For two weeks recently I suffered from a significant lack of sleep. All of it completely self imposed by projects I decided to take on.
As I sat there about to go to bed at a normal time (11pm) for the first time in weeks, I took note of some of the side-effects I’ve noticed while I kept pushing.
- it’s hard to concentrate, especially for long periods of time
- Almost impossible to work through even medium complexity code in my head
- It’s actually hard to go to sleep, maybe adrenaline kicking in?
- Very little creative thinking, more like a drone
- I suck at conversations, and I probably sound like an idiot
- I can’t plan anything more than 20 minutes in advance
- I experience random, dramatic outbursts of energy, and it’s a bit creepy for people around me
- My co-ordination stinks, I keep stubbing my fingers
- I feel achy and sore
- It feels like my heart is beating faster (a weird thing for me) I did check it and it’s normal, just feels faster
- Time goes by faster (perhaps explaining the heartbeat)
- I can’t be bothered to listen to podcasts or any of the other sources of information that I usually do
Kind of like this guy:
I think this all means that I suffered a temporary burnout. It’s a very bizarre feeling, almost like I didn’t have complete control over my body and mind.
I’ve heard some people say that in order to successfully run a startup, you need to be putting in 60-80 hours a week to get things off the ground. After these two weeks, I full-heartedly have to disagree. I don’t see how that sort of schedule can lead to any sort of creative thinking, unless you’re looking for hallucinations, which depending on your goals, you just might be! I suppose in short bursts like this (ie: a week or less) for a deadline might be necessary, but working at this pace as a long term strategy just seems silly to me.
After this craziness I’ve decided to go back to a more regular schedule and already I’m starting to feel the side-effects I mentioned above fade away. I’m really looking forward to feeling more normal again
[UPDATE: Apr. 28th, 2011]: I just wanted to confirm again, I’m feeling fine. I found this period to be a very interesting experiment. I feel like I learned quite a bit about myself and specifically the type of person that I don’t want to be.