For the first time in I can't remember how long, I failed to set a wakeup alarm on a workday. I've been covering an emergency vacation for a co-worker, and just forgot to set the alarm on a day I don't normally work. Fortunately, I also have a backup plan: I have another alarm set to go off every day half an hour after my wake-up-for-work time. This reminds me when it's time to actually leave the house on workdays, and prevents social jetlag from accumulating on days I don't work. This alarm went off as planned, and I was left to speedrun my morning.
Speedrunning is a way some people like to play video games. At its simplest, to play a speedrun all you have to do is time yourself as you play the game from start to finish, and try to get faster on each iteration. If you're feeling competitive, you can race against others by making video of the run as proof and submitting it to a leaderboard. Each game has its own community that may establish many different rulesets (or categories) that runners must follow for a run to be recognized as competitively valid.
Ultimately, the speedrun incentivizes a style of play that sacrifices all other non-required metrics for the fastest time. It's an optimization problem that can sometimes get extremely complex.
My ruleset became: Get to work alive. On time strongly preferred. Must be appropriately dressed. No damage boosting or clipping allowed.
So, I first went to the kitchen and turned on the kettle for coffee. Normally, I do this after I get dressed, but this way I could do both at once. Time saved: 5 minutes.
Returning to my bedroom, I dressed quickly and woke up my partner. She agreed to put my hair in a quick braid - she does the job faster and with higher quality than I do. Normally I bind the hair with a series of pony elastics to prevent tangling, then tie it up in a knot so I don't have the elastics digging into my back as I sit at work. Time saved: 7 minutes.
Back in the kitchen, I skipped my usual coffee ritual in favor of a simple pour-over directly into a travel mug. Time saved: 11 minutes.
Then, out the door for the commute. I arrived at work 7 minutes after my normal time, and 7 minutes before the official start of my shift. Nobody even noticed. Total time saved: 23 minutes.
But speedrunning is about sacrificing on other measures to optimize on time, so what did I give up?
Physically, I had flooded my body with stress hormones to promote speed at a time where I normally act with some deliberation. This left the body far more jangly and tense than usual for hours after the fact. Mentally, for much the same reason I found myself twitchy, distracted, and irritable. It took a sustained conscious effort to drive safely on my commute! I was able to mostly clear up both issues a few hours later when I carved out 5 minutes for a quick meditation. I found my chill again, but my performance at work was adversely affected all morning. In the evening, I found my hair in a predictable mess of knots, which had to be somewhat painfully worked out. And I had interrupted my partner's sleep, leaving her tired and irritable all day.
I'm sure there's time left to save in the first segment of my day, but I don't think speedrunning IRL is really for me.