Dealing with Weekends

  • On October 23, 2009 ·
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Everybody works different schedules so some folks take the weekend off, some only get to work on their projects in the evening or on weekends. Me, I usually take the weekend to recharge. Sometimes I try to work through parts of it but that seldom works well. I can understand loving what you do and not wanting to take breaks. When I was at the art institute and taking the traditional animation classes, we’d have about 3 breaks and I would only ever take the last one when I was starting to cramp because I was just having too much fun to stop. However weekends are different from hourly breaks because sometimes it feels like the entire week’s load has piled on you and you just need to relax. If you can, allow yourself some time to break. You appreciate the projects more when you can come back to them fresh and rested.

Protip for the college crowd: Don’t stay up late on Sunday night and drag yourself in half dead on Monday morning. I know assignments can often only be finished in one large crunch session, which results in an all-nighter when you’re pinned in by other things. Instead, schedule yourself to stay up late Saturday night. Make a night of it with your buddies. Or if you can’t get anybody else in, try it by yourself. On Sunday night you’ll see tons of people hurrying to get their work done before the dawn so they can try to get some sleep. If you do it Saturday 9 times out of 10 everyone’s out somewhere else partying. This works great when you have to work in a lab with limited resources. I can’t even tell you how nice it is to work on stuff when nobody else is around and you have everything to yourself. Then you head out the door and everybody comes piling in and lines start forming to take turns using printers or other things.

In my opinion, the weekend is taking it easy on Friday, doing something fun on Saturday, then taking Sunday to recover and going to bed early. I’m eager when I go to bed sometimes because I get to work on my own projects and Monday morning always feels like a clean slate. Yet I know it’s important to get that good night’s rest before. I’ve tried starting too early on Monday (Probably closer to a late Sunday night) and I burn through that early excitement too quickly. The body needs rest and if you don’t give it that up front it will take it from you later on when you need energy. I’ve tried napping later and the result is usually feeling more tired when you wake up or just crashing all day. I know it’s hard when there are other people trying to get you to stay up and you need to be in bed. I shoot for going to bed at 11 as the latest, though plenty of times I miss that mark. When I set my alarm the next day, I try to give myself at least 6 hours from when I go to bed. Trying to make yourself get up early even when you can’t get to bed on time is rarely worth it. On the other hand, I’ve had success setting my alarm an hour later than I ideally wanted to get up and plowing through the day because I got a decent sleep. Granted I think I work best early in the morning and would rather be up then, but I’d rather work longer on 6 hours sleep than go on 3 or 4 and crash harder faster.

Yes, I know 6 is less than 8 and you should get a full 8 hours of sleep at night but that feels like oversleeping to me. I always wake up too early naturally and stare at my clock for 2 hours, only making myself tired again. It’s better to just get up than try to force yourself to sleep. Plus I have a habit of sleeping 6 hours during the week and then sleeping in considerably later on weekends. I also have a habit of waking up before my alarm when I know I’ve set it. At that point it only serves as an incentive to get up in my head. I also recently switched to using my old iPod Photo (Color iPod, whatever they’re calling that model) as an alarm clock because my iPod Classic, though giving more advanced options, doesn’t go off when you set it. You have to satisfy conditions of some sort. It has to not be paused, you can’t leave a playlist open even if you’ve finished playing every track in it, you can’t leave an album open – of course, these are just guesses because whether I satisfy these conditions or not, the alarm only ever goes off if it decides it feels like it. And the whole dismiss option that pops up when the alarm goes off, well, I just have no idea about that whole thing. So I went back to my old iPod as an alarm because you just set it and it goes off. I really needed music because a short “EEP EEP! EEP! EEP!”  does not encourage me to wake up. Music playing, on the other hand, is gentle and you can listen to it a couple minutes where you actually wake up before switching it off. Then I have the other alarm set on a 15 minute delay from the iPod, in case I still haven’t gotten out of bed. Again, it’s more a mental thing and rarely do I have to switch it off. Such is my morning routine. It’s actually quite nice when you turn some music on, grab a hot shower, a bagel, and some orange juice.