Thursday, May 29, 2008

Missing those nights...

Now here's something that sucks. It's past 11 p.m., I just finished dinner and I'm slowly settling in what could be a productive night. Except that it won't be because if I don't want to be a complete train-wreck when I get up at around 7 a.m. I should probably head to bed in about 2 hours.

Normally the hours roughly between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. tend to be my most productive ones. Plus that's also what I generally consider me time. For others me time might consist of doing sports, listening to music, doing something artsy, cooking, gardening, whatever. However for me it's the time of the day when I can really focus on the things I'm working on without too many external distractions. This is when it's easiest for me to hit a flow:
"Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."
A large proportion of the articles and code that I have written in the past few years were produced during such a flow state which more often than not makes me go to bed at dawn. With my university lectures hardly ever starting before noon I can easily work until 4 or 5 a.m., still get enough sleep (4 1/2 ~ 6 hours) and get lots of stuff done.

My current situation forces me to get out of bed at 7 a.m. each day which cuts down my nightly flow-hours to often less than 3 hours. And that's simply not enough time to even come close to getting all the things on my many to-do lists done. Especially with all the increased activity via OLPC lately I often barely manage to answer all the e-mails I'm getting before having to call it a day.

Some (I know who you are!) might suggest adapting my rythm accordingly but that doesn't work. No matter how much I sleep, I'm pretty damn useless in the morning. Due to the current circumstances I've actually attempted to adjust a bit by getting up earlier than I'd really have to. That gives me time to quickly browse through my e-mails and reply to the 2 or 3 most important ones. But beyond that I can't get anything done (right) and so I'm actually reluctant to hit 'send' in the morning. More often than not I'm not thinking clearly at 7.30 a.m. so I've gotten into the habit of drafting e-mails but not actually sending them before 9 a.m. or so.

Anyway, before I spend more time ranting about the whole issue I better get this post out the door and focus on the 3 ~ 4 things I still want to get done today. Needless to say I'm very much looking forward to July when I'm done with my internship and will again be able to cherish all those nights that I'm missing these... nights.

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