Yesterday morning, I got up about 45 minutes before we left for church. That was plenty of time to get ready, have breakfast, and even shovel most of the snow off the driveway before we left. When I was working, I would get up 30 minutes before I had to leave and that meant I was always rushing around. Fifteen extra minutes makes quite a difference.
I learned a lot about the psychological underpinnings of that extra 15 minutes more than twenty years ago, when I was market research manager on Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. We were developing a TV commercial that looked at the differences between weekday mornings and weekend mornings. We wanted people to celebrate the extra TIME they had on the weekend and take an extra 15 minutes to make our cinnamon rolls with the Pillsbury Doughboy.
The psychologist we were working with to interview consumers quickly called B.S. on our copy strategy. It’s not the TIME that makes weekday and weekend mornings different, he said – weekdays are stressful because of the subconscious performance anxiety that accompanies going to work. The weekday time crunch comes from wanting to stay in bed as long as possible in order to soothe the anxiety of going to work.
“Waking up 15 minutes earlier isn’t objectively that difficult, is it? Couldn’t they just go to bed 15 minutes earlier?” he asked. “No, it’s an emotional response to the discomfort of going to work and being judged by bosses, coworkers, and customers.”
Maybe this seems a bit heavy – and it probably doesn’t describe every person, every morning – but I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t exhibit some performance anxiety with going to work in the morning. A common defense is to wake up at the last minute – or hit the snooze button – and run around a little stressed to get to work on time.
Now that I’m not working, the performance anxiety is gone and an extra 15 minutes sleep doesn’t seem to matter anymore. While I still get up early some days to meet someone for breakfast or a meeting of some sort, I don’t seem to have any issues getting up with a enough time. That extra 15 minutes is now an effortless way to easily get going each day.
Perhaps it’s something we all can try – working or not – to make the morning less stressful?
Image Credit: Pixabay