Waking up with barcodes

I’d been looking for a wake-up alarm that was good at getting me up and out of bed. It turned out that I can solve a sequence of two-digit addition problems while half-asleep, so my previous alarm clock app still tempted me to snooze.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying a different alarm clock app. Morning Routine requires you to scan a barcode or a series of barcodes in order to turn off the alarm. After reading a Lifehacker post that mentioned it, I downloaded the app and set it up on my phone. I configured Morning Routine to require the barcode of a tub of cream cheese from the fridge. It turns out that the process of stumbling out of bed, stepping around the cats in the hallway, and opening the fridge is enough to wake me up and get me to start making breakfast.

The app doesn’t have a snooze button, so I can either wake up properly or shut down my phone. So far, I’ve been good at not shutting down my phone.

The developer’s blog post describes an even more fleshed out routine that involves barcodes in several rooms, with timers to get through the process. My morning wake-up-and-get-out-the-door routine typically takes an hour, but it might be interesting to set timers for the different components, or do a low-level time study of it. Hmmm.

Morning Routine is an Android app, and it’s currently available for free. Check it out in the Google Play store!

  • Living in an apartment, I’m acutely conscious how well the sound of a morning alarm travels, despite steel & concrete. While I don’t claim to be conscious, I do levitate to and shut off the initial alarm, out of consideration for others – especially if it’s early.

    My body is then conditioned to want that first espresso; zombie shambling into the kitchen, with the warm full-bodied aroma of the espresso beans as they are freshly ground, invigorated with hot water into a delicious cup of dark golden liquid nectar kick-starts the dawning consciousness.

    I remember waking up for 9-5 jobs, or back further waking up for school, to be a snooze-button-fest process replete with feet-dragging. But once you realize that you’re not getting up to trudge in someone else’s rut, but to empower and embolden your own day and destiny, for me that transformed an unpleasant morning ritual into a positive no-snooze-button experience where I *wanted* to greet the day.

    I still need that second espresso and reading tech news sites to make lizard brain crest into full consciousness though. :)

  • Heh. Living with my husband (who seems to need less sleep than I do!), I can attest to the power of feeling guilty about alarm clocks.

    You’re right, there might be conflating factors here. =) After all, I got up at 6 on a day when I don’t have any fixed work to do. The weather is nice and sunny, I’ve got ideas in my head… Easy to get out of bed, since I know I’m going to enjoy writing or drawing.

    That said, I enjoyed building Drupal and Rails sites at IBM too. Hmm… Maybe the difficulty in waking up was caused by my staying up late doing things I wanted to do, and now that I can write or draw or do whatever throughout the day, I need to stay up less? I should test this and see if my data verifies it.