A Method to Madness: Dealing with a Change in Work Schedule

method_to_madness_change_schedule

November is eating me whole and I have the feeling it will spit me out, coated with the aftermath of NaNoWriMo and work projects and tasks, the moment December rushes in. While I am still in the middle of it all, I thought it would be nice to share with you guys some of the things I am learning along the way. It’s not like this is all new to me (or even to you) but you know what they say: We all learn each time we tackle something.

I guess one of the highlights in my job right now is the new look of our company’s (internal) website. I know I don’t often talk about anything specific with regards to my job (except that I do what I love so really, it doesn’t feel much like a job) but I’ll make an exception this time.

I have been with my current company for three years and my boss, the Creative Director, is pretty awesome. (Another huge factor why I’m still with the company.) She seems to understand exactly what being a creative leader is all about and I think that’s why her team (me and four other people) works pretty efficiently. She’s currently on leave right now and I am assigned to work on the aforementioned company website. It’s a huge project — implementing the layout, moving and updating contents, fixing errors and other issues along the way, etc. It’s times like this that most days feel like the 8-hour work shift is busting at the seams. And I’ll be honest with you: I’m excited (thrilled, even) to work on this. But I’m also nervous and worried. This might not work out. People (especially the ones who matter) might not like it. And anyone who has ever worked with websites know that errors and technical issues spring up on the last minute, popping up in your face. But you go on ahead, anyway. You come to work each day, work on things and give the best you can.

As I work on this project, I was also given a new schedule. From the early morning shift of 6:30 AM to the night shift of 8:00 PM. And we all know how that creates a domino effect in the flow of your work. The sudden change in schedule can disrupt your brain and body in more ways than one. I’ve been in this boat before and in retrospect, to avoid any serious ineffective work flow on your part, here’s my list of take-away with regards to this matter:

  1. Never underestimate taking your vitamins. Especially when your body is undergoing a flip in schedule, causing confusion and wreaking havoc within your system. It does weaken you at some point. So gear up and go ahead. Take those vitamins. You’ll be less likely to get sick.
  2. Familiarize your body over the weekend. What I have done was I stayed up until the wee hours of Friday night (or early morning) and then stayed up all of Saturday and Sunday night. By Monday’s new work schedule, I was ready. Sort of.
  3. Coffee helps me so I never went out without it during the start of each work day. During my first back-to-the-night-shift, I had three large tumblers of various coffees.
  4. Pace yourself with work. Yes, there are items you’re itching to take down that to-do list. And yes, there’s that other project you need to work on as well. Your body is still getting accustomed to your new schedule. It’s a good idea to pace both brain and body to avoid burnout at the end of the day.
  5. Don’t forget to take some breaks in-between. It helps keep you awake and keep you sane. I chat with my co-workers from time to time and considering that nearly everyone is present in the night shift, that’s a big advantage for me. Not only do I get to re-connect and catch up with my friends but by doing so, it also helps keep my spirits high and my mind awake.
  6. Eat right. So many people overlook this. It’s easy to replace sleeping with eating loads of food but in the long run, it’s really not healthy.
  7. Plan your meetings and if possible, negotiate for a time that would both work for you and for others. This is important. You want to have a presence of mind and be fully awake when meeting with colleagues and bosses. Don’t let the struggle of staying alert and awake affect your work performance.
  8. And last but not the least: Tune in to some music. It does wonders in boosting your mood. Music is scientifically proven to affect the way you approach and deal with what you’re currently doing. Might as well take advantage of that fact!

I’m sure there are more tips and tricks to survive being in the night shift and it would be great if you could share them here. If you’re in the same boat as I am, good luck! And here’s to us eventually becoming well-adjusted to staying up all night!

* image from Unsplash / some photo edits done by me

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