All week I've had trouble getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  I've been working on various things on the computer, whether for work or for Habari or whichever crazy project I happen to be dreaming up.  Whatever it is, it's keeping me up way too late.  One thing I've noticed is that the late nights have a very disturbing benefit.  As the hours wear on, I am able to get more focused.  It's very strange.  It's as if all of the distracting parts of my mind are shutting down because they're tired, and I'm able to focus the parts that are left singularly.  I've noticed a weird steady rate of actual things getting done way late at night.  I'm considering whether the late hour (1am-2am) is enhancing my output because that's a "zone" in which I operate efficiently, or if it's simply because I'm so sleep deprived as to have the results I've described above.  Maybe it's a combination of both.  I remember some summer days in high school writing some code all night.  Being able to sit, concentrate and work on something that I enjoy was pretty exhilarating.  I think it bothered my parents somewhat to find me still sitting at the computer when they were getting up in the morning for a weekend shift at work.  Still, I think that those cycles of work were some of my most productive times.  Even when I was working at the print shop, I managed to come in and do layout on the coupon books overnight.  This somehow always allowed me to keep the focus on the task through to the end, and I'd end up driving home at 5am or so.  With the books I've been reading lately on problem solving and how the mind works, it's not surprising that this is the case.  The creative half of my brain seems to kick in when my rational mind gets tired, at least enough to have some high-quality left-to-right-brain interaction.  If I was going to force it, I think the trick would be keeping that balance level, either by measured/managed caffeine intake, or periodic invigorating success, or short mental breaks.  On the other hand, I don't have summers off any more, and waking up the next day keeps getting harder.  Waiting for the weekend to "catch up" on sleep (you never really do, do you?) just eats what could otherwise be a full-day productive weekend.  So there's got to be a better bedtime solution for me.  Maybe I need a "go to sleep" alarm in addition to a "get out of bed" alarm.  I wonder what would happen to my productivity by exiting flow due to such an alarm.  I fear it's not good, which is why I've not tried.

Comments

I used to find myself afflicted by a productivity-sapping brain fog during the day and couldn't figure out how to snap out of it. Then I stopped (routinely anyway) working 'til 5am and getting up at 7:30am. Getting old stinks.

I likewise find myself more productive late at night. Although a big factor for me is the reduction in distraction from incoming phone calls, emails, and pterodactyls, which has less to do with brain science than with my work/life situations.

I agree that the real world distractions are a big factor in lack of daytime concentration. Those pterodactyls are pretty hard to ignore.

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