Burning The Midnight Oil
One of the many lessons I have learned in being an entrepreneur is that you work a lot. Actually, a more accurate statement is you always work – morning, day and night. Working in a creative field like video production, I have found that often I do my best work after the kids are asleep, the phones have stopped ringing and the majority of emails have come to a halt… except for those of you who – like me – sleep little. Over the years with lots of experience burning the proverbial midnight oil, I have found a few dos and don’ts of making the best of it without waking up the next morning with your keyboard imprinted on your face. Here a few tips that work for me…
First of all, I always require a really good drink. No, I am not talking booze here. Also, do not load up on caffeine. Trust me, I did this for several years – downing large, caffeinated drinks into the wee hours of the night. Yes, it keeps you up but going to bed at 2:00 a.m. with your mind still working at full-speed is not setting yourself up for success the following day. Loading up on caffeine for all of your conscious hours will also be a tough habit to break. I like a big icy glass of lemonade or a sparkling fruit juice myself. Something kind of sweet and refreshing, so it feels like a treat.
Next, make sure you have good lighting in your workspace. As a video editor, often darker is better but not when you are also fighting off the sand man. Find a happy medium of soft light – halfway between hospital room and nightclub. I like to have the TV on sometimes in the next room. For me, I keep the volume low and usually on a sporting event I don’t care too much about. Just a little something to keep me company without becoming a distraction. Also, sit up in your chair and maintain good posture. I use a firm pillow to assist.
Another good practice is to wear comfortable clothes. You are not dressing to impress here. I go with my Adidas gym shorts and a t-shirt every night. Favorite hat is optional.
If you start to fade a bit but still have a ways to go, get up and stretch. Going outside isn’t a bad thing either. My neighborhood gets dark and quiet at night and sometimes, offers a refreshing break.
Lastly, if none of these suggestions are working, GO TO BED! There’s always tomorrow.