I know I could be just deluding myself and this could actually have adverse effects on my health over the long term, but it sure feels better than fretting and dwelling the entire day over how I’m short of sleep. We can deal with the truth in therapy later on when things die down, but can we be allowed this short cut for the time being? Instead of always shorting ourselves of it, how about we go long for once? Really, I’m refreshed.

-Patrick Law



Filed under Short Cuts, Sleep

Silence Does Not Mean Assumed ‘Procrastination’

I am sorry. Since starting this “Procrastination Post” blog, in its current form, this has been the longest lag in between writings. I guess with the up front, obvious title of the blog, it already contains a ready made excuse for the gaps. Maybe it sets up the dismal expectation to expect many intervals of stunted growth, regression, stops and starts, and in inordinate number of apologies.

Sorry, I am not going to apologize, and I cannot accept our ‘Procrastination’ title as a motive to provide a convenient reason and acceptance of failure that is inevitable. I cannot. It’s as if we purposely put this label in bold font right out front, carrying placards to set the bar real low in order to minimize the impact from the fall when we trip.

No. I must insist that it is to the contrary of all these assumptions. It is to show, explore, consider what value can come out of digging ourselves out of the hideous hole we started with. And that we refuse to accept our predicament and struggle even more desperately to fight and climb. And that we will write to reflect light on another side of our world underneath. Our label is not something to trip over, step on, nor to foreshadow a message of upcoming weakness and disappointment.

And if I am, in fact, simply incriminating myself in this latest post and providing more evidence to fuel previous assumptions, then at least we can still be the prosecutors of our own guilt.

Thanks for your patience over past couple of weeks, knowing that even while we are silent, we are still writing and digging even more profusely than what can be sighted here.



Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Pat)

How Valuable Minutes in Our Lives are Stolen

Just called a friend on his cell. No answer, so was time to leave voice mail. Well, actually, it was time to wait. And wait. Do you notice that with some providers, there’s a lengthy wait time before there is a beep to signal you can go ahead with your message? Usually that time is filled up with a lady’s mechanical recorded voice giving you instructions on what most people already know how to do. Worse of all, that voice seems unnecessarily prolonged and dragged out. For the person trying to leave a message, it’s painful to wait through all this, especially if on a monthly plan with not many minutes. Do some companies have a purposeful intention to bombard us with these slowed-down recorded speeches so we use up valuable minutes?

Also, when we dial in to check our own voice mail and messages, why does this count against our minutes? And, again, when checking our own messages, there’s that pre-recorded voice again listing all the options out to waste time. Fortunately, usually we can just press a number to skip this and get to the function we want.

I understand that instructions are very important, especially for newer users, and people who are new to this area. But, can they have a little bit more urgency to them? Or, can they not make these count against our minutes? Or at least bill us by the second, instead of always rounding up to the minute.

Which brings us to another related issue on billing. I again wonder if this is purposely done to increase the likelihood of taking more money away from customers. The monthly cycle for billing usually falls near the middle of the month or some number that’s not intuitively obvious. Well, at least not as obvious as it would be if it just simply started at the beginning of every month. Of course if the customer really wanted to, she can probably go online or check somewhere how many minutes she has exactly used so far in present billing period, but many of us do not and just go by feel and memory, and that brings wide smiles to those companies. When our body naturally goes from first of month to end of month, it is harder to remember from the 13th of one month to the 12th of another month.

My bank does this as well and I end up with all these charges of making too many withdrawals or transfers in a month, but of course it is according to their idea of a monthly cycle.

All this is no excuse as most can adjust and avoid unnecessary fees if they wanted to. But, it’s just a bit disconcerting for customers when having to consider whether these companies plan to do this to make things less obvious.

Most don’t argue over a few minutes here or there, or the exact dates of a monthly cycle but, over time, a minute here or there, multiplied by millions of customers here or there, and that becomes a lot of minutes lost by us, and a lot of money gained by them. Is that why so many things are just not clear cut and obvious up front? When I first sign up for services, I never get told about exact dates, cycles, and how minutes work. We trial and error, we use, we often just pay without being aware, and are not told about the exact rules unless we ask ourselves. And sometimes we don’t bother asking, or complaining, because it’ll just end up costing us more minutes, more time, more frustration as we wait…

-Patrick Law

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Filed under Working

Deodorant Spray Instead of a Shower?

What happens when you maximize during workouts not only with intensity but with time as well? This is particularly intense when we try to squeeze in those training sessions at sunrise before going into work. What ends up being sacrificed? Well, surely not the workout itself. Get out of bed extra early, drive all that way, forgoing that warm breakfast, so damn it…no matter what…the workout is going to be damn good. Must be great. Not negotiable.

So, what goes? For a lot of people, it’s the showering afterwards. There’s no time! Cue the short cut! We workout and squeeze one more set of weights or stretching, and there goes the showering time. Deodorant can be put on even in a rush right? Can be applied in the car or while changing, or even while walking in the door at work. To make up for not showering, is it possible to put on a few extra coats?  To sort of extend and maximize the use of deodorant? Make it multitask?

If this is asking a bit much out of cheap, inexpensive deodorant, then maybe it’s a more fitting job for Tag Body Spray. That stuff is more expensive than it needs to be, probably because of suggestive advertising that exaggerates how the product is supposed to make you attractive to women. Fine, for something so pricey, it better be able to multitask! Spray, spray, spray liberally, as if you were under the shower!

Can this do the trick and get us through the work day until we can shower at home? How would this method rate on Mr. Manly’s Manly scale? Would he approve?

Happy shortcutting!

-Patrick Law


Filed under Short Cuts

Sorry, I’m Late. Traffic Congestion. Where? (Points and clicks at temple)

Oh my God! Late for work! What time is it? It’s just late! Simply late! What to do? Oh please, please, please run into a traffic jam. Yes! Yes! I am stuck in traffic! Never mind the fact that I woke up before the alarm, as usual, and stayed in bed thinking after stopping the alarm. And then some. Never mind that. Because now, it’s all irrelevant because I have a new cause outside my control. Traffic!

Wait, this may not cut it anymore. Maybe 5-10 years ago? But, not today. Not in today’s Calgary. Booming, growing, exploding city. I’m going to have to do better than that to satisfy my boss. Being stuck in normal rush hour traffic is not an acceptable excuse in the Calgary of today. Those at work will just tell me to leave earlier, wake up earlier. (Little do they know that I wake up real early but just have so much to do, so much to think about, so much to attempt to squeeze in before work erases my fantasies; don’t get me wrong, work is pretty good and not a tyrant, but it just happens to fall immeasurably short of my dreams)

Come on, now! Think creatively! I need an out. Why is it so backed up? Come on! Yes…turn on the radio! Oh yes! Oh, please, please, please God, let there be some kind of accident. Shoot, sorry, I apologize. That didn’t come out too kindly. I don’t mean to wish there be a major accident for my selfish purposes. Just…just..just..well…do you know those situations when traffic is backed up and you stretch and elongate your neck to try to see far into the distance expecting some kind of incident?

Okay, how about this? Oh God, oh please, please, please God, I wish there to be a stalled vehicle blocking the turning lane, causing an insurmountable delay. So, I listen intently on the radio with unwavering focus trying to find evidence for my late arrival to work. Nothing yet. Nothing still. Still nothing! What! I need something to be reported on my route that everyone at work is familiar with. Please! Please?

If coworkers hear about an accident or a stall on my route on their radio at work, then they’ll collectively nod in agreement and understanding as to why my chair remains empty. The irony is obviously not lost on me about how I’m ridiculously praying for an accident to save my life. What would God think about this? Again, as if to alleviate some of the guilt within me, I emphasize that by accident, I mean stall, or flat tire, or a truck losing its load – no bodily injuries!

I know what God thinks. He’s not impressed because I’m not getting any answer. None. Sometimes God speaks through the voices of others. Nope, none. God’s not on the radio. The traffic reporter listed a lengthy Christmas list of stalls, flat tires, non-functioning traffic lights, but nothing on my side of the city. Damn!

I don’t need no official statistical census to tell me that Calgary is growing. Many years ago, a traffic jam like this would surely mean some accident or out of the ordinary incident somewhere, and it would be reported on the radio. These days, however, this kind of traffic is simply just volume – not worth a second of airtime.

My coworkers are not going to be impressed. What should I do, what should I do? I have a thought. Yes. I drive a standard. I am not coordinated. Whoops, I let go of the clutch too soon, and I stall. Yes. And then I shall put my hazard lights on and check under my hood acting all confused? No. No, I don’t. I will just continue to drive to work inch by inch.

I’m no sociopath; I’m just a blogger with fantasies…

-Patrick Law


Filed under Detours: Psychology of Driving, Working

When “What’s the time?” is the Most Complicated and Painful of Questions

Sorry, long time no sleep. No, that’s not what I meant. I meant, long time no posting in this sleep category. That’s what I mean. Which, considering, can be a good thing, right? If I’m not analyzing, reflecting, probing for sleep material, does that mean I’m not thinking about it, and just, plain old Jane, sleeping? Wow. Damn. Well, whatever bliss I had, just being in the moment, is lost, cause here I am again, thinking about it.

Thinking about time, clocks, and alarms. If you happen to get up in the middle of the night, or early morning, do you take a peek at your bedside clock to alleviate the anxiety in not knowing what the time is? I know that when I was young, I always looked and felt such a giddy joy, relief, and satisfaction when seeing I still had more time left to sleep and then instantaneously my dreams picked up from where I last left off.

Today? I’m not so sure. To look or not to look, which is better for sleep satisfaction? These days, more often than not, I find it more effective to not let those time digits even get within vicinity of my peripheral. Why? Because I want to trust. If I just let go of time, and have a trusting mindset that the alarm will do its work, then should I not be more at ease and increase the chances I’ll settle back nicely into sleep? In addition, these days contrary to my youth, I dread and fear looking at the clock to see that I have a lot more time remaining to sleep. My reaction is usually: “Oh my God, I only slept 5 hours so far and I’m awake already! That means I’m only guaranteed 5 hours of sleep, and these next 2 hours…who knows what’s going to happen? What if I waste 2 hours trying to get to sleep?”

Because I don’t want these thoughts intruding when seeing the time, I try to avoid time all together. It does result in some fancy footworkand nimble agility to go to the washroom in the middle of the night with my neck strained at an angle to avoid the clock while the rest of my body tries to avoid tripping over things in the dark.

Obviously, choosing to not look at the clock is not unequivocally effective. Sometimes the effort it takes to avoid is quite strenuous and makes me too alert. However, at other times, it is quite humorous, and laughing allows sleep to come. Then there are times when after putting off looking at the time, my mind is constantly curious about what time it actually is. Should I try to sleep? Is it worth it? What if there’s only 15 minutes left until the alarm goes off? So just when I fall asleep, and start dreaming, I get rudely aborted? But, often, in this latest scenario, I look at the clock to see that I have 2.5 hours remaining. Damn!!!! I shouldn’t have looked at the clock. Now that other kind of thinking will kick in.

You know what? Do you think I would have been better off not writing this post? Or maybe pull the plug on all the clocks and rely on nature. Sunset, sunrise. Just go by feel? This may work if can get to sleep early, at more or less exactly at the same time every night. Do I attempt this but have a clock as a backup for the first month to see how accurate I am in predicting time by light? Keep a journal collecting data of bodily predicted time vs actual time? And if I’m close enough, totally pull the plug and live the rest of my life only using natural time?

Boss, sorry I’m late for work today. For some reason the sun didn’t come up this morning.

-Patrick Law



Filed under Sleep

The Effects of ’24’ on Procrastination

“The following takes place between 10 and 11 AM.”

Hi, I’m Dawn, and I went dark recently. Sorry for taking the expression from the popular series “24.” But, it’s relevant because it’s a major reason for my disappearance lately. At least that’s my story, and I’m going to stick with it and carry it out as far as it can go.

By the way, can’t help but notice how quiet it has been here lately. With the blog name being ‘Procrastination Post’, are we spending more time in the ‘procrastination’ phase rather than the ‘post’ phase? I’m as guilty as anyone. While Sheri mentioned in her post about a lightning bolt, I don’t have as good a reason for my invisibility. But I will say that I took some time away in an honest, though perhaps unproductive, effort to deal with my procrastination. How? I watched DVDs!

I know, I know, television watching perhaps does more to aggravate and exacerbate procrastination than anything else, but it wasn’t any old plain kill time thing I was watching. I was watching 24! And I was watching Jack Bauer – perhaps the one person who is as far away as procrastination as you could get. That’s right! I’ve been away these days, busy watching 24 to try to instill a sense of urgency in my life via watching other characters operating under intense circumstances where every minute is life and death.

Can there be anyone tougher than Jack Bauer? Not only does he survive repeated torture, and various extreme methods of interrogation, he has to immediately recover with no down time, put it aside, and focus on the moment for the very next crucial task. There is little time to mourn failure, unsuccessful missions, deaths, because something of higher priority awaits. And in situations where everything seems important, he needs to prioritize and constantly sacrifice things that will cause pain.

I just finished watching a scene where Jack Bauer had to make one of those impossible decisions to choose between killing his friend (a member of his own team) or letting his friend fulfill personal revenge against a terrorist who is needed alive by the US government. Jack Bauer killed his friend. Would a procrastinator be able to choose in such a scenario? Would a procrastinator be able to act in a scenario 1000 times less intense?

Am I just plain silly and stupid to be even referencing a work of fiction, a character who is not real, to spur motivation? Will 24 make me write more, write better, write consistently? Will it help me write more urgently to save or change lives? Or am I exhausted just watching the show, feeling as if by watching I also participated in urgent action and overcame procrastination? Then the empty feeling comes after when realizing all I did was watch, and acted upon nothing. Do most of us sit and contemplate on the backs of a few whose actions determine the course of a country? I don’t think I have done anything for my country except think about it.

Then again, if we tried to live our normal lives like 24, would we die of stress or have other health complications? But maybe it’s worth it to feel so alive, so significant, and immersed in activities of impact? Or can I request to have 1 hour out of every 24 to be that intense? I guess what I’m looking for is some guarantee on time, some extreme risks with a safety net, but once I place a contingency on the moment, then I may as well be procrastinating again.

I’ll have to disappear again, and try to engage in 24 a little bit more effectively. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Actually, if successful, I won’t have to let anyone know…as significant change will be evident in itself without digging for minute details.




Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Dawn)