525 words — 3 minutes read

On Sleeping

I will sleep more!

I’m on the second day of our holidays on a camping ground near Venice in Italy. I have just woken up from a quiet nap around noon, at the time where the heat brings all life to a crawl. I feel refreshed and awake - what a difference to this time a week ago, or even three days.

This night I slept 7 hours. I went to bed at 23:00 and got up at 6:00 when the alarm clock on my mobile phone woke me up. I spent the first hour of the morning at the beach, running a couple of kilometers along the shore.

I start to feel relaxed and slowly the strain from the last couple of months is draining away. I was working way to much. In times where most of my colleagues have little to do and jobs and projects are scace, I had not one but three clients. I was positive that I could juggle the work and satisfy all three. I almost managed. Granted, there were some raw nerves, some disappointed faces, when not all of the expected features made it into the next release of the software. But all in all, I thought that I did fairly well.

Of course I paid a price for this. One of the first things that went away was sleep. Some days I got up at 4:30 or 5 and started working. When the kids woke up, we made breakfast. I brought my little girl to her day-care occasionally and then I went to the clients site. In the evening, I got home, got some fooed, brought the kids to bed and then continued to work until 23:00 or sometimes until 2 or 3am.

“I can do this rythm”, I thought. Even though I’m not 20 anymore, I still felt like I could manage with 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night.

Of course I was wrong.

A lot of thing suffered. Of course my health suffered, but that wasn’t the part I felt. But a lot of other things did: The quality of my work. After 12 hours of work, I’m just not productive anymore. The time spent in front of the laptop was basically wasted. I almost never managed to “get into the zone”. When I worked I made mistakes that I spent a lot of time fixing. When I didn’t work, I surfed the web, reading stuff (just like you do now). My family suffered - beacuse I hand’t got time for them. If I had time I was thinking about work or grumpy - not something that two small kids like a lot. There were tears when I opened up the laptop.

It’s time for some serious change! The first change in my life will be simple, but I hope it will have a profound effect on my life, the quality of my life and my work. I will sleep more. 7 hours per night (and - if the situation allows - a nap after lunch) is the new norm.

I’m practicing here during the holidays, and I feel a lot better already.

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician