My confession and lesson of working late at night.

by Jul 2, 2015Health, Productivity

It's 11:30pm and I'm working late.
I've been staring at my computer for five hours, with no break except to fix dinner and eat in front of my screen.
I get up again at 3:30am and bust out another three hours.
I used to work this way?

On July 9, my next book, Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior's Survival Guide, launches on Kindle. The timelines have been really tight. As in an elephant squeezing through a manhole cover tight.

I received my manuscript back from my editor to review on Saturday at 5:00pm. I had to get it to her on Sunday morning for her to finalize and send back to me by Monday morning, to get it out to the people kind enough to endorse.

Let's count how many of my rules I broke.

  1. I continued with Pomodoros, for the most part, taking a longer break every four, but the downtime wasn't so much of a renewal as grabbing something to drink, eat or take a biology break.
  2. I bought an iced coffee at 3:00 and sipped it until about 7:00pm. I rarely drink caffeine after 2pm since it disrupts deep sleep cycles and for me, keeps me from going to sleep altogether.
  3. I ate my dinner in front of the computer.
  4. I worked much later than I should have and got up much earlier than I wanted to, with very little sleep in between.

Surprisingly, this is how I used to work. No wonder I got burned out, didn't sleep well and went through jack and crash cycles. Having seen the light side, I can't believe I did that so much that the anxious, wired and tired, and sleep-deprived feeling became my new normal.

What did I learn?

  1. Pomodoros work. If I hadn't at least taken short breaks of five minutes, I probably wouldn't have done as good of a job editing.
  2. The iced coffee wasn't worth it. I barely slept, even through two 30-minute guided meditations. Yeah, it helped my focus, but it is never worth it if sleep is sacrificed.
  3. I try not to eat anything but a smoothie or maybe a snack in front of the computer or TV. Now that it is the exception rather than the norm, I don't feel nearly as satisfied when I'm finished and find I always want something else.
  4. Letting those blue rays infect my eyeballs jacked up my sleep and contributed to my nightmares. I definitely notice a difference when I have screen time too close to going to bed. I didn't put on my blue blocker glasses until about 10:30 and I should have put them on at 8:00.

After three months of working with me, one of my clients said “I had no idea how bad I felt until I started feeling good. I had no idea how bad I slept until I started sleeping well.”

It was a good lesson for me to go through this once-in-blue-moon work session. It made me remember how I used to work and live and that I don't want ever to go back there.

 

 

Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior's Survival Guide, launching July 16!

 

 

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects