Just get up earlier

As a psychologist, there is a lot of pop psychology advice that I really hate. One of the simplistic pieces of pop psychology advice that I loathe is the idea that you can easily add new activities to a busy life by simply getting up earlier.

Want to meditate? Exercise more? Write a novel?

Simple! Stop: sleeping, watching television, looking at your smartphone.

Wow! It is that simple. Why ever didn’t I think of that before?

Like most pieces of pop psychology advice there’s enough of a sliver of a good idea in there that it sounds nicely plausible. In fact, it would work some of the time for some people. I’m sure that there are people who hear this advice and suddenly realise that they could, for example, get some exercise if they spent less time in front of the TV.

The problem I have with the advice, thrown out as a general piece of life advice to the world at large, is this: it refuses to acknowledge that some people actually genuinely have incredibly busy lives. Lives in which every moment is actually serving some purpose. And yes, sleep and time to simply chill are purposes too. Time relaxing without pressure is actually very important to creativity and wellbeing.

There’s an uncomfortable truth that this simplistic piece of advice is pushing away and that truth is this: we do not have enough time.

You could spend every moment of your life wisely and still not do everything that you want to do.

So, yes, reflect on your priorities and how you spend your time. And sit mindfully with the realisation that you simply don’t have enough of it.

Apply it in your life: Can you sit mindfully with the knowledge that you don’t have enough time?


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