Are you a night owl? A look at different work schedules
Like most humans, I love sleep. If I am left alone, I can sleep for an amazing amount of time. So it would come as a surprise to most people that I am constantly trying to figure out how to change up my sleeping schedule. The reason? I'm just weird like that.
You see, in the past few years, I have tried just about every working schedule that I can think of. I have done early morning. I have tried the regular 9-5. I have done the early afternoon-mid evening. I have done nights. I have done over nights. And I've come to find out that some schedules genuinely work better for me than others. Does everyone fit in the nine to five mold? Let's take a look at some of the different work schedules.
When I say early morning, I mean the types of jobs where you get up and it's still dark outside. The kind of job where you let out a deep groan when that blasted noise comes from your alarm. The kind of job where coffee is the only thing that keeps you going. I have actually worked a schedule where I had to start at 3 AM, one that started at 4 AM, and one that started at 5 AM. And let me tell you, I was not a fan of any of these.
As I already mentioned, it's still dark outside when you wake up. I think humans have a natural tendency to want to get up when it's light outside. Dark means sleep, and you have just awaken a slumbering bear who had barely entered REM sleep. I never could get used to waking up so early, probably because I'm a night owl by nature. I'm the kind of person that after six months of having to get up at 4 the next morning, I would still be awake on my laptop at midnight because I couldn't sleep. That could probably be contributed to the irregular naps I took during the day, but that's not my fault! If you have never experienced so tired your body forces you to lay down, WHEREVER it is, and take a nap, well I hope you never do. It sucks.
I do actually know one gentleman who is a machine. He gets up before his alarm even goes off most of the time. He has to be to work at 4 and he wakes up at 3. Gets a cup of coffee, does some reading, and whatever else his comfortable routine allows. This man has every ounce of respect I can offer to someone in such circumstances, because I cannot do it.
Morning – Afternoon
In terms of workability, this is probably my favorite schedule. Why? Because you start relatively early enough in the morning that you get off work before the rush hour traffic starts. I'm talking about starting about six to seven in the morning, and working until about 3 or 4. It's not so terribly early that you have to wake up, but getting off of work at 4 and home by five lets you have quite a substantial amount of time in the evening. This is probably the working parent's schedule because he gets home about the same time the kids do from school.
As a young person, I liked this schedule because my friends would always want to hang out early in the evening. Some of them are unemployed bums, so they can hang out whenever they want to. However they always chose evenings because that just works for everyone. However, if you're into the late night partying scene, going to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning and getting up in five hours for work wears on a feller.
Mid Morning – Later Afternoon
I do not like this schedule. I hate that feeling when you wake up at say, 8 o'clock, and have to sit and wait for a few hours to go to work. Then you get home and it's already late afternoon, sometimes even early evening. It's like the hours you have before and after work are only able to be spent waiting. You don't have enough time before work to do anything other than light stuff like reading. And afterwards you don't want to get too wound up because bedtime comes up in less than five hours. Unless you're a serious party animal and like the late nights.
If you can manage a later in the morning schedule, say almost noon like 11, then you can still go to bed later. That's me. My first quarter in college, my first class was at 11 and so I would stay up until 1 or 2 doing school work or playing games. But as I stated previously, it just leaves you feeling like all you do is work and sleep.
Afternoon – Evening
I loved this schedule. I would get off work early enough that I could go home, relax for an hour, and still hit the bed before midnight. So I could hypothetically get up for the morning if I had something to do, or sleep in if I didn't. Other than of course the downside that when the majority of the world, the 9-5 working class, is getting off work, you're just getting on lunch. But eh, a jobs a job right?
I used to have a problem winding down after work though, so sometimes I wouldn't hit the sack until early in the morning. This is the schedule I worked the longest and I enjoyed. But it made me mad when my friends would go do something Friday night and here I was stuck at work. A lot of my colleagues are working parents and they hate this schedule because they never see their kids.
Evening – Night
Ugh, this schedule. This is the current schedule I'm working. I start at 8 at night and work until we get finished. Sometimes it's 11, sometimes it's midnight, sometimes it's 4 or 5 in the morning. By the time I get home and relaxed, everyone else in my house is up and starting their day. You just feel like a total loser when you wake up and it's 3 in the afternoon. At least I do.
Most people I know that work this schedule, including myself, fall into the routine where all they do is work and sleep. There's something about humans, even the night owls, that don't let us get the same quality sleep during the day as we do at night. It's probably because the traffic noise is louder, the light coming into the room keeps us awake, and the movement in the house continually keeps us from staying asleep.
When you get home from work and it's midnight, are you going to go work on your car? The yard? Practice guitar? No, you're going to plop yourself on the recliner and wait until you finally feel like sleeping. Because you don't have anything else you're doing, you don't set an alarm and just wait to wake up naturally. This results in over sleeping. It's just not a practical schedule for most people. Even myself, and I am a complete night owl. It's freaking 2 in the morning as I'm writing this.
Oh, oh, oh. I could just about die thinking about this schedule. Take everything negative from the last set of working schedule and multiply it by ten. I did this for about two months, where I would start work at 11 or midnight, and get off consistently at seven. You go home, plop in front of the TV... you get the picture. The only thing I can say about this schedule is that you can sleep either in the afternoons if you want to do something that morning, or you can sleep that morning if you want to do something that afternoon. But, and I can't emphasize this enough, you have to be very careful that you sleep. I make the mistake where I have something I have to do going on in the afternoon, but I don't get enough sleep that morning.
Plus the late night infomercials are just weird.
So that's my take on the differing schedules. Let me know in the comments your thoughts and how you balance work and sleep.