Steve Jobs famously quipped that a computer is like a bicycle for the mind. The machine can take a person quite a distance so long as there's a destination in mind. Given the number of people who have accomplished great things with the help of computers, the analogy is difficult to refute. So if a computer is like a bicycle, then a lack of sleep must be like a merry-go-round.
This past week I've been working "Sydney Hours" for the day job along with my regular evening hours, which means starting at 7:00am, working straight until 1:30-ish when it's feasible to grab a quick lunch, then working two to six, followed by 9:30 to midnight or longer. The argument I tell myself is that there's a lot to do, and I intend to accomplish it all. Noble goals, albeit foolish when taken to extremes like I've been doing this past week.
This evening I was expecting to put in another couple of hours after the boy fell asleep, but opted against it. The same five thoughts seem to be stuck on repeat, circling around and around and going nowhere. UI considerations for rapid text entry in a goals-based system for HR. An email chain with Randolph. The Vernor Vinge book I'm currently reading. The heat my phone generates when playing Galaxy on Fire 2. This blog post. UI considerations. An email chain. The story from a book. Heat from a phone. Blogging. UI. Email. Story. Heat. Blog.
On an on. Without end.
A clear sign that it's time to call it a day and put the tools away. The work I didn't finish today will still be waiting for me on Monday, and the arbitrary deadlines that people place on various goals can continue to generate needless stress and anxiety then. For the next 60 hours, though, it's time to get some proper sleep, let the subconscious work on the UI problems for a while, and enjoy the weekend. The weather is expected to be gorgeous, which means there's a good chance the family and I will all head out to a park to see some colourful leaves, take countless photos, and enjoy the outdoors … maybe even on a real merry-go-round.