The Late Night Morning Owl


I know I have a bit of a… reputation for being up at weird hours. But lately, I’ve been falling into a work pattern that… has some good elements to it, but probably isn’t sustainable.
The main cause of this has been cf.1
Since he’s working across the pond, he tends to be up and responding to email/IRC around 1 or 2 am and falling offline around noon to 1 pm PDT. (Astute readers will notice that this is an 11 hour day… which… now I feel really bad about some of the meetings we ask him to be at.)
He’s been a really good sport about this and we got spoiled because he was here for a few weeks just a couple of weeks ago2, so we typically just expect that he’ll be able to be in meetings (because he was in them while he was here… and now he’s “just a phone call away!”)
I’ve always been a late(r) riser, so I’ve noticed that if I don’t touch bases with Nick until I’m booted up, then he’d be parking his brain’s drive heads for the day. I’ve found that to really be effective in helping him with things and doing reviews, I tend to need to stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning, when it’s his morning, and try to be around earlier in the PDT day, to catch him at the end of his day.
On certain days (that tend to be coincident with the days I set up my coffeemaker’s timer), this turns out to be workable; I’ll go to bed around 4 and get up around 8 to the smell of fresh brewed coffee. It affords me the opportunity to catch up on IRC, email, and the fires that flared up overnight, and deal with them before coming into the office and trying to get something done.
But if I don’t set up the coffeemaker, I find myself getting up at 10 or sometimes even 11, and not getting into the office until noon or sometimes even 1.
I don’t like this for a number of reasons.3 The largest one is that it tends to fragment my work day too much, I think.
Anyway, this is relevant because the weekly build team meetings have traditionally been at 2 pm Pacific… and this turns out to be suboptimal, but workable for East Coast peeps. For Nick, it’s positively hell.5
We’ve been trying to find a new time for it, but we’ve run into conflicts with other “random” meetings. ;-)
It looks like we’ve found a place that may work, but it’s a 10 am meeting… and I’ve always hated any meetings before 11 am (what with getting up, getting into the office, and getting caffeinated, I tend to not be very useful before 11 am anyway).
The upshot is that I think I’m probably going to have to find a way to start shifting my days earlier on principle. I think this is going to be difficult for me because I’ve always been a night owl6, and going to bed at, say 10 or 11 pm, goes against at least fifteen years of going to bed at 2 am. Or later.
I think one of the hardest things, though, about going to bed before midnight is that it would make me feel like… too much of an adult. “Hey, I can still stay up until 3 am, and get up for a 7 am class, and be useful!!”
Except I can’t.
Anyway, in the next couple of months, it’ll be interesting to see how the meeting schedules shift… I’ll also be curious to see if the rest of the build team begins to move “earlier” in the [Pacific Time] Day, since we’ve got Coop and Nick tugging that way for useful collaboration.
It’s not like this is a new problem for the Mozilla Project, but I’ll be curious to see how we, as a team of people who work closely together, end up solving it for ourselves.
And now, a friend from New York just IM’d me… so it’s probably really time to get to bed now, so I can hide for an hour or two from a westward-marching sun.
1 I’m sorry Nick! I still love you though!
2 Or so it feels like…
3 Not the least of which being it makes me feel like4 a huge deadbeat loser.
4 [other people are thinking I'm]
5 More than a build meeting already is, since he’s currently working on the 2004/150twelve release.
6 And I’ve recently gotten back into hacking by candlelight… which I used to do all the time in college, but had forgotten how… awesome that is.