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The Four Digit Rule

A friend of mine in college had a rule that governed his approach to work-management. It was this: wake up before there are four digits on the clock, and go to bed before there are four digits on the clock. Now, this rule was flexible. Weekends, for example, were an exception. Yet, the point of having this rule, and sticking to it, was not to slavishly deprive oneself of fun and freedom, but to maintain discipline when it came to coursework; to establish a healthy work-life balance (by preventing work from consuming all hours of the day); and, ultimately, to ensure that one got enough sleep. The last of these being the most essential.

I did not understand this rule or the reason for it, but I do now. Sleep is essential. Save for the occasional late night turning into early morning, during 1L year I was able to successfully adhere to the four-digit rule. I got enough sleep, and it was good. Even if it was exhaustion that turned me towards my pillow once I saw 10:00pm. Say what you will, but sleep is a simple luxury that I now include in the same category as Valrhona Chocolate and L’Occitance Shea Butter Hand Cream. Yep.

As a 2L, however, I feel that the four digit rule may be in jeopardy. Notably, the current time is 10:24pm. The time and effort required for my various responsibilities and obligations, from Appellate and law journal to research and internship applications have begun to stretch my application of the four-digit rule. I always have the option of waking up earlier, but despite my time on crew 5:00am remains a painful hour.

So, four digit rule, while I do not bid you farewell [yet], for tonight at least [and likely tomorrow as well] I must say “see you later.” I will miss you. 


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