It almost sounds like a frightful term, but it’s more common than you think. In fact, you may have been unconsciously doing this for quite some time.
Heck, I know I have (and still do on most days).
So, what exactly is revenge procrastination? Most importantly, how can we stop doing it?
Revenge Procrastination: What It Is and Why We Do It
Have you ever told yourself that you’ll go to bed early but end up scrolling through social media or watching Netflix till the wee hours of the morning? Even when you’re supposed to get up early for work the next day?
That, mate, is revenge procrastination in a nutshell.
It’s a cycle of staying up late (even if you know you shouldn’t) and regretting it the next day. While the term itself is relatively new, this practice has been around for years.
So, why do we do it? Dr. Rajkumar Dasgupta, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, has a great explanation.
“Revenge bedtime procrastination is just a cry from overworked people… They’re actually trying to put off bedtime just a little bit so they can reclaim something for themselves,” Dasgupta said. “It’s normal for people to want time to themselves at night….it becomes an issue if they’re tired during their waking hours due to lack of sleep.”
And with the world having to live with a pandemic for over a year now, it’s only gotten worse for a lot of people.
Between figuring out how to digitise and automate your business and homeschooling your kid, it’s easy to feel that your time is no longer yours. There are simply too many concerns that make demands on it, and that can be soul-crushing. Furthermore, the pandemic has forced everyone inside, making it harder to keep work and family life separate.
For many, late night hours are the only time they can take back some control over their life…even if it results in some nasty consequences the following day. And beyond.
Why It’s Bad For You
Obviously, when you go to bed much later than usual and get up at your usual time, you accumulate sleep debt. Now, the only way to address that is to sleep the number of hours you missed, but that’s not always possible.
This is how prolonged revenge procrastination can lead to sleep deprivation. This, in turn, wreaks havoc on your mental and physical health. Some of the harmful effects include decreased productivity and a rise in cortisol, which is a stress hormone.
A lack of restful sleep can also aggravate anxiety, which can make you feel even more helpless.
Also, contrary to popular belief, sleeping in on weekends doesn’t always offset your weekday sleep deprivation. If your sleep quality is poor, it won’t matter if you sleep for ten hours on Friday or Saturday night. You may still experience a disrupted circadian rhythm, and end up overeating as a result.
How You Can Stop (Or Lessen) It
Ideally, you should be getting around 7-8 hours of sleep each night. However, it’s fine if your sleep schedule has been less than ideal at this time. We are all still coping with a worldwide pandemic at the moment, after all.
There are a few things that might help, though. One is to reduce your screen time before bed. Our devices emit blue light, which can interfere with our body’s melatonin production. (Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle.) If you can, don’t bring your phone or laptop to bed at all.
Another is to make your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. Keep it dark, quiet, and cool. You can even invest in a good mattress and beddings to up the ante.
You could also try to establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Drinking a cup of warm milk, reading a nice book, or doing yoga and stretches are all good things to include.
Lastly, bear in mind that revenge procrastination is a symptom that your work-life balance could use some improvement. Of course, it’s not always possible to remedy that entirely as most adults face a myriad of personal and professional responsibilities daily.
However, there are solutions that can help you strengthen your boundaries during the day. Delegating your tasks is one. This allows you to focus on the things that really matter, and free up time for yourself too.
This is where Remote Staff comes in. With more than ten years of experience in recruiting and onboarding top Filipino remote talent for various Australian businesses, we know a thing or two about outsourcing key functions. Given our pool of highly skilled and experienced Filipino remote workers, you can rest assured that things can get done even with minimal supervision.
You work hard so you and your family can enjoy a better quality of life. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t make things easier on yourself when there are better options available.