Friday, December 16, 2011

Why programmers work at night


On the other hand you have something PG calls the maker’s schedule – a schedule for those of us who produce stuff. Working on large abstract systems involves fitting the whole thing into your mind – somebody once likened this to constructing a house out of expensive crystal glassand as soon as someone distracts you, it all comes barreling down and shatters into a thousand pieces.

This is why programmers are so annoyed when you distract them.


Keep staring at a bright source of light in the evening and your sleep cyclegets delayed. You forget to be tired until 3am. Then you wake up at 11am and when the evening rolls around you simply aren’t tired because hey, you’ve only been up since 11am!

Given enough iterations this can essentially drag you into a different timezone. What’s more interesting is that it doesn’t seem to keep rolling, once you get into that equilibrium of going to bed between 3am and 4am you tend to stay there."



  1. That resembles me guide on how to fight jet lag. They advise to move 1 hour back/forward a day - that way you can easily adapt to the time change. Still it is not very feasible if you have business trip for 2 weeks to time zone 12 hours forward. :-)

  2. Funny you should mention jet lag. I live exactly as described in the post and I've never experienced jet lag. The most extreme case was 2 years ago when I flew to Syndey for 5 days, and I live on east coast of the US. No jet lag whatsoever :)