46

A little background:

I started my new job in software dept of a Bank five months ago. Before that I worked in a company which had the culture of extreme late sitting and a night stay for once or twice in a month which disturbed my routine and mental health as well. I worked there for one and a half years. I was working as a manual software tester which I never liked and and hated my job. So I would make excuses by going late and skipping work often.

Now, I've joined a bank as a first Automation tester (I work with python), which I absolutely love. I am giving great results to my manager who is very nice to me. The job has fixed timing i.e. 9 to 5. But the issue is that I always go late and skip work very often. I have taken 12 day off in five months. I feel guilty and horrible when I skip work just because I woke up late. Whenever I skip work, I do nothing all day but regret it.

How should I avoid this? How should I make my self organised and responsible.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Neo Feb 14 at 12:39
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    For the "12 days off", are you taking official PTO, or flextime, or just skipping work? – Michael Richardson Feb 14 at 15:18
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    "I have taken 12 day off in five months." So, unless my math is off, that's 1 day every other week? Do other workers take off more or less? I have coworkers who take off or work from home due to kids seemingly more often than that... is your "pattern" even noticeable? – WernerCD Feb 14 at 17:32
  • @Frank If you use up all your days off due to oversleeping, you wouldn't have any left for an actual vacation or for any other reason (that isn't covered under other types of leave). – Dukeling Feb 16 at 15:29
  • @Ali Khan, I just want to say that I understand your situation very well. It's an anxiety problem - sleeping late and then not going at all. Try harder, and maybe consider going to a therapist for help with anxiety. – data Feb 19 at 9:11

14 Answers 14

192

Don't catastrophize your situation. When you wake up at 10am, you still can go to work. It is called "being late" and 50% of people admit to being late from time to time. The goal should be to do it less and be late less.

TL;DR: Nobody really likes to wake up early. Everybody feel shame and guilt when they skip work or oversleep. Everyone was late to work one time or another for one reason or another. There is help available to adjust your behavior and make it easier.

I worked there for one and a half years. [...] hated my job.

I feel guilty and horrible when i skip work and that only because i wake up late

i tried reseting my sleep but it always go for only couple of days and then weekend came and i stay late due to hanging out friends or watching movie

Based on these quotes (emphasis mine) I suggest that you are a prime candidate for consulting physician and behavioral therapist. You might be burned out from previous job, as well as have a chronic condition or habits that are very hard to break.

Physician will evaluate your overall health, whether you are at risk of sleep apnea, depression, alcoholism, or other sleep/mood disorders.

Behavioral therapist is a specialist who will try to help you correct behavior of not being able to control your schedule, plan days ahead, and put your work in overall context of your life.

You have a chronic, repeating behavioral issue that bothers you. You acquired it over long period of time. It will take time and effort to resolve it.

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124

You should attempt to discipline yourself so you don't turn off the alarm and get out of bed at the appropriate time. Also, you may want to consider going to sleep a bit earlier.

This is a normal part of every day life. If you cannot do this, then you can expect to lose jobs which will generally lead to having a dramatic and probably unpleasant life.

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  • 3
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Neo Feb 14 at 12:45
49

Until you get a solidly established sleep pattern, go to bed and get up at your regular time on weekends. That may mean leaving a party early, but it is worth it to be able to keep a regular job. Once you are going for weeks without being late, try an occasional late night on Friday or Saturday.

Get a loud alarm clock, and leave it out of reach of your bed at night. You will have to get out of bed to turn it off. Set it for when you actually intend to get up, so no snoozing. Do not go back to bed after turning it off, even at weekends.

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    If waking up is still difficult after turning off the alarm clock, you can make it harder by placing the alarm clock in a difficult to reach place. (behind or in the back of a closet for example). This forces the OP to do minor exercise, which helps to wake up. – Mixxiphoid Feb 14 at 6:45
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    There's also a great range of alarms clocks that require you to do things before it can be turned off. There's a ball that needs to be thrown against a wall hard enough for example. This can further help breaking the habit of hitting the snooze button. – kscherrer Feb 14 at 9:10
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    Multiple clocks? – Buh Buh GoFundMonica Feb 14 at 11:45
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    This is a more niche thing, but alarm clocks that gradually light up the room (effectively faking a sunrise) can be very helpful for people who struggle to get up before dawn. – DBS Feb 14 at 11:58
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    Or those wheeled clocks that move around on the floor and are obnoxiously loud. – Michael Richardson Feb 14 at 15:17
29

I felt like adding my own experience to the great answers you are getting, because I thought it might help you to know that other people have been through this and managed to find a better balance :)

When I was an apprentice, I had a very difficult last year at school. I hated what I was doing there, and so I got in the habit of waking as late as possible and to live like I had lost my grip on my own organisation: I was always late for everything: class, but also personnal appointements and such.

When I finished school and got back to my company, I started being late too, and having a lot of trouble to wake up early. I had gotten into the habit of going to bed late, and I felt like I could never go back to waking up early.

Arriving half an hour late almost every day bothered me a lot, because it made me feel like I was unworthy of my job. I was afraid that my team would find me unprofessionnal and demotivated, but I felt so helpless about it. I was trying to compensate by finishing later, but this made me feel always guilty, and I was counting every minute I had "stolen" to be able to give it back at the end of the day.

After a few months like this, I started to try to arrive ten minutes before the hour I was supposed to arrive. So I started waking up 40 minutes earlier. At first it was hard, because I had trouble to find sleep going to bed earlier.

But the feeling of being on time relieved the guilt so well that I tried to stick with it no matter what, even if it implied sleeping less some nights.

I also noticed that I was being much more efficient when I started work earlier (I know it's not true for everyone, but if it is your case, it might be a supplementary motivation).

After a few months, my sleep routine has shifted and I don't have trouble anymore going to bed earlier. I feel much more relaxed because I arrive on time. This also affects my personal organisation: I am not late to appointements anymore, and I make sure to hit deadlines.

In other words, it was hard, but fighting for a few months to find a schedule that fitted me better was totally worth it, professionaly and personnaly speaking. I also have a much better self-esteem than I had back at school.

I hope this helps you to find motivation and find your own balance at work :)

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    Thank you for your answer. It did help me after knowing that you faced the same issue and overcome. I hope i follow your path as well :) – Ali Khan Feb 14 at 7:30
  • I am so glad it did! I really hope you will find a schedule that suits you and makes you happy! – The Once-ler Feb 14 at 7:38
21

There are several things you can do to stop yourself hitting snooze on the alarm clock:

  • use a clock (or phone app) that can't be turned off easily
  • set multiple alarms
  • don't let yourself sleep through an alarm, even on weekends

The more "practice" you get waking up at a particular time the easier it will get. After a several months you may find that you don't even need an alarm any more.

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    There is an app that requires you to take a picture of your bathroom's sink before turning off. By forcing you to stand up, it works quite nicely. – Mefitico Feb 13 at 17:03
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    @Gainz it's called AMdroid. The amount, type and difficulty of tasks is configurable. – piezol Feb 13 at 17:31
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    @piezol: It if fairly good, to the point you might be out of luck if the alarm rings out of home. Happened to a friend of mine. – Mefitico Feb 13 at 17:33
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    I use an app called AlarmDroid that makes me answer math problems, and you can use the voice-to-text feature to have it explain WHY you have to get up in the morning, in case you are like me and aren't in touch with reality in those first few moments. That "speaking clock" message is a life saver. I recommend a backup alarm with a battery or something though if you use a phone app, they can all fail maybe once or twice a year. But having something play a message like "you have to be up by X to get to work by Y" seriously changed my life. – Ella Feb 13 at 18:01
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    We're wired to wake up to light more than to sound. Try to arrange it so that sunlight hits you in the face in the mornings. Leave your shades open. If necessary, put a timer on your lamp to turn on when its time to get up. – Shawn V. Wilson Feb 14 at 4:45
14

While there are some answers that support changing your behaviour - that might not be necessary, it's up to you (and your boss). Some people do have different sleeping patterns. Yes, there are techniques to adapt as best as one can to the "normal" daily routine. While some of us can simply adjust to that standard routine once and be done with it for others it's a continuous struggle. It's certainly manageable, but everyone needs to decide which battles are worth fighting for.

If you yourself want to adapt a different behaviour, go with one of the answers that provide help in that direction. And if you feel like this is related to burnout certainly visit a professional! However, I would also make sure that you really have to and want to adapt and to what degree. There are quite a few companies that allow flexible working times and who do not care much when you work. If your preferred sleeping pattern is a bit out of the norm, you could at least check with your boss whether it is really an issue if you arrive once a month/week or even every day a bit later.

Exceptions aside, I typically only take jobs where the core office hours start at 10:00 the earliest - and where the occasional late arrival isn't frowned upon, but employees are trusted to get their work done no matter when they choose to do so. Obviously that doesn't work for all professions and jobs. That's why everyone needs to choose the battles of self-improvement wisely and one needs to clarify the constraints of a given job and match that with personal preferences. And sure, if there is a meeting or important date, definitely work on being punctual on such days!

Having taken 12 days off in 5 months isn't something to be ashamed off, that sounds like about the average holiday allowance in my region.

However, all that being said, taking days off spontaneously because you overslept and are ashamed to go tor work is a problem! That robs you of proper holidays where you do something worthwhile and it is far more annoying for your company if you suddenly miss out for a whole day without prior warning than if you'd just be an hour or two late.

So, first: Go to work and deal with being late rather than hiding at home, when you oversleep. Only if your boss says, X amount of being late means taking the day off, you take a day off. (Or if you feel sick, but then that's a sick day!)

Second: Clarify whether times can be adjusted and whether you being late once in a while is a problem for your boss.

Third: If necessary - for yourself or your boss - decide whether you want to change or whether you want to change the job.

Fourth: Implement, either change yourself or look for another job. And for how to change yourself, look at the other answers and do seek professional help.

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  • Excellent answer - don't suffer in shame, talk to your boss and ask for help! – Robin Bennett Feb 14 at 9:02
12

Don't define yourself by your past self. You are not who you were at your last job, you aren't even who you were last week. Stop having the mindset that being late is something you do, it doesn't have to be that way.

That being said it seems like you have a self discipline problem. You already seem to take ownership of your issue which is important, now find a solution and take ownership of that.

There really isn't much excuse for waking up late, and you can't allow there to be any. Even if your alarm clock literally breaks, it is your fault for not having two methods of alarm to wake you up. If your power goes out and your alarm clocks lose power it is your fault for not having an alarm with a battery backup. If you simply are ignoring the alarm to sleep more...well that is a lack of discipline.

I'll close with a Jocko Willink quote:

The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win—you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But if you exercise discipline, that too translates to more substantial elements of your life.

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  • 5
    Some people are VERY weak in those first few moments of the day, especially if they are not a morning person - even if 20 minutes later they have that discipline. That quote is not very useful and will only make someone like that feel weaker, and possibly worsen depression if that's part of it. What works for me - I have an alarm app (AlarmDroid in my case) that talks to me in the morning - I make it explain WHY I have to wake up in the morning (You have to get up by X:00 in order to get to work by Y:00", because in those first few minutes I don't understand reality. – Ella Feb 13 at 17:52
  • @Ella: Feeling weak should make you want to be stronger. I've never overcome adversity in my life without being extremely hard on myself and not allowing myself to be weak. – jesse_b Feb 13 at 17:56
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    Not everyone is like you. It doesn't make them "weak" or "bad." Some people struggle with depression that makes everything seem pointless. Some people lack a sense of the passage of time (which is a real thing that neurotypical people totally take for granted). Some people, when they feel weak, feel like they themselves are worthless and they should just give up and die. You never know, and saying "this is easy, you are weak" won't help those people. Anyway, my post was meant to be more about the alarm app and less an attack on your answer, just hit "Enter" by accident too early. – Ella Feb 13 at 18:07
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    I think we are just going to disagree on this, because while it isn't easy (I don't think I said it was), it is simple. – jesse_b Feb 13 at 18:09
  • I do think your answer is a good one overall because it gets at the root of the issue. Learning to exercise discipline is critical. My only quibble really is the quote because some people struggle more with the "how" and I think it's discouraging. I had trouble developing it personally, but ultimately I managed, and it changed my life. The reason was simple - but the "recovery" was not. To supplement your answer, I think part of taking that ultimate responsibility is putting in the effort to create systems that work for you - and a backup (like alarm #2). – Ella Feb 13 at 20:46
5

Nothing against the other answers given, but I think they're avoiding the real issue here, that being yourself.

Turning up your alarm clock or waking up earlier may help for a time, but they won't solve habitual laziness.

When you wake up, take some time to think about why you work. If you have a family, think about how your work is supporting them. If not, think about how your work is supporting yourself. Set attendance goals for yourself. Think back to the times that you have skipped, and ultimately regretted it. You need to change your perspective.

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3

Others have stated the 'obvious' suggestions of a loud alarm clock, etc.

I have one that works for me so I get up early every morning - I have two dogs. They are the best wagging alarm clocks you can have. It is really difficult to ignore a labrador who pokes you with her cold nose at 5:45 AM. "Um, dad I have to go out".

I have a t-shirt that reads: "My dogs are the reason I get up early. Really early. Every freaking morning".

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    Not sure "Get a dog" is great advice for someone who seems to have a hard time taking care of them self as is, a dog will just add a lot more responsibility to his life. – Quinn Feb 13 at 21:43
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    @Quinn yes, responsibility forces you to do things. Avoiding responsibility is what makes you lazy, careless and useless. And when you take responsibility of your own free will then it definitely works. I totally agree with JazzmanJim, a dog worked for me as well. Now after taking a puppy half year ago I have no problem getting up at 7am, even when she is not around. – freakish Feb 14 at 12:25
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    @Quinn Get a cat. Less maintenance and will still wake you up for food. – Studoku- Reinstate Monica Feb 15 at 21:23
3

Now, I've joined a bank as a first Automation tester (I work with python), which I absolutely love. I am giving great results to my manager who is very nice to me.

Interesting job + nice manager, who didn't even yell at you because of your late arrivals: you want to keep that job.

The job has fixed timing i.e. 9 to 5. But the issue is that I always go late and skip work very often.

Now that's going to be a problem:

  • if you turn up at 10 am and quit at 5 pm, you're "stealing" one hour work. Your boss may choose to ignore it, but your colleagues could resent that.
  • if you wake up too late and decide to skip work altogether, that may be an even bigger problem. What if there's a meeting? or even if there aren't any meeting but someone wants to talk to you urgently (means: this very day)

The latter (skipping one day without noticing your boss) can get you fired in no time. You'll been seen as unreliable, unreachable, not to be trusted.

Now for your "arriving late" problem, of course turning up early and all can help, but if being on time at 9am is a problem for you, you may have sleep issues, check the clock in the night, ... ruin your sleep just to be on time. You natural rythm doesn't seem to be 9 to 5. So since you're working in a tech field with python and all, I suppose that you could take some work home. Everything cannot be taken home but you can save stuff to work from home, even if you can't take your work computer with you:

  • prepare e-mails from home, send them to your work. If you turn up late, send the mail immediately. It's exactly like you wrote it at 9am
  • python is a big area to explore. You could train yourself online on some weak points when you're at home
  • you could try to write mockups from home, and send them to your work to integrate them. Same thing if you have a small piece of standalone code to write
  • if you need to develop some scripting tools, you can also write them from home.

If you can take your work computer home, it's even better. Just avoid online communication out of office hours. You'll be seen as a showoff that works extra, but arriving late will make it look even worse.

Do this only if you can limit yourself when working from home. Think of this as making up for your late arrivals, not to work overtime.

You like your work and that shows. Plus you're yielding great results because you're catching up the fact of being late by you're working from home on self-improvement/research/preparation. If no-one objects your behaviour now, add this extra effort and you'll certainly be fine.

Of course, you have to be reasonable on your sleep hours. Don't go to bed at 2AM and expect to be on time or even efficient the next morning, even at 10.

Be sure to make small hints to your boss or/and your colleagues that you're doing that. If your work gives satisfaction, I don't think that anyone will object.

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    I'll kindly disagree that taking work to home is the way to go. That's a really good way to damage one's work/life balance and get burnt out. – Ave Feb 14 at 8:38
  • of course! I have edited. This should not be a way to work overtime either. – Jean-François Fabre Feb 14 at 14:19
2

I do not see this remark in any of the other answers, many of which offer excellent advice and actions to take personally, but one of the actions you need to do is go discuss this with your manager or HR.

It almost always works out for the best you step up and acknowledge you recognize you are not meeting the expectations laid out for you (ie: starting at 9 am). It's also important to establish what their perceptions of your actions are and how they feel about that; otherwise it's just another conversation in your head. It also shows them your motivation to improve.

I am a tech professional large traditional business sector which employs people from new grads to 30+ years with the company. Both ends of the spectrum may be reluctant to bring issues up to management for different reasons, including degree of comfort, job security and culture. But ultimately they need a happy and productive workforce as much as you need a job. The was less flexibility when I worked an assembly line where there had to be a person at each of the 120 positions when they started up the conveyor system, or if you were a bank teller who had to open to the public on time.

At a previous tech employer, I struggled on a long commute over two crash prone bridges (the only viable route) during the morning rush to get in for 8am (per HR guidelines), often to arrive to a moderately empty office. When I raised this with my manager,he said, "look, I live at the end of the near bridge, 5 minutes from work on a clear day and an hour or more if a crash or a 20 minute walk. I am to be here by 9:30 and so if you are in before me, I'm happy, unless we specifically have to be here for events or meetings". I was so relieved and then worked hard to meet that commitment.

Who knows, you may not be the only one struggling with a fixed or "early start" (for whatever reason) and it may motivate policy change. In our case, massive increases in commute times led to staggered hours (to avoid the peak rush, daycare needs, etc.) and to the introduction of a work from home program, resulting in a more engaged workforce.

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1

I used to have the same problem with me. I am from the Software industry and had worked in companies where it's normal to have late sittings and late coming to office. Now i am in a company where work/life is better balanced than what I was used to. I have managed to overcome this problem by introducing some very basic steps in my daily work day routine which I want to share with you:

  1. Prepare one liner notes of whatever tasks you have done at the day end. Also write notes of what you want to achieve the next day. This will allow you to concentrate on your tasks and you know that you have to reach office early the next day to finish the stuff. You know that you have some responsibility for which you have to be in office early.

  2. If you know you cannot reach office on time, inform your colleague/manager (depends if your manager doesn't mind) that you will be late to office and will reach office for e.g. at 11:00 AM

  3. Late to office by informing is better than skipping office uninformed. Reaching office late on 12 days in 5 months is not a big deal. It's just over 2 days a month.

  4. Once you reach office late, try to catch up the 2-3 hour of work as quick as possible. Show some responsibility and gather the stuff what ever you have missed in 2-3 hours and be on track as quick as you can.

  5. If ever your manager/colleague specially asks to arrive office early then never be late. If they are fine with you to be late sometimes then never upset them by be late when they specially request you to be on time.

  6. If you got a warning from your manager/HR about being late, then be on time else be ready to face the consequences.

  7. If you are late then compensate it by sitting late. Complete your work hours. Do not make it a habit. Twice a month is fine.

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1

Are you sure that you are not experiencing some kind of mental health issues?

When I started burning out, one of the first signs was that I was lazy and didnt/wouldnt/couldnt get up early. I forced myself with willpower until I couldn't fight the laziness anymore.

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0

I'd like to amend @Kilisi's answer, seeing as it received a lot of flak for suggesting going to sleep earlier. As a person who suffers from occasional bouts of imsomnia, I would suggest this: Go to bed earlier. Take a book with you, or an e-ink reader (such as Kobo or Kindle) but not a tablet (I found that the backlight prevents sleep to some degree). Also, choose a book that is engaging (so that your mind does not wander and you start worrying about the next day) but not a page turner (Proust works wonders, in my experience). Make sure your bedroom is lit just enough to read but not too bright to fall asleep in, because the act of turning off the light will jolt you back into a fully awake state. If you find that your mind is wandering and you are having imaginary conversations, try and bring focus back on the book. Try to resist all urges to get up from bed.

Hope this helps.

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