Here’s the thing, I’m wrong most of the time. I’ve long held fast that I do my best work after midnight. I’ve long felt that caffeine and sugar would keep me going deep into the night when I really hit my stride. I’ve also maintained that nicotine helped me stay focused because it gave me an excuse to get up and walk away from my computer for a little while and made me more social. Walking away from my computer to grab a smoke seemed like the perfect amount of exearcise too. Finally, I figured if I didn’t eat for 48 hours that it was no big deal.
That lifestyle worked for me for a long time. It kept me focused on work and learning. I bought into the notion that your brain gets imprinted a certain way when you learn things all hopped up on caffeine and nicotine. So I believed that I had to maintain.
I was wrong (don’t worry, I still believe in Jarmusch, despite how Ghost Dog turned out). Which is nothing new mind you. But this is a deeper, more long-term wrong. One that was decades in the making. How do I know I was wrong? Let me count the ways:
- One one-thousand: The soda doesn’t affect me. First of all, that’s in direct opposition to why you do it. And I still do, although I’ve managed to cut back and continue to do so. Second of all, the second I stopped drinking any soda after 5pm my sleep problems disappeared immediately. Oddly, Dr. Pepper stock has dropped…
- Two one-thousand: I’m a night owl. No, I’m actually not. After I dropped caffeine after 5pm I am in bed earlier and up earlier. I enjoy being up earlier in the morning. I am less grumpy when I wake up naturally and I have more time so I can go work out, have a more relaxed exit from the house with my daughter (she’s much less ornery in the morning when she isn’t rushed – OR AM I?!?!).
- Three one-thousand: Smoking makes me more social. No. Smoking makes me less social. I put a barrier around myself by smoking, seemingly unaware of the impact on propinquity with others. Or not consciously aware. Smoking also causes me to want to vacate my chair and to be honest, I do my best work in my chair, not outside smoking. And while I do occasionally meet people outside smoking, I meet far more when not smoking.
- Four one-thousand: I do my best work at night. Again, I have hit a new stride of sorts. You see, no one knows when I write my posts. They all go up at 6am or whatever time I want and they usually get released daily rather than in a burst of 10 one day and none for a week like I write them. Sure, I’ll go weeks without, especially while I’m working on me and not computers. But the beauty of a CMS is that I get to future post. I don’t write after midnight any more. In fact, I’m writing this post on an exercise bike.
- Five one-thousand: I don’t need to work out. Yes, I said exercise bike. You can re-read this section 10 times, but it will still say the same thing. Yes, getting up earlier and going to the gym or yoga every day of the week actually makes me happy. Clearly pacing while smoking is stoking the Fitbit Flex, but it’s not really doing me any good.
- Six one-thousand: Trust the tech. Sure, the Fitbit and Nike+ can see that I’m taking steps which is probably why I don’t weigh 4 times what I do. But Fitbit tells me my sleep sucks when I have caffeine after 5 and that I feel much better when I burn more calories.
- Seven one-thousand: I don’t need food if I drink soda or coffee for breakfast. After 30 minutes on the elliptical the other day I had only burned half the calories in a can of Dr. Pepper. When I eat earlier in the day I feel better at bed time. Who cares what I can reason to myself, I actually feel better…
- Eight one-thousand: I need to stop reasoning crap to myself. When your alarm goes off in the morning and you hit snooze, you’re reasoning to yourself that you have a little more time. When you decide to eat that last slice of pizza knowing that even if you have Lactaid that you’ll have heartburn tonight you’re reasoning yourself into some good old fashioned acid reflux. When you work an extra 10 minutes rather than go buy flowers for your significant other, you’re reasoning yourself into divorce.
- Nine one-thousand: Focus. If I’m not staying up as much or getting into that laser focus at night then I can’t do my job or write books or write articles. Poppycock. When I drop the multi-threading that is induced by what I’ve come to look at as practically a caffeine driven mania then I have focus. And I’ll pit one hour of focus against 10 hours of delusional multi-tasking any day. I now want to do one task. It gets knocked out in a fraction of the time it used to. Then I want to do another. I want each task done well. See, I don’t have a context switch or hardware interrupts like a CPU does… Without that focus I haven’t grown in a long time. I’m glad to have it back. Now to set some boundaries on others to try and keep it…
- Ten one-thousand: But your concurrent computing techniques may be way better than mine. Your mind may be able to time share while still having plenty of memory protection. More power to your multithreaded self. I’m not saying anyone should mimic me or do as I say. I’m not even saying I won’t smoke tomorrow or that I won’t end up drinking 3 Dr. Peppers. I’m cutting back, being better, being happier and feeling better. That certainly doesn’t mean anyone else needs to. Yes, I live in the midwest now; no, I haven’t picked up a mean dose of the judgmentals. In fact, just because I wrote this, I think I’ll grab a Juicy Lucy tomorrow, for lunch, along with a milkshake!
Thanks for reading my site. I suspect I’ll be writing it for a little longer than I’d previously thought. Unless the Juicy Lucy gives me a heart attack on the spot. In which case know I died a very happy man who was ironically a little more healthy than I was 2 months ago!
Note: This is one of those posts that is for me, not you. I am happy you stuck with it until the end. But I also fear that in having done so I may have actually reduced your IQ. Sorry about that. I’ll make it up to ya’ in Jägermeister.