Living the night-shift lifePosted: December 16, 2011
About 4 weeks ago, an opportunity came up to work night hours. Since then, I have been starting work roughly around 5pm and ending up at 5am. By blogging about how it went I think I’ve gained some insight into how a portion of India’s night-shift workforce works and feels.
The first 3 days were easy. Staying up was not a problem as long as I slept the next day through noon. On the other hand, it’s difficult to sleep in an active household any time past 10am. My 7-month old is up and about before then, house cleaning has to be done and calls from different services start coming in. I would wake up naturally and feel rested with the few hours of sleep behind me. By mid-week, sleep caught up and staying up until 3am was starting to look difficult.
To fix: extend your sleep for some portion of the afternoon. Or, keep your sleep area quiet for enough time (thanks to Akshay for the tip).
With the shift in timings, the next challenge was food. I continued to eat with everyone else at regular times and unwittingly went on just snacks, or a chocolate bar between 10pm and the next morning for the first few days. Within a couple of days, headaches and acid reflux became a feature.
To fix: have a proper meal around or after midnight to keep yourself full (thanks to Anjali for this one).
The wee hours after 3am were difficult to get through but only because if you think to your self, “let’s get this done by 4am.” – that sounds naturally absurd to the body, mind and you begin to look forward to some shut eye once you are done (or reach 4am :-)). With that in front of you, concentration dips automatically with mistakes that show up only the next day. Managing this must be a nightmare for teams – I have no idea how they do it.
To fix: loose track of time and constantly test for details.
I found that there were some advantages of doing this – you won’t encounter any traffic on the way home, you can get bank related and other weekday work between 10 and 12 amongst other things.
It would not have been possible if I hadn’t been covered at home, work and without Vipul’s constant company.
There were several more questions that were left unanswered, for instance:
What about the social – presence side of things?
Should you maintain the same pattern through the weekend to not have to put in effort into it again on Monday?
Also, inspired by:
* Living on rs100aday.com …
* disrupt your self – FAKEGRIMLOCK.
An update: I also discovered that I often forgot day-activated memories and tasks. For instance, if you need to buy groceries – you need to encounter an empty refrigerator or set a reminder to buy groceries regularly. I can imagine that services such as freshmandi would be very compelling to professionals who work nights.