Living the Buffer values

I recently came across the set of values that Buffer aspires to, and I actually find them pretty inspiring.

So I decided to start trying to live these values as well.

These are the values:

Some of these I’m pretty good at already:
  • Default to transparency
  • Focus on self- improvement
  • Be a no-ego doer
  • Do the right thing
Some I’ve been working to get better at:
  • Listen first, then listen more
  • Communicate with clarity
  • Live smarter, not harder
And some I really need to work harder at:
  • Choose positivity
  • Make time too reflect
  • Show gratitude
I’ll go into more detail on how I plan to improve these areas in subsequent posts.

Time for a change – I finally quit my job after 8 years

To be perfectly honest, I knew in April that I’d be quitting soon, but I’m stubborn… Truth be told, I wanted to see the project through to it’s end, and I’ve done that.

After 8 years, it’s a difficult decision to make, but in the end, it came down to two things:

  1. How much am I enjoying the job?
  2. What’s the opportunity for growth?

I wrote a blog post years ago (How to know when you need a new job) in which I agree with Seth Godin’s idea in his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us that the question “How was your day?” is the most important question you can be asked. Frankly, when I realized that I’m starting to look forward to weekends, I knew the writing was on the wall.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love certain aspects of the job, but at the same time, the second point has been weighing on my mind. Unfortunately, I have made myself redundant. The project I manage and work on is feature complete and stable, which means that right now the only thing left to do is maintenance (and not even much of that). Because the maintenance at the moment is pretty simple, we outsource that to a couple of developers that work on our project for about 10 hours a week.

This leaves me to do what I have always been great at – dealing with any other critical issues that we do not have the resources for. Right now, we have a stable product which we now need to sell, which means that digital marketing is the critical issue we need to solve.

Since that was the case, I took over managing the website design and development and fixed up the biggest problems on our main website (http://coretalk.co). While I’m still not entirely happy with it, that was the best I could do in the short run, and over the last 2 months, we’ve had 83 people fill in the contact forms on the site, which is an order of magnitude bigger than what we had previously (I can’t say exactly how much as there was no management of these contacts and the notifications was only emailed to the CEO, but it was definitely less than 10). I also developed a completely new website (http://coretalkreporting.com) for a new marketing initiative in less than a month. All of this was done when I had no experience with digital marketing and very little experience with building websites.

This is exactly why I loved it so much. The other night my wife called me a knowledge vampire, which I think is fairly accurate. I love learning new things or better ways to do existing things, and that is why I both loved and excelled at these projects. However, at the same time, I know that continuing with this is career suicide. I had to decide whether I want to change my career to marketing (and figure out a career path in a field where I would definitely have results to show, but no formal education), or whether I wanted to continue doing software development.

Now as much as I’m enjoying the marketing, I don’t see myself turning that into a career, and as such, my only option was to look for new opportunities.

I have seen some interesting attitudes while I’ve started job hunting. The first is that people have been very surprised at the fact that I resigned before I had a new job lined up. I can certainly see their point, but it seems a bit unethical to me to look for a new job on the sly while still working for your employer. How do you deal with taking time off for interviews etc, without telling him? Obviously people consider resigning a risk (What if you can’t find a new job in time?), but frankly, I know I’m good enough to find a job that I’ll love before my notice period is up.

Another interesting observation is how different the various recruitment companies are. One company told me that the fact that I’ve worked for the same company for 8 years is great, while another was horrified by it. Personally, I’d much rather employ somebody that stays with the same company for at least a couple of years over somebody that finds a new job every year.

So it was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation, but at the same time, I am thrilled at the opportunities that this has opened up for me. I am very excited about the coming year.

Polyphasic sleep – Aborted after 1 week

Strangely enough, adaptation was going really well. It was much easier than the first time, but all the same, I ran into a few minor problems, and one major one. First, the minor problems:

Minor problems during adaptation

Temperature regulation

One thing that I forgot from the previous adaptation was the fact that my bodies temperature regulation seems to be completely out of whack. I suspect that this is actually all in my head though. When I get up, I’m so cold I’m shivering, even though it’s no colder than usual – I suspect this is just my body trying to keep me in bed.

Vivid dreams

Not really a problem, but it is a bit freaky. There was one morning where I woke up very confused about where I was since my dream was so vivid. I was even confused about the fact that I woke up since I was sure that I was not asleep.

Trying to keep yourself occupied

Especially while you are adapting, since you need to do something that will keep you awake, but the rest of the world is sleeping, so your choices are somewhat limited. One thing I found was playing Civilization 5 (Which turns out to be much better than I would have thought).

This brings me to the major problem though:

One major issue: RSI

Turns out that playing that much Civilization 5 comes at a price – Especially for somebody who spends their day in front of a computer as a software developer.

Initially, I noticed the pain only in the morning, so I assumed I had just slept on my arm. It took me two days to realize what was happening and by then, my hand was going numb and tingling. I stopped using my computer and got a full night’s sleep, which didn’t help too much.

I didn’t use my computer at all for 3 days before the tingling went away and I got some feeling back in my hand, but even now I can’t use my PC for more than about 30 minutes before needing a break.

Ironically, I think this was a good thing. I wasn’t taking enough breaks, and my posture was wrong, so I was doing the damage in any case. This just highlighted the situation (Hopefully before I did permanent damage).

For now, I’ve ordered a trackball to replace my mouse and installed some software to remind me to take breaks. I’ve also raised my desk so I can work standing up. So far, the situation is improving (even though my feet are hurting now).

In summary:

As it turns out, creating a sleep schedule based on your own sleep patterns works remarkably well, especially considering that I got it somewhat wrong. I don’t know if it might have gotten worse if I kept on with it, but my adaptation seemed to be going well and it felt like I was over the worst.

Being cold and having vivid dreams is a bit surprising, but minor inconveniences on top of the sleep deprivation, but keeping yourself occupied while you adapt is the real problem.

And finally, RSI is not fun. Read up a bit on RSI and make sure that your work environment is set up correctly and your posture is decent – By the time you feel pain, you’ve done quite a bit of damage and recovering will be much harder than prevention. The following is an excellent resource: http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~cscott/rsi.html

My polyphasic sleep pattern – aka scientific guessing

First, a bit of history. I switched to polyphasic sleep at the beginning of the year and kept it up for about 4 months or so. I started out with the everyman 3 hour sleep pattern which basically means you sleep for 3 hours at night and have about 4 extra 20 minute naps spaced fairly evenly during the rest of the day.

All in all, this worked very well. I eventually gravitated towards a 4.5 hour core sleep, and ended up sleeping between 5 and 6 hours per night, and I felt great. I eventually drifted back to monophasic sleep because I had to travel (Polyphasic sleep is difficult when you’re traveling) and I got sick and felt I needed more sleep.

Monophasic sleep data.jpg

Since then, I’ve waited for my new headband sensors to arrive from Zeo (They only last about 3 months) before going back to polyphasic sleep so that I can monitor my adaptation period. To that end, I got a few days worth of data for normal monophasic sleep after I received my sensors last week.

 

Light green is REM sleep, grey is light sleep, dark green is deep sleep and red is awake.

 

This data shows some interesting patterns:

  • I tend to have the vast majority of my deep sleep between 11pm and 1am
  • I tend to have a fair amount of REM sleep between 4am and 6am

Knowing this, I decided to try doing the everyman sleep pattern, but instead of one chunk of sleep for 3 hours, I’m splitting it up into 2 separate 90 minute chunks at 11pm and 4am with 20 minute naps at 10am, 2pm and 7pm.

The plan is to make sure that I maximize both deep and rem sleep, and see how that works out. It feels kind of like a cross between the everyman and the uberman schedules, hopefully with the best of both. If this works, I’d end up sleeping only 4 out of every 24 hours, but hopefully still have some flexibility with when I can take my naps – Time will tell.

Time for polyphasic sleep again

I’ve decided that it’s time to live up to the tagline on this blog and go back to polyphasic sleep again. For the unenlightened, Polyphasic sleep is a different sleep cycle where you sleep for several short periods over the course of 24 hours, not just in one big chunk during the night.

There’s several different polyphasic sleep patterns where the most hardcore one allows you to sleep only 2 hours a night – This one needs you to have a 20 minute nap every 4 hours and is very inflexible. You can read more about polyphasic sleep on my previous blog post:

http://riaancornelius.com/personal/what-is-polyphasic-sleep/

For this attempt, I’ll tag all the posts with the tag Polyphasic sleep 2.0 to make the posts easy to find without wading through the previous posts, and I’ll do an index post again.

I’ll also cover some other information about Polyphasic sleep in some extra blog posts:

From my analytics, I see that people are finding my site when searching for:

  • Polyphasic headache
  • Puredoxyk
  • Zeo polyphasic sleep (and polyphasic sleep zeo)
  • Ubersleep

So let me address these as best I can.

Continue reading “Time for polyphasic sleep again”