like a bad penny

Not long ago, Pete mentioned an article he’d read about forming habits. How you needed to do something so many days in a row before it became a true habit. The idea was that you write daily, or excercise, or perform some sort of task on a daily basis, without fail, until it became engrained and part of your daily routine.

They didn’t mention the bad stuff. Like how I enjoy lying down on the couch after work, before I have to get dinner ready, and falling asleep for thirty minutes with Scrubs on in the background.

It’s a terrible habit. It adds no words to my novel, it fails to wash the dishes or clean the kitchen, and while napping, for some reason, my clothes don’t iron themselves. I justify the little nap with things like “I’m going to contemplate the next scene” or “If I nap now, I can write a few pages later.” It’s all crap. I just want to take a nap.

The thing about taking naps, though, is that annoying bit where you have to wake up. Not only wake up, but wake up, shake yourself into awareness, and get dinner started in the hopes that no one realizes you’ve just been drooling on the faux fur pillow. As much as I enjoy sleeping, I abhore waking up. So much so, I refuse to ever use a snooze alarm.

If waking up is such a pain, why should I want to sleep another 9 minutes then do it again? And then there’s the math involved with trying to figure out how many times you can hit the snooze and still make it to work on time.

So tonight’s the night I break that habit. I’ve broken it before, by forcing myself to do chores when I get home, and not even SIT on the couch until after dinner. When I’m out of that habit, things get done around the house. I come home from work, get stuff taken care of, then sit without guilt to work on the novel, surf the ‘net or watch some TV. And even though, right this very minute, I’m craving a nap – tonight when I get home, it’s the dishes !

Give me dishes or give me death! Or, er, something like that.

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4 thoughts on “like a bad penny

  1. LOL! I know what you are talking about. Sometimes when I get home, though, I need a few minutes to catch my breath and figure out what the rest of the evening’s gonna be like. Things just keep creeping later and later at my house. I collapse into bed when it’s all said and done. Or, rather it’s Piper’s floor because I have to “sit by you” as she says.

  2. Yeah, it’s terribly unproductive, and I have to fight it really hard. I can’t take a minute to catch my breath, because that’s what turns in to lying down for “just a few minutes”. I find if I have any hope at all of staying awake until bedtime, I have to keep doing things. Just stay on my feet when I get home, and get things done.

    I learned, along with never hitting the snooze alarm, that I have to pull the covers back over the bed the instant I get out of bed, and never sit down on the bed for any reason, even to put socks on. If I sit back down, I’m done. My habit is to dress in the bathroom, in order to avoid the temptation to sit back down on the bed !

  3. I’ve always heard that naps were GOOD for you. They somehow re-energize you, re-vitalize you, help buffer the stress of the day. I need a nap after work, but I can’t get one because no one will leave me alone.

    And I love the snooze alarm. I only use it once. But that extra 10 minutes is wonderful. I suppose I could just as easily just set the alarm 10 minutes later, but that seems so final. “Crap, I have to really get up.” Whereas with the snooze, it’s like a gift of 10 more minutes.

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