I'm the opposite. At almost 30 I looked over a decade that has been awesome - friends, travel, girls etc - and decided to cut it all out as I create a software company. It's now 12 hours, 7 days a week, with a once-a-week break to meet a mate for lunch (and, eh, an occasional browse of HN).
I figured if I could amplify future moments (more money, more freedom, more opportunity to meet people) by deferring enjoyment now it's totally worth the trade-off and that if I did not start I would look back in a year wishing I was working alone in my room.
Moments with friends are great, and the memories are the fumes that keep me going when I might otherwise feel lonely or overwhelmed, yet swapping a year of after-work beers and hangovers for a shot at financial independence and self determination is worth it. Totally worth it.
Plus any good friends will be there a year from now, and if the hustle pays off, those future moments will be much more enjoyable than any fun I might be missing out on.
I like how you've implied at least the hustle is temporary. Too often people look at work vs life, as something that either (a) must be in balance at all times or (b) must sacrifice one for the other ad infinitum.
It's been 17 months since I made a similar decision. I'm not entirely sure if my friends will be there when I come out the other side. They think I "hate" them because I've decided to put work before life.
In the end, I decided those friends were trapped in their own perceptions of what our relationship was supposed to look like. The true friends were the ones who simply said, "yeah, I noticed you buckling down. You do you; I'll see you next month"
“Looking back over a life of hard work … my only regret is that I didn’t work even harder.”
- H. L. Mencken
Sorry, I don't mean to troll, I just dislike the strawman argument of "[being productive/working/etc] isn't everything in life."
Wow, the GP didn't say anything about getting drunk, so you managed to turn his comment into "hanging out with friends isn't the answer to life either". I beg to differ, it's a big part of the answer.
Robelt Waldinger seems to (partially) disagree:
I won't bother looking up quotes but you are going to find and endless list of quotes similar to ...
“Looking back over a life of hard work … my only regret is that I didn’t spend more time with friends and family.”
... as well.
So, you're basically selling your least productive time and you're saying this is OK. You must be one of those folks who detest their job to do that. Please change your job. First, this may give you an opportunity to do something more enjoyable and leave what you currently do vacant for someone else who'll enjoy it more. Second, if you do your paid job well enough despite being "worn out", then you're not using your full potential, which is a pity. Do yourself and others a favor.
I don't see what the problem is here, unless he signed a contract that said he'd give his best hours to the employer.
> Second, if you do your paid job well enough despite being "worn out", then you're not using your full potential, which is a pity.
No one hires you to "use your full potential" - they hire you to do your job. What would be the problem if Albert Einstein were to teach jnr high school science and doodling away on his personal theoretical physics at 4AM?
I see no ethical quagmire of putting ones' interest before the employers while fulfilling the prescribed duties, especially when considering the power balance and the fact that the other party in this relationship is usually a soulless legal construct that puts itself (and shareholders) before any employee.
1. or a Swedish patent office
I wasn't caring about the employer on that particular statement, it was about living one's full potential in general. And for Einstein parable, in practice what you do often gets on your mind before something else, it's basically the opposite of "out of sight out of mind".
"I see no ethical quagmire of putting ones' interest before the employers while fulfilling the prescribed duties, especially when considering the power balance and the fact that the other party in this relationship is usually a soulless legal construct that puts itself (and shareholders) before any employee."
You've laid out a battlefield here, a context of conflicting interests or a situation with opposing parties at least. My advice was to get away from that, because that is not worth anyone's involvement. Change jobs, do something you enjoy and care to get involved into.
A job is just a job, however. A lot of people don't really like working at all. If he works at a factory, he's not doing anyone a favor by doing an already good job better - there are limits to what folks can do in that situation. He is, however, doing them a favor by having a work/life balance that makes him happy because it helps make his attitude better.
But I get great internal pleasure out of cooking a good meal, out of making a wonderful piece of artwork, learning new techniques. Continued language learning (I've had 2 years of class, 600+ hours) remains important regardless of work. Seeing more of the country and the world? Definitely important. So I'll put more effort into those sorts of things than a job.
How about you looking for a job around a restaurant or something? A scullion is as affordable job as any and from there gettin' into a chef's aid or into a position to augment the local's design using your taste in artwork shouldn't be that of an unrealistic expectation to have. In the longer term maybe even putting your polyglot skill to good use for distinguished clients, help expanding the place overseas, etc. Won't you enjoy that more than having "a job that «isn't too bad»" plus doing something else that you enjoy only off-work?
The stark reality is that kitchen jobs tend to be bad jobs on average. I've done quite a few of them, including working for a chef in a position to learn quite a bit. Bad pay, unrealistic expectations both from customers and management, and a great deal of hard work. Cooking jobs can be more demanding, requiring long shifts. It is still possible to open a place at some point, if I've the capital and did pick up skills to do that. This is one that is truly just a job in most situations, oddly. Large scale cooking in a school was the favorite in this category.
Jobs in art are generally a luck game, as a lot of art school students find out. I look from time to time - it is not out of the question, but truly i'm a few years off. Most would require some continuing education. Which isn't out of the question either, as the move gave opportunities I didn't have in the States. I do sell artwork from time to time, however.
Heheh. I'm in Norway, and my primary language is English. It is both a blessing and a curse. It doesn't pave my way into a job, just helps give an edge over some other immigrants because most folks under 50 can speak english - the schools start teaching it at age 6. I can use it for some tourist jobs and as an unofficial tutor, but a school-level 'official' tutor requires more education.
[I personally find 4am is often productive for me, but that's because I work at night, and I'll only continue coding at 4am if I'm already in the zone. If I'm not making progress, I'll want to crash to sleep long before then.]
I'm a solo developer, mostly working on my own projects, but even when I work with remote clients I maintain what they call "vampire hours". Since I'm based in Australia, my weird productive hours naturally align with Berlin time.
_asummers asked about socializing - being naturally nocturnal makes it easier to go to nightclubs & concerts, or invite friends to restaurants or a moonlite all-nite diner. It's great if you have insomniac friends!
I also track my time/concentration using a program called Vitamin-R for Mac . I've found my peak productive coding hours are 10pm - midnight. (4am - 7am is my actual 'peak', but I think that's because I only work those hours if I'm already in the zone.)
That's my dream, and one I strive to achieve before I'm old and tired. I'm 28 now.
Working a 9-6 just isn't fun when it's a) not my project b) not my peak productivity time.
If you don't mind me asking... Are you retired?
Funny thing is I don't even work 100% remotely (well, I sometimes visit the office...) - I just work for the company which couldn't care less about when I work as long as I deliver. So, while I'm not working on my own projects I still can choose when and how I work. It's been this way for 3-4 years and I just turned 30 a couple of weeks back.
So what I want to say is that you don't need to be retired or be an entrepreneur to have a freedom to choose your working hours. It's actually a good thing for the company because my working hours overlap with working hours of people half a world away, for/with who we frequently work.
So don't give up, search for opportunities and you'll sooner or later find a place where you can work according to your own schedule.
If you want to work on your own projects, start on something in your spare time & just put it out there. Keep your scope as small as you can (my first product was something I put together in 3 weeks). You'll make a ton of mistakes, but you'll learn how to avoid them next time too. Don't undercharge - I increased my prices 5x over the years! And start building an audience / mailing list as soon as you can, it's your best way of reaching customers but takes a long time to build.
I'm happy to chat about this stuff with you (or anyone reading this) if you think I can help - email details in my profile. But if I'm honest, you'll earn more & have more stable income with the 9-to-6 job :)
(not OP, but we have the same mind-set.)
Of course, many schedules will work for families - my point was that you need to have one if you are going to function in a multi-person family.
I mean, the regular down 10 up 14 isn't great for me, either, I seem to be on a 26 or 28 hour cycle naturally, but I end up getting a lot more uninterrupted sleep if I keep it to a mostly 24 hour cycle that very slowly creeps forward, with occasional resets. (and end up being a lot more productive when awake.)
2am-4am is definitely the most productive time for me and I regularly stay up that late, deep in the programming zone.
Of course, I shouldn't really have expected the WSJ to highlight night owls. We've turned sleep schedules into a morality play, where waking up at 4am is somehow impressive and virtuous while waking up at 10/11am is slothful (even if you spent all night getting lots of work done).
From pg himself:
"I used to program from dinner till about 3 am every day, because at night no one could interrupt me. Then I'd sleep till about 11 am, and come in and work until dinner on what I called 'business stuff.'"
It was fantastic for when I had solitary work to get done. Not so great for social life. I could go out, but that would be like taking half a day off.
This is nothing new, it makes perfect sense if you consider that sunlight was once the main form of illumination.
In the modern sense it still makes some sense as many businesses keep hours similar to 9AM-5PM. Any time regularly spent asleep in that window is wasteful if you rely on anyone or anything on that schedule (or they rely on you).
You need to live something of an "outsider" lifestyle to make this work, and that still isn't practical for a lot of people. I did it for quite a few years and found I was also rushing if I need to run an errand like going to a bank in person.
- early risers have a consistent additional couple of hours every day.
- night owls make each day last as long as it needs to.
Like most engineers and other creatives, 4 AM is when I'm just starting to get my deep sleep (which peaks at 6-7 AM).
12-2 AM is the most productive time of the day for me.
Free yourself of culturally-assigned norms ("engineers and creative people work best at midnight, with lots of coffee") and consider a wider breadth of experience.
The most productive and effective person I know, a computer engineer, typically starts working before I'm even awake. The premise of the article is that 4 a.m. is both outside most of society's normal waking period AND it's immediately after you've had a solid night's sleep, while 12-2 isn't really such an unusual time to be awake and, for most people, it comes at the end of the day.
As someone who woke up at 5 a.m. for many summers so I could start work on the farm before dawn, I know that you can definitely accomplish a lot of work before most people even roll into the office, but I also know that sleeping in is incredibly satisfying :)
Why can we not just agree that what works for one person does not for another.
I have a mild form of attention deficit. When I am fully awake and alert, my mind races at a mile a minute, and I can't focus on any task for longer than a few minutes. It's great for email, but having a long deep uninterrupted think? Forget about it. So, I distract myself - whether it's with music, or by pacing, or what have you, and it allows my brain to pay attention.
This also means that being SLIGHTLY tired at the end of the day is wonderful for focus. No, I'm not thinking as quickly as I do when I'm well rested. But I get a lot more done.
One other thing: I'm sure I'm not the only night owl that finds the morning pre-everyone-else-awakening far from peaceful. If anything it's a constant reminder that your time is finite and is about to disappear. Every morning is a deadline until the world awakens and your productivity ends.
Evening/nights are the opposite of this: If everyone around is in bed they'll stay away, and you are only limited by your own fatigue and focus. The world is your oyster until YOU choose you no longer want to work.
I've always had my greatest thoughts and best ideas at night. I've always crushed projects and invented great things at night.
Luckily, my employers have also been very accommodating of this as well because I _produce_. My boss didn't even raise an eyebrow when I showed up at 1 PM. I remember staying at work and being the only car left in the parking lot with my team's best engineers for nights on end.
It was great, and we were accomplishing things that nobody else in the company even came close to pulling off at the time.
I don't drink any caffeine but regularly stay up until 4 or 5am. It's simply when I feel most productive and is totally natural for me.
It seems pretty clear that the opposite (early rising) is the cultural norm which is getting pushed. There are many times in my life where I'm forced to revert to waking up at 8am, but as soon as I'm back in control of my time I'll revert to a 4am–10am sleep schedule. I hardly think that's due to fulfilling some abstract cultural norm.
People are different. Sleep schedules shouldn't be a morality play.
In high school, I had to wake up at 6 AM every day; you can imagine I was tired as hell -- and it's because of my biological chronotype (I am genetically from a family of night owls -- late risers). It had nothing to do with culture, other than the fact that I was forced against my will to go against what my body was telling me was healthy (sleep at 6 AM and awake at midnight).
Modern science has JUST caught up and realized that chronotypes are a thing, but culture has definitely not (despite the "late start" school movements for adolescents, whose biologically clocks are even FURTHER ahead than us).
I don't doubt that it would be possible to be conditioned to wake up at 5am every day, but don't just brush it off as a culturally-assigned norm, I didn't even meet another computer nerd until I was 13 years old.
A solid nights sleep for me is over 9 hours. I rarely get that as I have to set an alarm clock to work up to be able to coordinate with the team effectively and I usually don't manage to fall asleep before 2am.
That would probably be why you don't wake up naturally at 4AM
Talking about waking up early puts the cart before the horse. It's really about going to sleep early, IMO.
When I was a kid, my folks put me in bed every evening at 8 PM, sharing the same false assumption as you. And I spent hours after hours watching the darkness. I would almost always fall asleep later than them, and often not until 2 or 3 AM, sometimes 4 AM.
When I was in middle-school and high-school, it was terrible because there was no mid-week day off as there was in primary school, and because it started earlier (and there was a bit of extra commuting). As a result, since I wouldn't fall asleep before 2 AM on any day, I was actually sleeping as much during the 2 days of the week-end as I was sleeping during the whole rest of the week (5 days).
In high school, I experienced a week there or there when I was totally er... off, in a mist, because of exhaustion. But even that didn't make me able to sleep early. The next year I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at noon one day and woke up 3 days later in the evening.
Then I was in University or Engineering school and those were the good years because attending the lessons was not mandatory and there was nobody to tell me to go to my bed or my room early in the evening.
30 or 40 years later, I am typing this message, it is 5:45 AM and I might fall asleep soon.
It's only once I went to university that I've been able to have my own rhythm and would sleep from 3-4am until 9-10am. I even chose my first job because it allowed me to come a bit late in the morning.
A lot of people seem to think that being an early riser is only a question of motivation but I think it's not a question of motivation but a question of genetic make up.
Then at some point I decided to start listening to it, and found my most productive hours between 12PM to 4AM, then waking up at around 10AM to start the next day. That's how I rolled my university years, masters, PhD and (entrepreneurial) work. Unfortunately, trying to explain that to conservative "early to bed early to rise" folk is a usually waste of time...
I have also never woken naturally before 9am
Maybe my parent also has trouble falling asleep early like you. But my point is just that you aren't going to wake up early, unless you fall asleep early- when you fall asleep drives when you wake up.
If you like your sleep schedule, that's fine. It sounds like you are controlled by it though. I have found melatonin helpful for moving my sleep schedule when it gets out of hand.
Programmers/developers aren't productive at night because it's a cultural norm (for the most part). We're productive at night because it's a learned behavior. For me, I only had time to myself on the computer after everyone else in my family was asleep. Also I had insomnia.
Guess I could say, "While that farmer calls it quits, I am working late into the night getting ahead! Mwahahaha."
YMMV of course, but getting up really early might not be as outlandish as it sounds.
Waking before 8-9am seriously affects the very quality of sleep. 8-9am takes a little attention to my sleeping and continued use of an alarm clock, but I can get a decent enough sleep. At 6-7am wakings, it is doable with a great deal of work. I then continually run the risk of oversleeping sporadically (I often don't hear alarm clocks early in the morning). Sometimes I'm just wide awake after midnight even with continued waking. Outside of taking sleeping pills, I'm not sure how to combat that.
I worked exactly one job that started at 4:45am and had to quit due to lateness. I physically couldn't do it. Half the time the alarm wouldn't wake me. I can do this occasionally for a couple days at a time, but it is rough. I'm much better working overnight than early mornings. I used to get told I'd grow out of it, but I'm 38. I don't think I will.
But if getting up late is not an option, 3am beats 6 or 7 am for me. Which is a solution for times when I have to do something early.
But again, just my personal experience. Everybody is different, and nothing is worse than telling other people "oh, you are doing it wrong, just do X and be a normal person!"
Waking up at 4AM would mean that time-frame moves up another 3 hours and I would have to finish doing everything I need to during the day by 2-3PM and most jobs would generally look down upon that.
> YMMV of course, but getting up really early might not be as outlandish as it sounds.
Doing it once or twice isn't especially difficult or outlandish, but I haven't managed to keep it up longer than a week despite my best efforts. And it always resulted in absolutely miserable afternoons.
When I go to bed late and wake up late, however, there is no such "miserable" time period.
That said, if I go to bed later than 2-3AM, I'll feel tired the next day.
Sleeping 1AM to 9AM has worked fairly well for me thus far and I'm just glad I have a job that allows me to work flex hours.
I have to add that I find lying in bed unable to fall asleep one the most miserable human experiences. I suspect it's what ultimately led to me developing the late night sleeping habit, since if I was unable to fall asleep within 10 minutes, I would get back up and keep reading or doing something until I was more tired.
i wake up at 4 am everyday because i need to get into the office by 5, and lots of things needs to be done by 7.
by noon my productivity falls off a cliff and I am a zombie by 6 pm but the social life begins at the time when friends and family get off work. you can choose to cut that out of your life... but that's a huge sacrifice.
when the weekend comes around, i'm in bed until noon, and then by sunday i'm back to ready to hit the sack at 2am again, except that work starts in 3 hours.
every week this cycle of absolute torture goes around, and has been my life for the last 5 years.
but what this article is not about is the time you wake up, but the quality, quiet time you put aside for important things, before work starts. for me, that would be 2 to 4 am before i go to work, but obviously that's not happening. so just because you wake up at 4 doesn't obviously mean anything on its own, the important thing is waking up at 4 when your workday begins at 7.
I work best between midnight - 4am. Unfortunately I'm stuck in the corporate world where I'm expected to work 8-5. Late sleepers aren't any less productive than early raisers, but the bias prevents business from shifting the work clock around to cater to our different sleep patterns:
Most people have highly adaptable bodies and can train themselves to be a "morning person." If a person were to stay up until 2AM, there's no way they'd want to wake up at 4AM. They would therefore see themselves as a productive night owl.
I disagree. If it were that simple (with some work, obviously), more would easily be able to train themselves to be "night people" to work overnight shifts. And my experience working nights disagreed. Some folks just cannot handle the sleep and waking times of the shift, others get to a point that they have trouble being productive. A few find it unsafe to drive home afterwards.
I think we are flexible and adaptable to a point, but there is a limit before you find health and sleep suffers a bit too much. For most, nights would push the envelope, but the early mornings do it for a few of us.
If it were possible to train yourself to be a morning person, then I would have done it by now after several years working 1st shift (8 AM start). Previously I was working 2nd shift (2 PM start). I never really have gotten used to getting up to be at work by 8 AM. I do it, but I always feel sleepy until about noon. Last week, I had to cover for an absent coworker and worked 2nd shift for the first time in years. All last week, I felt more alert, I was more productive, and I slept better.
If there's a trend at all, I'd suggest that older folks fare better in the early morning and younger ones are better at night, although I've seen counter-examples and even poly-phasic folks who do just fine.
https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Morning-Not-So-Obvious-Guaran... (NOT a referral link)
Before, here's me trying to plan something, usually stuck on a petty issue, that is dependent on something else, and this task would be put aside for so long. My body is used to talking to clients late night and waking up late. The only thing I became in this process is tired, obese and lost self-confidence (though personal, I am willing to share this openly).
Once I started practicing waking up early on, I realized everything is very clear. My mind knows exactly what to be done and if there's a problem, how I can solve it efficiently.
I could easily grasp new concepts, plan for my future more clearly and efficiently get tasks done.
I use a pomodoro timer and I noticed that tasks that would take 2 hours in the night would take just 45 minutes or less early in the morning. At least for me, it just feels like my brain has access to all the information it needs so quickly. Combining this with another book "30 days of discipline by Victor Pride" I was able to reduce my body weight, finish an Saas prototype and finally live a structured life and gain back my confidence.
Posting this hoping it will benefit someone. Cheers.
I woke up at 6 AM for six years, and I never "adjusted." I don't feel well-rested unless I sleep until 10 AM.
4 AM is my most productive hour. It's just that I haven't gone to bed yet then. What's this "up before the sun rises" stuff? It's productive because the day is just coming to a close.
Once when I was in my early 20s I had a magical period of 2-3 months where there was no work, no school, and not really even social or family obligations. I would go bed when I was tired and wake up when I woke up. What I found was that every night I stayed up about an hour later than the night before. After 24 days my sleeping cycle went lapped the clock. At the time I interpreted it as, biologically I had a 25 hour cycle. No idea if that was true or not. Probably not. Regardless, if left to my own devices I always tend to stay up into the wee hours.
If there's an opposite of a morning person, I'm it. My entire life, I've felt completely wrecked after waking up, and it takes up to an hour to feel awake and alert. I get progressively more productive until it's time to go to bed again. Apparently it's the other way around for most people.
(Personally, my natural sleep cycle seems to be about 25-26 hours; I'll usually go to bed 1-2 hours later each night until I reset at some point.)
But that's just a guess and I can't seem to find anything in a quick search... anyone know more about this?
They don't seem all that different on the face of it, it's just a shame that society considers one productive and the other less so. Probably because night owl hours coincide with those of people who party all night and sleep in? Nobody gets up early to party all morning.
You clearly haven't been to Berlin yet.
(I do agree with your post, though.)
I have simply made peace with the fact that I just am a slow starter in the morning, and try to take advantage of natural times of production. It takes 30 minutes to 2 hours for me to "wake" properly, so I just do stuff that doesn't take much thought when I can. Instead of overcoming it, I just made peace with it and do things to help it not be such a drag.
The first 20 minutes of a too-early waking might be groggy enough that I can't manage to shower yet (I get 'sleep drunkenness' occasionally). I give myself extra time to get ready. I know certain activities take longer in the morning. If possible, I schedule low-energy activities for the morning.
Sleep maintenance seems to help me physically wake, but not with the slow start. Coffee doesn't seem to do much either way, but I do drink it. Exercise first thing in the morning? Forget it. It feels harder then.
On the other hand, I get this wonderful uptick when some others are starting to tune out, so there is that.
* Get up at the same time every day, even if you've had a late night
* Wind down by avoiding electronics an hour before bedtime
* Put a loud alarm clock on top of the fridge
* Get a big drink of water as soon as you wake up
* Turn on all the lights (or go outside, but that obviously won't work at 4am at most latitudes)
* Have a morning routine that you can do on autopilot while your mind fully awakens. For me that's cereal and a shower.
Now I go to bed at 8 and get up between 4 and 5.
A little human screaming and kicking you in the balls every morning is a power incentive to get up and do stuff.
Turns out it isn't even that bad. I get to play with the kid, I give him a bath and have some breakfast, and get some reading in when he has his first morning nap, then off to work. Going to bed at 7:30 or 8 seems to be key, though
When you HAVE to get up early, you start getting tired more early, too.
I had a similar experience, where I used to hate the mornings, but now love the bonding time with my daughter.
For a while I lived in an apartment where my bedroom faced east, and my bed was placed such that the first rays of light hit me straight in the eye. During that time, I miraculously became what's called a "morning person."
Then I moved to a house where my bedroom faced north, and the blinders on the only window in my room were a pain in the ass so I left them shut most of the time. I quickly reverted back to being a late-riser/night-owl.
Not everyone has control over the direction their room is facing, but you can still simulate daybreak using artificial sunlamps that are programmed to start lighting gradually at a designated time.
Turns out I had a deviated septum and chronic sinus infection that made my breathing pretty shitty while I slept.
I was also prone to sinus infections... sometimes low-grade ones that just hung around for weeks and felt like allergies.
I thought this was how it was for everyone for years. After my surgery it was night and day.
But not enough to get me to wake at those times, as I wouldn't enjoy it in the same way.
Sure, those hours are great for ingesting what has happened since the last cycle but not really for creating new value.
Edit: I just realized I wrote this the wrong way. What I meant was that I can't imagine people being productive during the first 1-2 hours after waking up.
If you come into work, fire up your email, you may find a number of emails that you want to respond to right away, despite them being low priority. Granted, this is how I do start most of my days. But when I really need (or just want) to get an in-depth task accomplished, the best plan is to tackle that first thing. At most, I might scan my email to make sure there isn't any emails with the subject of 'immediate response required for you to keep getting a paycheck' or 'the datacenter is on fire'.
>Sure, those hours are great for ingesting what has happened since the last cycle but not really for creating new value.
Obviously that applies less if you work from home, since you can cut the shower and the commute.
PS: Right now I'm more on a late schedule, starting to get productive between 10 and 11 am. Trying hard to get back to a good morning routine though.
The Rishi's and Yogi's in India always woke up at 4 in the morning. In the Hindu Yogic philosophy this time period is also called the Brahma Muhurta. If anyone is interested, you can read more about it here:
Most schools of Indian philosophy borrow the term `guna` -- literally "quality" but in context meaning "mental texture" to refer to three main states of mind:
Sattva: equanimity, poise, contemplativeness, objectivity
Rajas: frenzy, agitation, result-orientation
Tamas: indolence, lethargy, sloth, sleep
It's interesting to note that Brahma Murta falls between 4am-6am and is indicated as the predominance of sattva. The predominance of other gunas may be observed by looking at the nature of activities during other times (6am-6pm = rajas), (6pm - 4am = tamas).
Those interested in further reading might consult the Vedanta Treatise by A Parthasarathy.
This has come at a cost.
- I need to get 6 hours sleep, so a 3-4am wakeup requires a 9-10pm bedtime. If I don't plan for this, the worst thing happens, which is 2 hours of alarms as I don't get out of bed until 7.
- I can't survive after a drinking binge. No more than 2 or 3 drinks the night before, and ideally 0.
- It doesn't always jive with family who are night owls.
This isn't how I lived in my 20s, but it works for me now. In my 20s there was still a decent chance of good things happening at 1am. Now there is rarely anything that happens from 10pm to 1am that I miss. :-)
In the quiet and still of the morning, tucked into a muffled corner of my couch, with hot coffee and cream at-hand, I set about a detailed refactoring of my home project that I had been planning.
Once I got in my groove, I found I was starting medium-sized tasks that I would normally hesitate to start because I couldn't get them done in one sitting. Not only was I completing these tasks quickly, but I was making mental leaps that turned out to be correct in-hindsight once the refactoring was done.
I'm normally overworked and have much less energy to develop to my home project. It is pleasant to develop code on a full mental tank of gas, especially when it's my IP.
From the article:
By waking up at 4 a.m., they’ve essentially wiped a lot of those distractions off their plate. No one is expecting you to email or answer the phone at 4 a.m.
What makes the 4 am wake up really special is when you go to bed at 8-9 PM and get twice as much done in the middle of the night as you would when pulling an all nighter.
Being a life long night owl who has become an early(ier) morning guy... imagine your best all nighter ever, with double or triple the productivity due to having your full force of energy to solve problems with zero interruptions.
The only trade off, like a lot of things is that there is some things you can't do as a result like have late nights too often.
Even better on the days I don't have to come into the office, since I can start work at 7:30 or 8 and get most of a day's productivity in before the deluge of emails and meetings hit, rather than spending the better part of an hour hating everything on the commute in.
"How To 10x Your Productivity By Staying Up Later and Waking Up Later"
As an employer I am paying you to put my work ahead of yours.
I am paying you to be productive so that with the collective production of the employees, the company can outmaneuver the competition.
This lackadaisical approach and work-ethic means that, of course the mile high task list will always be there. It'll never ever get done!
You're buying his time and experience for agreed upon hours. You don't have the ability to make him put your work ahead of his anymore than you have the ability to make him put your work ahead of his family, personal life, education or retirement savings.
In discussions like this I tend to fall on sympathizing with employers because until you've taken the risk, hired and managed people you don't fully appreciate just how hard it is or how difficult it is to keep people happy.
What you're describing is closer to buying his life - which would be an understandable arrangement from a business partner but not an everyday employee.
People get paid for all sorts of reasons. If you are being paid specifically to put work in front of your hobbies, then that is your job! Think database uptime employees who are paid to get up in the middle of the night to fix a bug, etc. Heck, I even paid a friend to eat a shoe once; you can pay people to do all sorts of things. Paying someone to put work in front of hobbies is hardly novel or extreme.
Of course, this should be clear in the job description!!
...then it is most probably illegal in quite a lot of countries. Labor codes exist for a good reason. Most people are a) employees b) not willing to put life ahead of work and c) not willing to be forced to by competition from desperate/workaholic co-workers.
Database uptime employees work shifts, so even they should not be forced to put life before work.
Do you think it's reasonable to expect a CEO to put work in front of hobbies?
Nevertheless, how numerous are CEOs compared to other employees?
Legally, as an exempt employee, at least in California, my employer is in the clear. Hell, I believe they do it to hourly workers, too. I have worked in the computer industry my whole life, but I am told that it is not uncommon for minimum wage jobs to insist you come in at unexpected hours to cover unexpected events.
I've worked at a lot of IT companies, doing developer, sys admin, dev ops .. I've run the spectrum from health insurance to credit card processors -- very little of the work I've ever done is fulling or contributes to society in any significant way (except maybe the University I worked for briefly).
My personal work matters way more than any of the crap I get paid for. That being said, I write good code. My stuff has solid test cases, good design and readable code. I learn from code reviews and try to give good feedback. I generate good work and get it done in a reasonable amount of time. But I don't do over time. I don't work over 40 hours a week. I will not work on the weekends. If you work at a hospital, I can see how being on-call could be important. Any other job, and it's just money you're losing.
Just become my employer doesn't come first, doesn't make me a bad employee. If anything it makes me a better person because I have a life.
> As an employer I am paying you to put my work ahead of yours.
As an employer you're paying me because I have the skillset required to do whatever your thing is and the bills that require me to work.
I might enjoy the work, don't get me wrong, but I'm primarily here because you either can't or don't want to do what I've been brought on to do and I can and will do it in exchange for money. I'll even consider signing a non-compete if the money part is enough.
> I am paying you to be productive
Correct. Stop there. The rest is waffle.
> Wow, remind me not to hire you for a job then.
Gladly! What company was it you're hiring for?
Nobody wants to work for a coward.
I dunno. There's advantages to having a boss that's a huge pushover...
Boss: "We need this done by the end of the week!"
Employee: "That's just not possible. These sorts of things take research and most importantly, time."
Boss: "Oh. I see. Two weeks OK?"
Employee: "At least a month. Maybe two."
Boss: "But that's too long!"
Employee: "Nine women can't make a baby in a month!"
Boss: "Oh alright. You've got until the end of the quarter."
Big Boss: "Why haven't you delivered the product yet? I was expecting it midweek?"
Boss: "Well, uh, the team you see... well, they don't think they can deliver... and... "
Big Boss: "If your team can't get this done on the timeline this company needs, get a new team. If you can't do that, then I guess I need a new manager."
Boss: "Yes sir, I see your point."
[Later, with employee]
Boss: "I thought I could give you till the end of the quarter, but we need it tomorrow. Oh yeah, and there's extra requirements now."
Employee: "But you...."
Boss: "I've been overruled and just couldn't push back. You know how it is. Have a good... productive night."
Maybe you're an employer in a 3rd world country so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but no worthwhile employer in the US would even pretend to expect that.
In Japan it's even common to expect an employee to move in a weeks notice for up to a year at a time.
I wouldn't tell anyone how to value their time, but I certainly wouldn't tolerate an employer telling me what I could focus on during off-hours.
The work culture in Japan is a very extreme case and can't be used to prove that this type of behavior is common in other parts of the world. I would say the majority of companies in the US and in Europe do a reasonable job of respecting the personal lives of their employees--more so if they are part of a union.
Being conditioned to do something, or being forced to do something to feed yourself because few other job opportunities exist outside Japan's corporate world, are not the same as "certainly worthwhile".
Except, of course, in the sense that not getting homeless or starving is worthwhile.
Do you not consider those worthwhile!? That's like the best example of worthwhile there is!
What point are you making?
To give an example that might sound extreme, but it's the reality for hundreds of millions in other parts of the world (and a decent tens of millions in this part of the world too) a 12 year old child can go work in factories, mines, sweat shops or even prostitute itself to sex-tourist perverts to avoid starving. That doesn't make those "pursuits" worthwhile.
Of course for a privileged or semi-privileged middle/upper-middle class person, on a steady diet of comfortable upbringing, family support, financial support net, cushy jobs, and "do what you love" kind of advice, the situation is probably so alien that what's wrong with it might not even register.
While I'm at the office. You want me to dedicate my entire life to your business instead of mine, that costs more than you can afford.
> I am paying you to be productive so that with the collective production of the employees, the company can outmaneuver the competition
Your employees may be so productive on a project that has no future which at the end will not help the company at all. It is you who should steer the ship for competition.
I think you are confusing being a lazy employee with what he/she is saying.
Who told you the parent was interested in working for you and your random company in the first place?
>As an employer I am paying you to put my work ahead of yours.
Nope, employees compensate people for doing specific work for them. Not for "putting their work ahead of their personal life/family/or whatever".
As long as they get their money's worth (and more, since they obviously pay employees less than the value they get out of them, unless the company is merely breaking even), and the job gets done, then they don't get a say in anything else about their employees personal time. Unless they are shitty employees, in which case, let their companies crash and burn.
If I'm passed over for a promotion because of this, meh. I think I'm doing way better than the guy gives his best to his work and what's leftover to himself and family. Additionally, I've found I do better at work anyway because the rest of my life is order and I show up already having accomplished things and on a roll.