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Sleep habits and freelancing
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:43
Member
Italian to English


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Jul 27

I did post a similar question to this a while back, but I wanted to get a broader range of feedback from freelancers, so I'm posting again, please bear with me
I am a late chronotype (an owl, as opposed to a lark, or a wolf, as another sleep researcher prefers to call us), a "late riser"; and have struggled pretty much between the schedule society would like me to keep versus what my internal clock is telling me 😁
So what about you? How do your sleep habits fit into your work schedule? Have they been a help or a hindrance? Have you adopted any particular strategies, like working with customers in a particular time zone?
Please feel free to share any thoughts at all on the topic!


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Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hi Fiona Jul 27

Thank you for posting your comment.

I must admit I am a very early riser and a late owl, so I cover practically all time zones.

What I must also say is that my performance at work is better in the morning and late at night.

Have a great evening!

N.


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Desiree Cox
Sweden
Local time: 17:43
English to German
+ ...
Good question! Jul 27

Very interesting question, I always thought of myself of an owl until I started freelancing Now I find I am most productive in the early afternoon and early evening, but the later it gets or the earlier I start, the more I struggle. What does that make me now?

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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 23:43
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Urgh Jul 27

I...I don't...I (sob)

Seriously, I feel like I should develop a regular schedule, and then I could never resist the urge to snooze for five more minutes, which inevitably turns into another hour, which pushes back bed time by another hour, and so on...


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:43
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Good question! Jul 27

I’m more of a late owl, but I do sleep quite well, usually. My sleeping habits vary a lot, depending on my workload at the time. Some nights I might sleep just 5 or 6 hours and others 8 or 9 or even more…

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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Always been a night owl Jul 27

I've always been a night owl, and I guess it will stay that way. The description on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_sleep_phase_disorder almost feels as if it were written about me.

'Attempting to force oneself onto daytime society's schedule with DSPD has been compared to constantly living with jet lag; DSPD has, in fact, been referred to as "social jet lag",' it says, and continues: "The major feature of these disorders is a misalignment between the patient's sleep-wake pattern and the pattern that is desired or regarded as the societal norm... In most circadian rhythm sleep disorders, the underlying problem is that the patient cannot sleep when sleep is desired, needed or expected."

I simply cannot function in the morning. It was a nightmare at high school and much of the time I was employed.

As a freelancer, I've simply taken the consequence and set my official working hours to noon to 7 p.m. even if I live in the GMT+1 time zone, but I often work much later. This allows me to keep the same sleep cycle seven days a week, as I don’t need to catch up with sleep during the weekend.

It may be inconvenient for European clients, but it gives more overlap with the American time zones. The trouble is American clients seem to think everybody works conventional hours.

In any case, that's how it is. If I try to work 'normal' hours, I begin to nod off at 3 p.m., after which my concentration is insufficient to continue work.


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:43
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Night owl here, too Jul 27

I'm definitely a night owl, been since my university years. I hardly ever fall asleep before 3 am. Nowadays I check my email a few times on my smartphone in the morning, still in bed, reply as needed, and if there's nothing urgent to do, I get a few more winks and check again later.

I also find that if I have to work in the morning I get distracted more easily. The most efficient time for me is the late afternoon and evening. Sometimes the "inspiration" strikes even just a few hours before (my) bedtime, and whenever I have a morning deadline, I prefer to finish and send the work the night before. For noon deliveries I usually leave only the final check to be done that day.

[Edited at 2017-07-27 20:18 GMT]


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Tania123  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Member (Jul 2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Early early Jul 27

I work better in the mornings, so if I have tight deadlines, I wake at 5am to ensure that I get the work done on time.
My timetable is varied though. When I started, I could work till 8pm as an absolute limit, but now I can work till 10 or 11 if I really need to!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:43
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I don't care Jul 27

I don't really care too much when I sleep or wake. I live alone so my working hours don't inconvenience anyone else. I think I work best in the morning and I get sleepy in the afternoon, but I'll happlly work any time, really. provided nothing else more stimulating is going on.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
All night Jul 28

I'll work all night if the work is interesting - and I'm so fascinated by translation that I often miss meals, forget to brush my teeth, etc.

Normally however I work to Italian working hours (Italian-English is my language pair) and take time off for Italian national holidays. And now that August is upon us (when everything except tourism stops in Italy) I expect very few jobs until mid-September.

My cat insists that I am up by 7 a.m. My computer turns itself on at 0730. I turn the computer OFF at 5 pm unless I have an urgent (or interesting) translation under way.

But I must always have a snooze after lunch (about 20 mins) because if not I don't perform well.

I take at least 40 mins. energetic exercise every day.

At my advancing age, sleep is the most luxurious thing there is. I love sleeping.

[Edited at 2017-07-28 07:47 GMT]


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Texte Style
Local time: 17:43
French to English
not very habitual Jul 28

My sleep habits are changing over time.

Back in the days before having the kids, my boss didn't care what time I got in so long as the work got done. I would slouch in some time around 10.30, get some little bits and pieces done, then get into the meaty work after lunch, not stopping until about 8. I'd be at my peak between 4 and 6.30

Nowadays I'm rarely still in bed after 7, often I'm up at dawn. I can get a good couple of hours translating in before anyone else emerges. I try to get enough done to go swimming at lunchtime when PMs are not very likely to call, I might have some quiet time just after lunch, then I'll have another bout of work at what I still think of as my peak time. When necessary, I'll work non-stop from 7am to 7pm, doesn't happen all that often.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:43
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone! Aug 24

I just wanted to thank everyone for their contributions to the thread.

Sweet dreams!


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:43
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Regular schedule Aug 24

I try to get a good night's sleep even when I am busy with a large project and deadlines are ahead; otherwise, I just do not function. I must also increase my exercise slot as I am irregular or downright sloppy and lazy sometimes, the excuse I bring up is that it is either too cold or too hot. I must make more of an effort and include it like Tom in London. I do not get up earlier when I have a big job or sleep later as I end up not seeing the words or not understanding the text or making silly mistakes which I would not do when resting enough. I also make sure I take holidays when work is slow, normally August-mid-September but I have worked on New Year-not whole day but after family lunch or evening. Also, if we go out and return in the early hours, I just cannot perform the next day which shows me I must have regular resting time, but for every now and then, no problem. That means I am neither a night owl nor an early bird.

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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Lark-owl hybrid Aug 24

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:
I must admit I am a very early riser and a late owl, so I cover practically all time zones.
What I must also say is that my performance at work is better in the morning and late at night

Same here. I don't usually sleep more than 6 hours, which seems to be enough, though I sleep as long as my body wants me to so if I am tired I may sleep another hour or so.

Like Natalia, I am most productive early and late. For some reason it is hard for me to focus on desk work between midday and the evening. Possible, of course, but more difficult. I seldom get to bed before midnight, usually up by 6:30am.

Dan


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Bertrand Malingrey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:43
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
All you can sleep Sep 15

Over the years I have developed a schedule that is only dictated by my body. I never set alarm clocks unless I have to catch a flight to a vacation or a business event.
So I get up whenever I get up, usually between 8 and 9.30 but later happens quite often too depending on how late I work at night. My main clients are in Asia, so I usually stay up until midnight so we have a communication window that goes until noon their time. I take about one hour after waking up before getting to work. Once I do, I work in one thousand words increments before taking a break. I often take a 20 mn nap around 2pm and feel like new after that. I clock in about 10 hours of work per day but have the luxury of spreading them how I feel like. I don't see myself ever being able to go back to a 9 to 5 job.


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