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That Time You…Didn’t Delay--The threatening side effect of hitting the snooze button

Updated: Nov 21, 2019



Today I didn’t hit the snooze button.

When I reached for my phone, it wasn’t there. The alarm kept sounding, insistent and pestering my groggy confusion on a frazzled search.

“Where the hell is my phone? In my underwear drawer? In the sheets? This is my alarm going off, right?”

Finally, I found it under my bed. I guess it had fallen as it vibrated. Alert and relieved that the screen hadn’t shattered, I didn’t hit the snooze. But I wouldn’t have anyway. It’s the first day of school – the start of a phase when I’m pumped and have inherent “go get ‘em” energy – and a time when I don’t miss emails, I cook healthy breakfasts, and all socks match.

But it’s a phase, not a ruse, a phase because in a few weeks, my drive will have swerved. I’ll check my email the morning of, praying there is no major test someone didn’t study for or an event for which I needed something dry-cleaned. Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch will count as a balanced breakfast, and there will be no socks, let alone matched socks. They’ll be stuffed in the folds of other clothes in the dryer. But the initial jazzed up Annie wasn’t a ruse. I wanted to be on my game. I intended to nail it – not to prove something but rather to win at me and finally get me right.

Instead, I’ll have chosen to snooze me.

Beginnings are scary. The unknown is unchartered and unproven. What lies beyond the doors of a new year, school, job, or chapter is nail-biting. But it’s also curious. In response, our nerves awaken our inner scout – that prepared, focused, and brave go-getter ready to mark the path with attention. But when the unfamiliarity evolves into normalcy, that’s usually when my inner scout abandons the mission: “Why am I overachieving? I got this!”

Only, I don’t.

I’ve taught both two-year-olds and high school seniors. I joke that they require a similar approach. Give them a routine and a pat on the back, and they’ll never go astray. Can’t we all relate? I find comfort in the routine I follow while cozying up to something new: “Exercise, check! Shower, check! High protein smoothie, check! Churn out continuous work in time to make a healthy dinner, check, check!” And so on.

By ten o’clock I’m asleep without a pill and damn satisfied. But the routine only sticks when I’m encouraged. Just like a toddler, resistant to a potty, or a senior obstinate to "Hamlet," I need to incentivize my progress. If I don’t, I’ll lose interest and hit the snooze.

When we snooze ourselves, we’re basically saying that we can wait. We, us, you, me – our happiness, our personal satisfaction, can be delayed. Our progress isn’t worth our immediate attention. It’s easy to see the signs: Running later and later, putting off the mundane, settling for mediocre work, and slowly becoming more and more persuaded to frame it as “This is the best I can do.” Among the most shared posts on my feeds are memes or blogs about not trying to be Wonder Woman or Super Mom. The other most shared posts are the ones with personalities that wear disaster as a badge of honor. I can’t help but wonder when we got so extreme that we’re either superheroes or super slackers. No wonder we’re hitting the snooze on ourselves. There’s nothing for the rest of us to latch onto.

If I am truly to give a damn about myself, while aiming high at the start of anything new, I must address the obstacles that could eventually prevent me from carrying on. Am I trying to do too much when I’m most tired? Maybe I’m not making sleep as much a priority as the paperbacks stacked next to my bed and "The Real Housewives" on my DVR. Or maybe it’s deeper? Do I really like the job, the position, or the life I’m failing at? Is my lethargy actually disinterest? What’s missing that could put a spring in my step every day? I don’t need to be Wonder Woman, but I’m better than Super Slacker. When we incentivize our progress by facing head-on its greatest threats, only then can we cure the chronic disease of personal procrastination.

I know enough to know that as much as I savor an extra ten minutes to do anything, I’m not worth procrastinating. Even if I teeter off and finish strong at the very end, squeaking by on a final high note, I still snoozed through the middle. And isn’t it the middle that weighs heaviest? We cheer winning touchdowns and leap to our feet for jaw-dropping finales, but sweat and grit and a resolve to not give in, to not delay, to not hit the snooze on our greatest work is the muscle in the middle.

What will the middle look like for me? For you? If we hit the snooze, we may never know what could have been.

Originally published in New Orleans Magazine online.

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Annie D. Stutley

the short story

Back in 2017, “That Time You” took its first steps—a blog that humorously and inspiringly chronicled the chaos of everyday life. It was a canvas for what I referred to as “gaffes with glory” (what others may call hot mess success tales) and also resolutions for how to tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges, plus personal victories within the daily hustle. I've never had all the answers, and truth be told, I still don't. Yet, I spoke the language of the Hot Mess and Walking Disaster, understanding that we don't need to have it all figured out or succeed at everything to truly grasp our purpose.

However, 2021 brought a drastic turn: I faced a Stage 3 cancer diagnosis and tragically lost my mother during my sixth round of chemotherapy. My path forward seemed impossible. Stumbling took on a whole new weight—it became a burden I struggled to carry in a place where trust felt elusive. “That Time You” evolved at that point because I evolved. Stripped of my plans and the future I had envisioned, I found solace in my one constant: my faith.

Since surviving cancer (and the loss of a parent for the second time in a two-year period), I transitioned into a full-time editing role and also poured my energy into contributing monthly to three different magazines. “That Time You” was put on a purposeful pause—two years for recovery, rediscovery, and revision. I'm gearing up for a relaunch. This time around, whatever I share with you will be rooted in the wealth of experiences I’ve gained over the past three years, because sometimes stumbling becomes an essential part of our path, forcing us to dust off our fuzzy socks and bravely venture forward, wiser.

“That Time You” lives on, on this site, and I do promise to continue to share my misadventures with meaning and celebrate blunders alongside triumphs. Yet, I’ll be chronicling the certain enlightenment amidst life's darkness—a testament to faith and, hopefully, a guide for uncovering God's presence in every situation, whether it's the mundane or the profoundly challenging.


Thank you for being a part of this journey.

Much love,


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