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One famous saying says that programmers are machines that turn caffeine from coffee and Coca Cola into a programming code.
And if you ask a programmer when does he like working the most and when is he most productive – he is probably going to say late at night or early in the morning, that is when he has the greatest energy and concentration to work. Everyone of us is different, and so are these special people that provide us with all these programs that we enjoy in the 21. Century. Some of them love working afternoon, some of them love working with the sun rise.
When we asked one of our acquaintances who is a programmer, when does he love to work, he said that usually he works at 2 in the morning, because when the day dawns, a lot of things distract him and he can’t keep a high level of concentration. Although, he confessed to us that he has a friend who works until 4-5 in the morning and then sleeps almost all day long...
In essence both of these examples are avoiding distractions, but so are many others. You are probably wondering, why don’t they just lock the door and they will have their peace and work atmosphere.
The Maker’s Schedule
In the year 2009 Paul Graham wrote about the maker’s schedule – essentially that there are two types of schedules in our world. The traditional manager’s schedule where your day is divide into hours and distractions that take away ten minutes of your time cost you, sometimes adding up to an hour’s worth of work time.
On the other side you have a thing that PG calls the maker’s schedule – a schedule for those people who create things. Working on huge abstract systems involves placing the entire thing into your mind – somebody once compared this to building a house out of expensive crystal glass and as soon as someone distracts you, it all comes crushing down and brakes into a million pieces.
This is why programmers are so irritated when someone distracts them.
Because of this great investment of the mind, we just can’t start doing some work until we can expect a few hours with no distractions. It is just not worth constructing the entire model in your mind and then having it broken down half an hour later.
In fact, when you talk to a big number of founders you’ll find out they just simply can’t do any work during the day. The non-stop barrage of interruptions, important things to take care of and emails to answer don’t allow that. So they get most of their working time during the night when everyone else is asleep.
The Sleepy Brain
But even programmers need to sleep at night. They are not a race of superhumans.
Then why do we do our most mentally challenging work when our brain wants to sleep and our simpler tasks when our brain is at it’s brightest and sharpest?
It is because fatigue makes us better programmers.
Similar to the Ballmer peak, when people are tired they can focus better, because when the human brain gets weary it must focus! Simply, your brain isn’t allowing a drop of concentration anymore.
It seems that when I drink too much tea or a poorly timed energy drink I get the smallest amount of work done. It makes me hyperactive and one moment I’m checking Facebook, the next I'm checking Twitter and then I’m browsing hacker news and it just seems that I am buzzing all over the place.
You would think I’d work better – so much endless energy, so much unlimited brainpower. But instead of that, I can’t focus for more than two seconds on one thing.
Contrary, when I’m a little bit tired, I just sit my butt down and code. With a somewhat tired brain I can code for hours and hours without thinking about checking Facebook or Twitter. It’s like the internet doesn’t exist anymore.
I feel like this stands for a lot of programmers. We have too much brainpower for 80 percent of the projects we work on – face it, writing that one algorithm, needs ten times as much code to create an environment in which it can work. Even if you’re doing the most complex machine learning that is possible, a lot of the work is just cleaning up the information and presenting results in a nice manner. And when your brain is not working at full capacity it looks for stuff to do. Being tired makes you stupid enough that the given task is just enough.
Bright Computer Screens
This is very simple. Keep staring at a very bright source of light in the evening and your sleep cycle gets delayed. You are not to be tired until 2am. Then you wake up at 10am and when the evening comes you simply aren’t tired because you’ve only been up since 10am!
This can place you in a different timezone. More interesting is that once you get into that rhythm of going to bed between 2am and 4am, you stay there. Maybe is that just the alarm clocks doing their thing because society tells us we’re dirty lazy slobs if we eat breakfast at 3pm.
We can conclude, our dear programmers work at night because they don’t have a strict time schedule when they need to finish their work, which gives them more relaxed approach, their brain doesn’t have any distractions and interruptions, and a bright screen keeps them awake.
Now that you've gotten free know-how on this topic, try to grow your skills even faster with online video training. Then finally, put these skills to the test and make a name for yourself by offering these skills to others by becoming a freelancer. There are literally 2000+ new projects that are posted every single freakin' day, no lie!