Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
I learned a new term this week. As I was scrolling through my email newsletter, I immediately fell for the title of this article hook, line and sinker. There was even a visceral reaction because this piece truly spoke to me.
The psychology behind 'revenge bedtime procrastination'
Emma Rao spent almost three years on China's notorious ' 996 schedule ': working from nine in the morning to nine in…
People who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late-night hours. [They’re] stuck in a Catch-22 when they don’t have time to detach from their work before they go to sleep, it is likely to negatively affect their sleep.
Hey, that’s me!
I definitely procrastinate, always have. Work. Working out. Cooking dinner. Even laundry. You name it, I’ve probably procrastinated the heck out of it. That being said, I wouldn’t consider myself a true procrastinator — I enjoy a well-thought-out plan far too much — but I’m aware of how I use procrastination as a productivity hack.
Let me explain.
Either due to a combination of recency and confirmation bias, or because I’ve simply been lucky, I’ve never considered procrastination to be entirely negative. In fact, it’s usually driven positive outcomes, bringing me focus and clarity at the expense of a little stress. My working hypothesis is that I don’t get stressed easily but I always expect myself to do a good job, so time-based pressure unlocks an extra gear.
One thing I never thought about procrastinating on, however, was sleeping.
After a busy day of thinking about hard problems with my co-workers, I need to unwind and vegetate. I used to wonder how the average American spends three hours watching TV a day. Oh, how naive I was back then!
If I’m feeling brave, I’ll watch a movie or a TV show. I’m a binge watcher, so one episode can easily become one season. Sometimes I’ll read, but it’s almost always sci-fi or fantasy — nothing that requires the left side of my brain. Other times, I’ll message friends and family since I’m intentionally terrible about replying to messages during working hours.
But most times I’ll aimlessly browse ESPN, watch sports highlights, or search for sports news in the hopes that there’s a tidbit I haven’t already read. And the most vengeful activity of them all — watch YouTube. I’m currently working through Comedy Central standup specials and hunting down interviews with Chamath Palihapitiya, an early Facebook exec and the founder/CEO of Social Capital, who has incredibly interesting perspectives as a tech and finance pundit.
Thankfully, I value sleep too much, and high sleep scores, to be overly concerned with my pre-bedtime habits. But at least I finally have a good answer to that most common of questions, “What do you like to do outside of work?”