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I have often felt the conventional 9-5 work schedule is followed to maximise group productivity rather than individuals’. Remote working offers the flexibility of managing your time to maximise personal productivity. I’m curious to know if anyone else here follow unconventional time/sleep schedules. How do you adapt working with the client timezones? Any productivity hacks?

FYI : https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/4-alternative-sleeping-cycles-infographic/

PS : I’m personally a monophasic sleeper with a nocturnal preference. I find the nights to be the most peaceful and productive and usually get my sleep from around 6am to 1pm.


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    Hey Gokul, I have always been quite fascinated with our sleep processes. There is just such an impact that it has not only on our everyday productivity, but also on our long-term mental health.

    I actually have always been a monophasic sleeper and like to follow a very standard routine. I sleep at around 11:30pm and my body wakes up everyday between 6-6:10.

    I have not identified periods of time that are more productive for me. I have, however, found certain routines helping me have a productive day. So, I am very specific about following them - morning gym/exercise, at least two walks of 10-15 mins during my work time, an evening snack at 4:30-5 are some of my practices.

    I have always worked during the day and even while working the most crazy hours in my previous life as an investment banker, I used to make it a point to not have any stimulants - coffee, energy drinks, etc.

    I used to work across timezones as an analyst at JPM and do so even now with my clients. But I make it a point to convey my routine to them. Of course, always happy to adjust for special situations, but I ensure that those don’t become a norm.

    The article was a great read, thanks for sharing!

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      Very interesting read Gokul! I have always believed having a monophasic sleep cycle is the best you can achieve but it seems there are alternative patterns that are feasible too.

      However, I still strongly agree with Karthik. There have been numerous stretches of days when I have had to break my usual schedule for a deadline or urgent requests. I only remember being miserable during those times, needing multiple cups of coffee during the day to stay alert.

      As for clients or my manager, I like to convey upfront my usual schedule and have alignment on it.

      I recently came across the Rise Science app and found it very helpful to maintain good a sleeping habit.

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        I work with team members across 4 timezones (I am in the US with a colleague in India, another in Australia and one in Europe).

        And we have defined the 6 hours from 12 am to 6 am in each of our timezone as “Zero Expectation”.

        The though is that these 6 hours ensure we do not intervene in each others’ personal spaces despite working in such diverse zones.

        So slamming out this “Zero Expectation” zone can help you out. Though, you might need to do it with each client of yours.

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          That’s a great idea! I also work with several timezones and find that challenging sometimes. I am in Brazil and might wake up and have a few urgent emails in my inbox already (from clients in Europe) or sometimes when I’m about to stop working for the day get a new one from someone who is in Los Angeles, for example.

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          Hey Gokul, I think you’ve touched upon a very interesting and important topic in your question.

          Sleep is an area I’m quite fascinated by and I’ve learnt about it the hard way. My sleep cycles have wildly rotated between completely diurnal where in boarding school for the first half of my life I slept form 9 PM to 5 AM, and then completely nocturnal in the second half where in college and early professional years - I usually studied/worked till 4 AM, and slept from 5 AM to 11 AM. It’s only when I suffered the consequences of a bad sleep routine recently in terms of poor health, did I start paying more attention to sleep.

          It doesn’t really matter if you’re diurnal or nocturnal, but the most important fact about sleep is that you should consistently go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. As far as sleeping phases go, mono-phasic or bi-phasic (yes, yes we all feel that postprandial dip after a hot, delicious lunch) either is good as long as you get adequate (7 to 9 hours) of sleep.

          While I understand that some situations may require you to stretch yourself, but the best way to deal with clients, particularly from different time zones, is setting up clear expectations upfront. I have worked with teams across the globe, sometimes with time-zones where we had barely any overlap of working hours. As long as expectations are communicated and managed well, and quality work is being delivered from your end, you would find that most of your clients / co-workers would be more than happy to accommodate.

          And the productivity hacks for a good sleep - dim the lights a couple of hours before bed time , do away with screens (blue light suppresses melatonin - the hormone that induces sleep), don’t consume liquor or coffee (especially closer to bed time) and exercise.

          I have read about studies where empirical evidence has proven that inadequate/poor sleep can impair your performance by as much as 40%! Sleeping well is highly underrated and now that remote work enables us to better take care of ourselves, I feel getting our sleep right should be one of our topmost priorities.

          If you’re even mildly interested in knowing more about sleep, I would highly recommend a book called ‘Why We Sleep’ by the British scientist Matthew Walker. Or if you prefer, you can listen to the awesome podcast he recorded with Joe Rogan here: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-joe-rogan-experience/e/54245399

          Hope this answers some of your questions.