I Am Not Sleeping at Night

And I Hate Myself Just A Little For It

Who sleeps at night? People with schedules. When we are without schedules, what do we have then? I don’t know about other people, but I revert to a nocturnal system. Even before the stay-at-home orders of March, even before the record unemployment rate, even before the online transitions, I have always preferred night.

But now, I live with people I actually spend time with. Now? I can’t sleep the day away so much. Granted, there’s not that much I need to be doing, but there are still the chores of grocery shopping and the occasional eye appointment or dental cleaning or, God forbid, visitors when the waking hours are preferred, if not required. I’ve never liked it. I’ve said for years now that I’m training for my future life as a hermit, but I’m still in my twenties and I feel the dread of regret in the back of my mind like a dead tooth. I want something to look back on, something maybe resembling fun, but have yet to find my people. I truly believes that the TV show Friends set unholy expectations of both metropolitan living and friend groups. Who has six friends? It’s pulling teeth to name six people!

So, What Is My Plan?

I don’t know. I want to travel, but I would be alone, isolated, and forbidden from museums and operas in this time of crisis, not that I could afford it any more than I could when places were open. Granted, the world is slowly opening, moving on to what America has called Phase 2 or 3, but Europe has grown keen to our negligence and will eventually close borders to Americans because it’s impossible to hold them accountable for public health. It’s despicable, but I agree with Europe.

Now, I’m biding my time. I’m working on a home career, on freelancing, on saving and crossing off my adulting to-do list, like learning to drive and buying a car. I think in waves of “I should probably do this” and “who gives a shit,” about my weight and learning German and French, and reading the books I’ve accumulated over the years for this very excess of time. These are all things I’ll be glad to have done as an old woman, but I don’t do them! My self-discipline is in shambles, and I need to remedy it all. I’ve worked among people, very dedicated people, who are jealous of my eloquence and pointless body of knowledge who can get up, easily, at 5 AM and go running. I’m the jealous one!

Step One: Find a Method

So without work and meetings and classes to kick my sleep schedule back to rights, I need some way to regulate my waking hours to best benefit me. There are so many time-management methods out there, just look at Pinterest, but I’ve found one that requires a little gadget: the Pomodoro Technique. The “core” of this technique is 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks, all based on the efficiency and simplicity of the Pomodoro, or a tomato timer. I LOVE gadgets. I love little stupid things that have a particular purpose and functionality, and this seems like a good way for me to get hooked. I can’t even begin to express how pointless timer apps and smartphone calendars are at keeping me on task and on schedule, you can consult my two wall calendars and stacks of post-it notes about my inability to care about Google Calendar or the Notes app. I’m an analog girl! I have a wristwatch for Christ’s sake! And now, at this very moment, I’m typing on a classic keyboard connected to my little tiny MacBook Air. I could make a whole new post on my analog lifestyle (and I probably will) but that’s not the point. The little timer is perfectly sensible.

Step Two: Test the Method

Next, of course, you test it out. As I don’t have the little tomato timer yet I will have to test it at a later time, but this is when you try for a day or two to measure your life in 25-minute increments. Don’t want to try it right now? Read this article in the New York Times, which is where I learned of the technique myself for the first time. There are other articles about the Pomodoro Technique from Forbes, The Muse, Lifehack, and Business Insider.

It might take some time to get into the groove, but don’t give up just yet.

Step Three: Is It Successful?

Do you wake up with a task in mind? Are there more hours in the day? Is the anxiety still there, but, like, less and not so much about your life but for the world in general? Mood. Whichever technique you’ve chosen, just might be working! Self-discipline is a suspicious word as it means different things to different people (everything from dieting to exercise to studying to rehabilitation) but whatever your definition is, just know that getting out of bed is so, so, so important. Don’t get me wrong, being in bed is fantastic. Take a nap, why the hell not? Just remember that the world is still turning. It’s still waiting for you to succeed, whatever that means to you, and you’ll thank yourself later.