We lead lives filled with constant bells and whistles. Unfortunately, not the kind that mean upgrades! Instead, I’m referring to the constant alerts that sound during your day, starting with the alarm clock signaling that a new day has begun to the wristband alert at night reminding you to take your medication. The good news is that these alerts help you remember all the things you need to get done. Unfortunately, there’s a bad news part too.
The most insidious feature of most alarm systems is the “snooze” option. Disguised as a benefit, the snooze button really only allow you to defer the inevitable. And, in doing so, it distracts you from what you were focusing on before the alert sounded. This may seem like no big deal. But let me illustrate why you should stop smacking the snooze button.
People use alarm clocks to wake up in the morning, and most set the time so that they can hit the snooze once … twice … thrice … ? The oft-stated reason for this is the chance to semiconsciously linger in the warmth of the bedding, gradually preparing for the coming day. How idyllic.
Here’s a different take on that same situation. Most snooze buttons are set to re-sound the alarm every nine minutes or so. So when you set the alarm for 30 minutes prior to the time you need to actually get up, you’ll hit snooze at least three times. In effect, then, you are robbing yourself of 30 solid minutes of good sound sleep! And most of us aren’t getting the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep as it is!
The message here? Stop relying on snooze. All it does is distract you from getting something more important done. Instead, the best practice here is to set the alert time for the “right” time, whether for waking up or for the time you need to prepare for an upcoming meeting or calendared event.
You can actually control many of the distractions you suffer. The snooze function is one of them. Give yourself a break from the noise and see if you don’t get more done—and enjoy it more.
Paul H. Burton is a productivity expert who helps people meet the challenges of the modern workplace. He is the developer of QuietSpacing, a customizable productivity system that helps busy people increase focus and results on the job. A popular speaker, Paul provides interactive training programs and customized coaching services. Earlier in his career, Paul practiced corporate finance law in Portland, OR.