How I Beat “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination” and Got My Life Back

If you find yourself prioritizing leisure over sleep by scrolling through your newsfeed or watching just one more episode during prime sleep hours, then you might be engaging in revenge bedtime procrastination. It tends to happen when our days are filled to the brim with work, taking care of family, and other responsibilities. Here’s how I got sucked into it, and how I took back control.

I am surprisingly efficient and unusually productive these days. There are no out-of-office appointments on my work schedule, no friends to see on my social calendar. I save hours a week on grooming, since Zoom never shows how dirty my hair really is and yoga pants are always a perfect fit. But it wasn’t always like this.

In truth, I almost ran off the rails a month into the pandemic. Unlike many of my colleagues, I was faring well with the novelty and newness of the pandemic, until I fell into a trap that’s become familiar to many. The trap? It is called “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination.”

What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

I first heard this term used by Christine Li, Ph.D., my friend and procrastination coach. Revenge bedtime procrastination occurs when we try to wring the last bit of life out of the day. It hits me when I’ve been too hyperfocused on my work, at the expense of everything else. I don’t take breaks. I forget to eat lunch. Even a social call with a business colleague or friend seems taboo.

By evening, I’ve completed the last of my to-dos. No one is messaging me, my kids and husband are winding down, my kitchen is clean, and my dog is curled up in her bed. There are no distractions. Those delicious hours between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. are my reward for a day well done. The last thing I want to do is give them up and go to bed, so I inadvertently engage in a little revenge bedtime procrastination.

Read more of this article I wrote for ADDitude here.

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