I have always had side projects outside my day job. It’s a great way to play with new technology, or build some utility that I need. I try to work consistently on one project at a time (this is my 20 Mile March). In the past, I liked to work late at night, when the family goes off to bed and there are less distractions. On some nights, I even had an alcoholic beverage or two while working.
I have been experimenting with different schedules over the last few years and now I wake up early in the morning to work on my side projects (generally from 5-8 am). I have found:
- I am more alert in the morning, and I really enjoy having my first cup of coffee as I work. I rarely feel like pushing the snooze button, because I get to work on something that I am excited about. There’s also something nice about watching the sun rise out of the window as I am working.
My work environment in the morning
- I used to have a hard time winding down and going to sleep after doing some late night hacking. It was always tempting to flush out the code bouncing around in my head. Now I am forced to stop as I leave for my day job.
- My lifestyle seems comparatively healthier. I eat less junk food (My biggest junk food consumption window was at night). This is a big win for me as I have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. I try to stay off electronic devices an hour or two before going to bed and can get 7-8 hours of sleep on most nights. I have pretty much eliminated my alcohol consumption and that helps too.
This approach has had one drawback. I am really tired by 8 or 9 in the evening, and this can make social situations (the few that I participate in) awkward. It’s something that I can live with for now, since I get to work on my projects consistently.