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Joys of natural schedules...

2003-12-05 12:53:21.495228+00 by meuon 8 comments

When I was living at the Virtual Building, I enjoyed working what I called a natural schedule. I'm a morning person, and I'm at my best going to bed early, and getting up at 4am (without an alarm clock). I've been working at home lately, and have gotten back into that schedule again. It's a joy getting up feeling good, and applying myself while my head is clear of distractions. It makes me consider, what of our daily schedule that is normally imposed by society is actually harmful to health and productivity? I've got a few friends that also work at home, and like me, a natural schedule seems to evolve that often includes an afternoon siesta, and they are either early people, or late people for their best times. Other countries (Portugal for example, according to my dad that lived there for a while), seem to have such schedules. as many Flutterbarians also have flexible life schedules, I was wondering, what schedule are you 'at your best' at?

[ related topics: Health Coyote Grits Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 17:27:15.090605+00 by: ebradway

If I don't use an alarm clock for a week or so, I start waking between 8am and 9am regardless of when I go to bed (it can even be as late as 4am). I personally believe that alarm clocks are responsible for many of life's woes. Many cultures also have the 'big meal' at noon with a nap to follow soon after. A light breakfast and light dinner make for healthier digestion. But America's culture is geared so much to molding the person to fit the circumstances:

You have to be at work at 8am. You can't leave for lunch until 12:00. You have to be back at 12:45. You don't get to go home until 4:45... But this week we are working mandatory overtime - so you don't get to go home until 6pm. We insist on having our own 'castle' complete with expansive lawn consisting of a non-indigenous monospecies (grass). We drive for hours to get to work. We spend hours trying to make our grass green (despite the fact that our driving causes pollution that kills the grass). We go to the gym and strap ourselves into a machine to make it exercise because we aren't getting it elsewhere...

Either mankind is going to evolve into something less animal and able to survive on something like Mello Yello that requires no digestion - maybe even intraveneously fed... Or society will straighten itself out.

I also think that the Roman Empire crumbled because more people wanted the artifically high quality of life Romans experienced. They weren't much healthier than us - but that was the lifestyle that was desired - much like our American go-go-go-rush-rush-rush life...

How many cultures have persisted through the millenia by just kicking back, relaxing and waiting out each new over-acheiving empire? Hmmm... The Spanish survived the Romans, the Ottomans, the Germans, and will probably survive the Americans...

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 17:55:23.619244+00 by: Dan Lyke

When I'm living alone, I tend towards an early bed-time and an early wake-up. Charlene's a night owl, so the compromise is that we have a big ol' array of daylight balanced flourescent lights in the bedroom as our alarm clock. Possible to sleep through if you want to (just pull the covers over), but helps kick start the day earlier.

Of course some mornings I'm really tired. On Wednesday for some reason I was dreaming about HTML when the light came on, and all of a sudden all the quotes got too bright to look at.

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 19:32:49.711775+00 by: dws

Unfortunately, my "natural schedule" is based on a 25-26 hour body clock, with sleep suffering when I try to shoehorn that into a 24 hour day. (I tried living a 26 hour day in college one semester. It was fun, but scheduling was a mess.)

I'm considering the bank-of-lights trick for a morning kickstart. Do you have that set up to ramp up slowly? (I've seen plans to do that via X10.)

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 19:51:04.766583+00 by: Dan Lyke

We just use a cheap "away from the home" timer, I think they're actually less than 5 bucks at the hardware store. The precision is bad enough that it usually takes a day or two to get the start time just where I want it, but that hasn't been enough of a hassle that I've changed anything yet. I've considered something that'd be a little smarter, the current task at work might leave us with a bunch of spare AR-16 relay interfaces, with the right staggering of light colors and amplitudes we could probably almost simulate sunrise.

But really, while there's a slow ramp-up during dawn, if you're anywhere near natural light that shift from shadow to sun is pretty abrupt, so I've been fine with the start-up time of the ballast.

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 20:25:37.024213+00 by: Mars Saxman

I'm on a weird and fairly rigid schedule right now due to the telecommuting situation, so I get up just before 7 AM every weekday. I find I have to go to bed around 11 PM or I have trouble getting my brain started the next morning. Even after two and a half years, though, it remains an awkward and uncomfortable schedule. My previous "corporate compromise" schedule was about two hours later (up at 9 AM, bed at 1 AM), and while that felt a tad early at the time, it sure looks good from here. Years ago, when I was working for myself, I stayed up until I got tired and got up when I woke up. My day usually started noonish and ended at dawn. I don't think I'm quite that nocturnal anymore, but it would be interesting to find out.

ebradway: I've made a point of not bringing any timetelling device on my last few backpacking trips. I was amazed at how clock-dependent my time sense is; after the first half day, I can't guess the time within three hours. It's a weird sort of blind feeling. I do it in order to force myself to do things because they need to be done, not because it is time to do them, but I have lived by a schedule (of more or less detail) for my entire life and it is a hard habit to release. Still, when I *can* let go of the need for a schedule, I feel more relaxed and more grounded in reality.


#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 20:53:27.279921+00 by: aiworks

For the last several years, I've woken up about 20 minutes before my alarm goes off (every day like... um... clockwork). I have a somewhat erratic morning schedule where I need to wake up at some time between 5a to 8a depending on who I need to talk to that day. It's rare that I need to wake up at the same time on consecutive days.

In my early morning fugue state, I always debate if I should go ahead and get out of bed or try and sleep through the rest of the 20 minutes. That mental excercise tends to take about 20 minutes.

On weekends/holidays when I don't use an alarm, I'm never able to sleep more than 7 or 8 hours. Strangely, this applies even if I've just gone through some kind of marathon of consciousness (30+ hours). In that case, I definently wake up feeling bad: I just can't get back to sleep.

In fact, I just don't think I get very productive sleep. Waking up "feels" violent and jarring.

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-05 22:44:24.04605+00 by: ghasty

Unfortunatly, I'm a night owl that would prefer to stay up til 2am or so and sleep til 9am-ish. My current job has one problem...all hell break loose if something goes wrong at 5am...so I have to fight staying up late just in case I start getting alarm pages just after 3am...

#Comment Re: Joys of natural schedules... made: 2003-12-06 19:33:47.722233+00 by: Shawn

I don't really know what my natural schedule is, never having had a chance to let it develop. But I do know that I tend to be most productive and alert during mid-morning, mid-evening and I usually get a second wind around 11pm. I tend to like the feel of nights (the atmosphere) but more than anything else I'd like to be able to have a good-sized mid-day siesta/break/downtime.