Why I set my alarms at unconventional times

Like most people, I have a lot of quirks. One of my eccentric habit, you may call it, is the times I set my alarms at. So yes, the picture heading of this blog is a screenshot of my actual alarms. I never set them on conversional times like 07:00, 08:10 or 10:15. Basically, it’s never an even number of a number divisible by 5. Other times, I also try to avoid numbers divisible by 3, because I do not like the number 3 (I know I have issues haha). But is there a reason for this or it is just another idiosyncrasy of mine?

I must admit this habit started off as a joke. I love odd and prime numbers. So I thought it would be a cool idea to set my alarms at such times also. I tried it and I have never looked back since then. So for more than 3 years now, my normal morning alarm is at 07:57 instead of 08:00. And yes, that is my waking up time.

Why haven’t I looked back you may ask. There main reason is that it allows me to wake up on my first alarm –  I barely snooze my alarms. The thing is, our minds love even numbers more than odd ones. We prefer the sound of 7 o’clock to that of 07:01. Arithmetically also, even number are easier to deal with. Number divisible by 5 are the same in this sense. If you heard or read the number 100, even randomly, you would start playing with it in your head. You would probably be like 100 is 10 x 10 or its 25 x 4 or simply 50 x 2 and so on. However, if you read or heard 107, the only thing likely to come to you mind is that the number is 100 + 7 and nothing more. Put differently, our minds love making patterns and even numbers go well/easily with pattern-making. Odd numbers lead to asymmetry which does not go well with our pattern-making minds.

What does this have to do with your alarm clock? Well, if you set your alarm at 08:00 and it goes off, you mind quickly and easily calculates how many more minutes you can lay in bed (without being too late) so you will hit the snooze button to add another 5/10 minutes. If you are dealing with odd numbers however, it gets slightly harder for your brain (yes, even for a Mathematician). That way, you trick your brain into being conscious for a slightly longer time as you do the Math. And trust me, your brain won’t appreciate doing Mathematics first thing in the morning. These additional seconds might be enough to get you out of your sleep and hopefully out of bed. So far, it has worked for me such that despite studying Mathematics in college, I have continued to trick my brain in this way. I only set one alarm for the morning and it is enough.

I must say there is another part of me that wants to set appointments and meetings at odd times. That is because, odd timings not only buy you extra seconds to make your wide awake but they also stick to memory more easily. That is why you are more likely to remember to meet someone at 16:51 than you are to remember 17:00 because 16:51 is just weird. So embrace the weirdness and join me in setting alarms at unconventional times and meeting a friend for coffee at 09:13. Thank me later.

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