Saturday, February 8, 2014

I've found the perfect cutoff filter!!!

I had an epiphany the other day. I've realized that I have discovered one of the holy grails of engineering and it has been right under my nose for a while. I've found the perfect cutoff filter!!!  It turns out that cutoff filter is Nanogears! No matter how much energy I have going into her bedtime, I have no energy left when I walk downstairs after tucking her in. Lately, her bedtime also involves her getting up out of bed a few times for a drink, blowing her nose, her Teddy is missing, just because, or a myriad of other reasons that a 3 year old can conjure up. (I think my favorite is when she is yawning and rubbing her eyes while emphatically telling me she is not tired.)

Actually, that's kinda sad too. Even on the nights when DrWife and I go through the normal routine without a hiccup and she stays in bed, I still end up with no energy when I get downstairs. I'm not really sure if I know why. The only thing I want to do then is veg on the couch. (Somehow this relates to the tenure track. Don't worry, I'll get there shortly.) Below is a chart of my typical energy level throughout the day. Basically, if it is before 8 AM, I am ridiculously efficient and have a ton of energy. But after that, my energy level just plateaus until Nanogears' bedtime where it falls off a cliff. 

When you're on the tenure track, there's always something you should be doing. For instance, right now I should proofreading any of the 3 papers sitting on my desk, submitting invention disclosure forms, or working on at least one of the two NSF proposals due next week. But I don't have the energy to do any of that. I would rather get up at 4 AM and start working then than stay up late and get next to nothing done. I guess in that regard, I'm a morning person (obviously). 

I routinely get emails late into the night from my fellow faculty members. I'm pretty sure I've traded emails with another faculty member who was just finishing their night at around 4:30 AM while I was just getting started on the next day at that time. But at the same time, I know other faculty members that do the same thing that I do: get up early and get some work done before everyone else in the house is up. 

Is this the norm for other professions? I'm not too sure about that. Some of the industry folks I work with are night owls while others are morning folk.

The odd thing about this is I have no problem staying up late into the night. Most nights I don't end up doing that simply because I get up early in the morning. But there are times when I've woken up at 4 AM, did a whole day of work, and then had to take a long drive for a family trip where we drive well past midnight. And I end up fine the next day. Nanogears gets up at 6:30 or so, and I'm basically no worse off than normal. 

So what do you think is the norm for faculty? Stay up late or get an early start on the day? Which do you prefer?