When I tell people I have 25 hours a day, they think I'm bragging about how much I work. So perhaps the title of this blog post is more accurate. Why do I do that? Simple: because I want to be happy and productive. Below is a short explanation.
It works like this: every day I'm awake on average 17 hours and asleep 8 hours. Which means that every day the time I go to sleep shifts forward 1 hour. I do not force myself to go to sleep, I always sleep as much as I like and I feel great. I've been living like that for the past 8 years and I'm very happy with this. As you can probably imagine this creates some issues, but nothing major. Before we go into those let me tell you a brief story about how I got into this schedule.
About 9 years ago I read a book called "The promise of sleep" by William C. Dement, which I highly recommend to everyone. It literally changed my life. It basically explained a lot of things about how sleep works, such as biological clock, sleep debt, different sleep phases and how it all works together. I also learned that people need different number of hours of sleep and different number of hours when they're awake, so for some people it may amount for less or more than 24 hours a day. For example, there are some extreme cases where people can sleep just 2-3 hours and feel fully refreshed and be on their feet for the next 22 hours. And the only way to learn about your true need for sleep is to get rid of sleep debt first and then go to sleep and wake up naturally, only when you feel like it.
Being a person who always worked remotely, that really helped. I started experimenting (at the time I was 22, I think) and soon enough found out that I shift. And from there it started being my lifestyle. Of course, sometimes I shifted more than 1 hour due to circumstances, sometimes I didn't shift at all. But on average, I made a full circle in about 30 days.
Of course, this required special arrangements with the employers. I now always mention that I have this special schedule and I make a point of explaining it to them. Luckily, this is simple enough, as most remote work is of such kind, that it doesn't require me to be online in certain hours. More interestingly, when I started managing an international team as a CTO, we had developers from New Zealand to South Africa, to Uruguay and the US, and my schedule became an advantage, rather then an obstacle: I had an opportunity to be in touch with all of them, over month time (obviously spending less time with some and more with others depending on the point in the cycle).
Now, whenever I need to overstay or wake up for a flight, for instance, I really feel this awful, almost forgotten feeling of not being refreshed. And whenever I talk to other people, I realize most of them have to endure that feeling almost every day of their lives. And it makes me very sad, because I know how unproductive I am myself if I sleep at least 1 hour less than I want - and some get even less than that.
And then I look at the world as a whole. We have so many people in the world who don't get enough sleep, people we entrust our lives to: pilots, doctors, judges, drivers! And yet nobody seems to care. What if before you got on a plane, you saw how many hours ago your pilot woke up and how many hours did he sleep before that? Industry standards only define how much they can work, but have neither control nor information about their actual sleep time. I'm pretty sure most would skip 50% of the flights if they knew that information. Yet people look at me like I'm some kind of an alien when I tell them about my schedule.
So, I'd like to imagine a world where people always get enough sleep and go to sleep when they want to. Would it be different? I suppose it would, but it would be better. Yes, most venues would be open 24 hours, but if I go to 7Eleven at 4 o'clock in the morning, I'd be pretty sure I wouldn't see a clerk who's been up all day standing behind that desk dreaming of a soft pillow. That's not talking about airline pilots - it'd be a completely different story. We would also see a lot less traffic jams, because there would be no official office hours and people wouldn't be trying to get to and from work at the same time. Overall, I think the world would be more balanced and happier. But this is the kind of change that's more controversial than legalizing drugs.
Back to my schedule. Yes, it makes some things more complicated. Girlfriends were initially not very happy/understanding about this. Some of my friends still don't get it. My parents don't get it either. And yes, you have to be introverted and enjoy being alone, which I am and which I do. But one thing for sure, it is a great feeling, to be able to enjoy a glass of beer watching the sun rise.