報復性熬夜 (bàofùxìng áoyè), revenge bedtime procrastination: it basically means a phenomenon in which people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during the late night hours. I think this generation is primarily guilty of this, where we push our bed time just to be able to cram more into the day. There are generally two reasons for this: either we’ve procrastinated through the day or we’ve just been so busy with a ton of things to do that we never get time for ourselves- either to read a book, watch a show, or just catch up with messages from the day. If you fall within the second bucket, where every day is a sprint to complete as many items from your to-do list, because who doesn’t like checking off yet another item from this list?
It is highly likely that over the course of time the pleasure of marking the tasks off overpowered the essence of the task itself. Let me explain with a personal example: to feel accomplished at the end of the day like the many things I wanted to get done, meditation made its way into my list. Soon I realized that my focus had shifted from the task itself, to just crossing it off. Instead of being in the present, I would merely switch on the guided meditation and remain completely switched off mentally. I would still mark it as something I achieved through the day, though in all honesty I was completely absent through it.
Unfortunately, to-do lists are 1-dimensional, which accounts only for the quantitative aspect, in this case the binary feedback if the task was completed or not, but the qualitative aspect is something only you know deep within. Just like how while working out, we tend to get carried away by the amount of weight (quantitative) rather than the right form (qualitative) for the exercise. Let’s be more sincere, it’s healthier to acknowledge that you didn’t get something done today and hence be more accountable about getting it done the next rather than just keep going at it day after day, mindlessly.