Some things about my work habits/cycles I noticed today (some of which I've stated before here):

  1. I work in sprints. Boy, do I. I'm learning to plan and pace them out better as I become more aware of how those cycles work - but I shouldn't expect to have THAT MUCH intense thoroughput 100% of the time; it's ok to be Ridiculously Productive half the time and Pretty Darn Productive the other half. I don't yet meet my standards for this, but I'm getting closer.
  2. I may want to seriously look into tuning my work/sleep schedules against each other again, because this week I've been repeatedly running into the "I need to get tired enough to focus" wall. There are some things I'm just too jittery and hyper to plunge through unless I wear myself out enough to sit down for a while first.
  3. ...although alternatively/additionally I could look into doing more physical exercise, sometimes that helps.

Today I had lunch with a rather tired Mo and a rather tired Nikki (it's an intense schedule time for both of them). Mid-conversation, they looked at me and said something to the effect of "are you ever tired?" I thought for a moment, realized that I was in fact exhausted, and said so. There was a look of disbelief around the table, so I explained that I could be tired and hyperactive at the same time, that it was very difficult for me to be tired or exhibit tiredness because the happy-hyper keeps on bubbling up to the surface at the slightest provocation, and that I tended to recover fairly quickly and was in fact already doing so.

I'm terrible at resting; I can't sit still, so even if I'm tired I'll sometimes continue scurrying around completely ineffectively for a while until I realize it and then force myself to stop, conk out, reboot. I'm getting better at this over time, mostly because I've grown more sensitive over the past several years to the physical signals that cue me to look at my mental processes. For instance, I get cold when I'm sleep-deprived; my body loses the ability to regulate its own temperature, and I'll start shivering in a perfectly temperate room. So reaching for a jacket is usually an indication that I ought to get to bed.

Similarly, certain sensations in my arms/hands signal the onset of the very early stages of RSI Doing Bad Things, and I've learned to note those and pull back and spend some time being kind to my muscles (which sometimes involves short spurts of moderate pain as I rub out the hard knots that have collected in the meantime). A particularly clear and effective signal is if I "type my hands cold," that means I've gone long enough to make the knots start cutting off the blood flow to my arms and hands, and my fingers will be freezing even if I'm otherwise warm. If my RSI is acting up, I'm probably working for too long a stretch, and I'm probably tired, and I (physically, at least) need to rest.

Back to work habits: I tend to open a lot of threads and tinker with them in parallel, and then (perhaps hours or days later) close tons of open threads at the same time in one fell swoop. That's where I am right now - a few dozen open threads (some larger than others) are floating in my queue, and it feels like tomorrow is going to be a buffer flush day, when I just go and do the last 10% on each of those items and resolve a whole bunch of things at once.

Oh hey, I found a jacket. This is probably a sign that I should sleep.