Matt Greer

Still Waking up at 5am to Code?

27 August 2012

Back in January I posted an article about waking up at 5am to code. It seemed to really strike a chord with a lot of people. Lately I’ve been getting a handful of emails asking me if I still do this and where I’m at with it now. So I thought I’d post a quick follow up.

Kept it solidly up for about 6 weeks

Waking up early to tackle personal projects is a good strategy. But it’s not without its cost. I managed to maintain it quite solidly for about 6 weeks. From there I found myself not waking up early on most weekend days for another few weeks. The early hours and extra load do take their toll, nothing is free unfortunately. I could feel my stress levels rising and overall just an extra level of feeling worn out. But how my day job is going is a factor there too.

Anything to show for all this?

My early hours were mostly dedicated to writing a little JavaScript game engine. One thing I did with it was create an animation celebrating my wedding engagement. I’ve also been working on a game using the engine, an intro/preview of which can be found here. I was pretty happy with my results and overall felt pretty darn productive.

Sporadic from there on

I still do wake up early, but now it’s more in “spurts”. I will go for a week or two doing it, then take a break for a while. I also find my desire to do it depends on where I’m at inspiration wise. Lately I’ve also been getting more involved with local hack nights. Having a set aside “event” to do personal hacking I am finding is also a good way to accomplish productivity. Being both out of the house and the office to focus on personal projects really amps the focus for me. Experimenting and finding what works best is key.

Also finding time for down time

My personality is very work oriented. I have a hard time relaxing and almost always want to be pushing forward on something. But lately I’ve been forcing myself to take certain weekends and 100% do nothing but relaxing, non-taxing things. They really do wonders for rejuvination and balance. Probably more than I’ve ever realized in the past. Related to the topic at hand, I have also woken up early just to then go for a nice long walk or watch morning news shows. I think my experiments in trying to hyper increase productivity have shown that down time is equally as important.