Sunday, October 17, 2010

transition to day-shift

The past three weeks and a bit have been even busier than usual. My mother arrived from the US on the 25th of September for a visit and stayed through to this weekend. While she was here I took the weekends off to go sightseeing with her one weekend, and to return to the ancestral home in Finland to meet some delightful family I didn’t know I had on the other. In between I’ve been working and preparing a talk for an upcoming job interview.
The Interview will take place starting at 08:20 in the morning, and as a result of that start-time I decided to adjust my schedule to being on day-shift starting from the day I got the letter letting me know the day/time. For those of you who have been working jobs which are tied to “business hours” for years being on day shift is unlikely to sound remarkable. However, I have been in academia for many years now, and am accustomed to setting my own schedule. While I have had occasional things that are tied to a specific day/time (such as conferences), most of what I have had to accomplish has been to deadlines that are not precisely defined (e.g. the degree will be awarded when you’ve completed your research and written the thesis). As a result my sleeping schedule has tended to wander around the clock based on the whim of the moment. Some days I accomplish my most productive work after midnight. Other days it is in the morning, and still others I’ve got the most energy in the afternoons or early evenings. This flexibility has served me well, and permitted me to achieve my goals thus far.
However, if I land the job for which I will be interviewing it will be one of those wherein I will need to report to work during business hours. Therefore for the past couple of weeks I have had two alarms set. One to go off every day at 21:55, to tell me to stop what I’m doing on my computer, go home, do my yoga, and go to bed soon, the other which goes off at 06:30 every morning telling me to get up and start my day. This seems to be working very well. Some days I am aware that it is closing in on 10 pm, and I’m wrapping up what I’ve been working on before the alarm tells me that I need to. Some days I’m so absorbed in my work it goes off and I’m surprised when it does. On those days it is harder to stop, but I have been making myself do so anyway. (Other days I’m not working at all, but only hanging out on line chatting with friends—it is hard to stop that because the clock says so, too, but my friends have been supportive of my wish to be on day shift, and encourage me to actually say good night promptly, even when they are in a another time zone and it is still hours before their bed time.)
One advantage of this schedule is that I am finding it easier to make time in the mornings to go for a run or put on my rollerblades before breakfast. Somehow, even though there are the same number of hours available in a day no matter which ones I choose to be awake (assuming that the total number of hours I sleep is constant), I feel like I can delay the start of my working day more when I get up at 06:30 than when I get up at 09:00 or 12:00 or 16:00). All in all, I pronounce this experiment a success, and feel confidant that should I be offered a job which requires that I be on day shift that I will thrive, even though it isn’t what I have been used to.

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