Coding During the Graveyard Shift
So kids, it's noontime and I'm still in bed. Am I missing work today? No, I'll be going in later. But I already think I've done my share of coding for the day. I mean, I did get home at 5AM. So yes, I was coding until the wee hours of the morning, getting into drone mode by the time 3:30 hit. Mark asked me a question and I felt myself snap out of a typing trance. Call me a work-a-holic, but I just think my body couldn't take any more after working over 60 hours in the last 4 days, including the 11:00AM to 5:00AM debacle I pulled this morning. Why haven't I developed carpal tunnel yet? It's a rhetorical question, but I'm really asking myself that.
How the hell did I survive it? I don't know really, it could have been sheer motivation, the cute anime girl from Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko on my screen or that Red Bull that Darren gave me. But, I did compile a list of some of things that did help me out at least.
- Go in Late: Now do not go to your boss and use "avalonstar" as an excuse for being late, but if your company is like mine (one that thinks, "come in any time as long as you get your work done") go in late. If you know you'll be working through the night, it's no use coming in at 9AM unless plan on leaving at a more civilized hour.
- Eat: Can't stress this enough. I have never been a breakfast person but those Chicken Selects came in mighty handy on my way to work. Make sure you take time to eat something during lunch and dinner as well, nothing big, but your body will thank you. Also when it comes down to beating the REM stage, make sure you're munching on something.
- Listen to Music: A good tune will always keep you going when you pass midnight, as for me I turn to anime or game music to keep me awake. If you have co-workers that are willing, share your iTunes libraries. Looking through those lists to find something good to code to will keep you awake, hopefully.
- Take Breaks: I don't know what's wrong with my body, but I can go on a coding spree for a good 5-6 hour period without doing anything else, but I don't think most people are like that. Even so, take walks around the office, talk to co-workers, go to the bathroom even. Just get out of that chair.
- Give Yourself a Goal: If you don't set a goal, you could be coding until your co-workers file back in or you could not get to a point of satisfaction. Make a list for yourself, or use a program like OmniOutliner to better visualize what exactly you need to do. That way you don't feel like you've done less than you should have (or more for that matter).
- Deviate: Screw company policy, you just don't want your head on the keyboard. I bought an airline ticket, checked my bank balance, got some new wallpaper and bothered whoever I could on AIM.
- Stay Active: Even if it takes spinning around in your chair, rocking in it, singing out loud, doing push-ups or whatever, it's obvious that staying active will keep you awake. Red Bulls and other energy drinks work well here too.
Peter put it best:
unless I've been drinking, I don't even want to see what 5am looks like...
But if you do find yourself coding (whether it's by yourself or for work) at that time of the night/morning/whatever, then hopefully these little tidbits will help out. And if somebody ever sees me online at 5:00AM (and I didn't just wake up), just come knock me out or something. It's an experience I hope I don't go through again in the near future.
Next Entry: "How to pull two graveyard shifts in a row and completely screw up your sleeping pattern."