Late chronotypes and freelancing
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:38
Member
Italian to English
Feb 3, 2014

I am what is known as a late chronotype; left to my own devices, I get up late, and go to bed VERY late.
When required to by what I term as "outside commitments" (getting to an appointment, or getting to work before I was a freelancer), I have no problem getting up early, although I cannot say it is pleasant for me.

I am currently adjusting from university life (I studied nursing, so was required to start lectures at eight, and be on the ward for seven am sometimes) to freelancing, and am doing battle with my body clock. If I am brutally honest, I know that getting up early makes me more productive, but it IS an eternal battle, and to me that is not what freelancing is about; being independent to me also means finding a balance, a certain harmony in life.


Here is a link to an interesting article on late chronotypes:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/05/11/internal-time-till-roenneber/


If anyone has any tips, experiences or thoughts to share on the topic I would be grateful. If you are a late chronotype and a freelancer, how have you dealt with the situation? Have you gone against your body clock (most clients and agencies begin work early), or have you kept to its times?


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Crazy society Feb 3, 2014

I think "late chronotype" just means "night person".

I'm a night person. I like to work until very late and get up late in the day.

The fact is that we live in a crazy society in which we're all supposed to make our biological clocks run on the same time, but we're not actually like that at all.


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:38
English to German
+ ...
No need to worry, Fiona. Feb 3, 2014

I used to be a night owl, which has changed with age.

Since we communicate via emails I see no problem in this.


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Texte Style
Local time: 15:38
French to English
Time zones Feb 3, 2014

You could always drum up a customer base in the US, who are 6 hours behind us!

I am in the same situation as you, and I found it out when I worked for a boss who didn't mind when you worked so long as you got the work done. I mostly got to the office between 10 and 11, then did bits and bobs until lunch at 12, then powered through a huge bulk of work in the afternoon. Output and adrenaline would peak at about five, and I would still be happily working at 7 pm. In the event of an emergency I had no problem working till midnight provided someone sent for pizza.

I then worked in an agency and had to be there at 9, knocking off at 4 to pick up the children I had had between jobs. So my kids got the full benefit of my energy in the evening. I later wanted to change my hours, once they were old enough not to need Mummy at home, and I argued that I would be most productive at that time of day. I then found myself doing overtime simply because I wouldn't even be thinking about the time of day, being totally immersed in my work.

Nowadays I might answer the odd e-mail before having my breakfast at about 9.30, but I'll only log into Skype once I feel like I can handle PMs. Some would pounce on me the minute I turned my computer on, so now I make sure I disconnect Skype before turning the computer on in the morning.

I don't see any need to apologise for not being around the minute the PM is ready to ask about availability. Even if an agency is open for business at 9, they rarely start phoning or sending messages before about 10, so if I don't answer before 11 it's not as if they have had time to wonder if I'm alive


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:38
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Tom and Gudrun Feb 3, 2014

Tom in London wrote:

I think "late chronotype" just means "night person".


Of course it does


Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:

No need to worry, Fiona.


I'm not worried


Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:

Since we communicate via emails I see no problem in this.


Good point, however if I obey my body clock and get up at midday, or two in the afternoon, half of my agencies' and clients' working day is already over. I was just wondering if owls and night people have ever had any problems with being "less available" for the average client, as it were?


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:38
English to German
+ ...
You are available - Feb 3, 2014

when all the others have gone (e.g. after 5 p.m., on Friday afternoons). Then it will be your turn.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Like Texte Style, I don't see any need to apologise Feb 3, 2014

The thing is, we're individuals who need around 8 hours' sleep plus some leisure time; but most of us work in an international market-place, so we're never going to be able to please all of our clients all of the time.

I'm not sure I'm at my best at either end of the day - is there a name for a middle-of-the-day person? Anyway, personal circumstances determine that I'm really not able to respond to contact from my European clients at 8am their time. For a start, I'm on UK time so an hour behind most of them; but I'm also my husband's roadie and his gigs keep us up until at least 1am a few nights per week. I certainly lose a few potential clients from the EU through not responding fast enough, particularly if they know I live in Spain (so really ought to be on Madrid time). But then again, I'm probably on-line much later than many EU-based translators. Anyway, I have clients all over the world and we soon get used to what's possible and what isn't in our relationship.

Fiona, you say
If I am brutally honest, I know that getting up early makes me more productive, but it IS an eternal battle, and to me that is not what freelancing is about; being independent to me also means finding a balance, a certain harmony in life.
I think you've summed it up there: find your own balance. Personally, I focus on the advantages of my way of working, and live with the disadvantages.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:38
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Polyphasic sleep Feb 3, 2014

Thanks everyone for your replies. I have always been fascinated by sleep, and people have always made fun of me for as long as I can remember for the amount I can sleep

Another interesting article from the BBC about polyphasic sleep:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I blame my UK clients and do as I like! Feb 3, 2014

I too am a 'B' person as the Danes so kindly call it.

However, I explain that my UK clients are not only an hour behind us by the clock, but they work 9 to 5 as opposed to the local 8 to 4.

(Both flexitimed and so on...)

When my husband left the house at 7 am to get to the office at 8, I used to read the newspaper when he had finished with it, and then get down to work like the locals... but since he has retired, we get later and later.

I'm not sure it improves with age - that is not our experience! He was once a farm lad, used to getting up and milking the cows before dawn... and when we had an insomniac baby we took turns - he took the early shift and I kept going until late at night.

But it's great being flexible. We CAN get up if we have to, and take naps when we need to. The days are still too short, but we are less stressed than we used to be.


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:38
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Smartphone :) Feb 3, 2014

Here's another night owl! Flexibility is certainly one of the perks in our profession.
I'm also like Texte Style. My most productive hours are in the afternoon and evening, and sometimes inspiration strikes at 11 pm.

I'm not too worried about missing jobs - very few of my clients send jobs on "first come, first served" basis - but I understand it is important to be available during the usual office hours of my clients.
However, thanks to my smartphone, I can check my email in the morning without getting out of bed. If there's anything requiring urgent attention, I drag myself to the computer, deal with the issue, and then either make breakfast and prepare for the day, or go back to sleep for a bit.

I do sometimes feel a bit embarrassed about my sleeping habits, and that's partly why I don't advertise any "opening hours" on my profile or website. Maybe I should.

[Edited at 2014-02-03 19:49 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
When humans lived in caves... Feb 3, 2014

... someone had to keep the fire burning all night.

And someone had to stoke it up again when the night owls had finally crashed out.

Now in a global society, it must be an advantage again, surely?


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Elina Sellgren  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:38
Member (2013)
Finnish to English
+ ...
Somewhat a night person too Feb 4, 2014

If it didn't hurt my social life and work so much, I would probably wake up around 10-11 am and go to bed around 1-2 am. I would sleep 'too much', i.e. 9-10 hours.

However, I find that it's easier to communicate with clients if I get up at 7 am and start working before 9 am, and end my working day around 4-6 pm. One of my clients is in the U.S. so they're 8 hours behind me, but we've learned to work together so that it is rarely a problem.

And if I need to go to the bank or run errands or go to the gym or whatever, it's much easier to do all that if you wake up before 4pm in the afternoon.. It's not too bad for me right now - I would like to sleep an hour longer and that would be perfect for me. On the other hand, I wouldn't like to work an hour later in the afternoon to compensate for that.. hmm..


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:38
French to German
+ ...
Not that much of a problem, I think Feb 5, 2014

I am quite the opposite, I am usually up and ready to go by 6 am and I find it very hard to sleep more than 6 hours. Needless to say, I hardly ever get any requests at that time, except very rarely from clients with offices in different time zones.

I tend to get most requests around 11 am and then again around 5 pm (on my smartphone, I have no inclination to sit at my desk from 6 am to 6 pm). I have no idea why, but there seems to be a tendency towards these times at the moment. So unless you work with agencies who assign jobs to someone else if you don't get back to them within 5 minutes (for some even that seems to be too long) I don't really think that being a night owl should be much of a problem.


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Late chronotypes and freelancing

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