Old-fashioned Alarm Clock

Technically, your alarm tone is your theme song as it starts every episode.

A participant in a lecture on digital minimalism for creativity mentioned that he uses an old-fashioned alarm clock and not an app on his smartphone to wake up on time in the morning. This allows him to put his smartphone in the kitchen, far out of reach when he is in bed. As a consequence, he sleeps better and has more time to read while lying in bed.

As strange as it might sound, I think that is a very good solution to avoid sleeping with your smartphone. (If you can reach it while lying in bed without getting up, you sleep with it.)

Even better, it can force you to actually get up when the alarm rings — if you put the alarm clock out of reach. At least, that is my experience of the past month or so.

I used to use my smartphone and my Apple Watch (I do not trust a single alarm clock, and I also have set multiple alarms on each, a minute or so apart). However, you can control the alarm with the Apple Watch, so keeping the Smartphone out of reach to force you to leave the bed does not work anymore. I can just keep lying in bed and switch off the alarm via the smartwatch. And if that happens, the likelihood that I stay in bed for longer than I wanted is fairly high.

However, with an old-fashioned alarm clock — in hearing distance but out of reach — I have to get up to shut it off. Even better, the Watch Alarm sounds first (vibration only). Given that I detest alarm sounds, I know I have to leave the bed to switch off the old-fashioned alarm clock before it sounds. And once I have left the bed, well, it’s fairly easy to stay up. The natural force gradient of the situation leads me then to the kitchen with its coffee, not to the bed.

What makes this idea work is that it is fairly easy to make the decision to get up on time before I get to bed, but very hard once you lie in a warm bed (esp. with a still warm hot water bottle in a rather cool apartment). Given that I force myself into an action when it is easy (by setting an alarm I can only switch off when I leave the bed), I can actually do it when the task becomes hard (because I have no other choice).

Prior to using this method, I usually got up between 5 and 5:30, now I get up shortly before 5 am when the watch alarm vibrates.

Might be something to try out.