Working a nightshift, 20 things I wish I knew before I started!

Not being accustomed to working nights before this week, here are some thing’s I’ve learnt during the first 4 x 12 hour nights I’ve just had to do!

  • It’s  a lot harder than I thought!
  • Don’t expect to be more productive even though it’s ‘quieter’
  • React to email requests from the day team as soon as your on shift, you won’t feel like it later!
  • Try to attack a task at the start of the shift, it makes the 1st few hours fly by if your attention is consumed by something.
  • Walk… I do a number of loops around the building just to get the blood moving a few times during the night. Not been stopped by security yet!
  • I tried a 30min snooze around lunchtime (2am) but Im not sure how beneficial it was?
  • 5am is really crap – Your exhausted, have a headache, have 3 hours left and BBC breakfast news hasn’t stated yet. (BBC breakfast TV makes me feel that it’s almost time to head home!)
  • Bring a jumper, it gets cool around 3am.
  • Buy elasticated trousers…. I’ve ended up eating lots and it’s not all been good foods.
  • Optrex – buy some to freshen your eyes in the early hours. It’s lush.
  • Bring a book, newspaper or magazine. Get your eyes off your Laptop/Desktop screens every so often.
  • Eat before you get home, on your journey home if possible.
  • Set an alarm on the train journey home, it WILL happen!
  • Go straight to bed when you get home. You will accumulate lots of sleep debt hours over the 4 shifts, don’t plan any tasks for home. It really is a Bed-Journey-Office-Journey-Bed cycle with 12 hours on – 12 off. An extra hour asleep can make the night a lot easier.
  • Invest in thick bedroom curtains.
  • Don’t order things online to be delivered whilst your off shift. You’ll want to punch the postman when he rings the bell, which is a shame as he’s a decent chap. (Every sodding day this week!)
  • Turn off your phone email when at home, if your phone needs to be on for emergencies fine. But emails are not urgent, silence them.
  • If you do wake in the afternoon try to get back to sleep! Honest I tried the ‘Well Im awake I’ll go do something for a few hours’ and promptly crashed the next night, but I did watch a good program about Rallying in the 80’s.
  • Enjoy the spaced out feeling once the shift is over as you walk to the bus or station, I feel like I’m floating… who needs drugs! There’s also something nice about walking against the flow of people streaming into London. Hope I don’t’ look that miserable each morning!
  • Think… Don’t volunteer yourself quite so quickly for dumb shifts again! ;o)

A few weeks in and a report on the fitbit

It’s been a few weeks since I invested in a pair of Fitbit’s for Louise and I, so I thought I’d share my experiences so far.

A rocky start

As I documented back on 22nd April I managed to brick my fitbit within hours of opening the box, what I thought would be a harmless firmware upgrade killed the fitbit…

Within a few days it became obvious that the 2nd (Louise’s) Fitbit also had a problem, it was not registering the number of floors climbed, a quick email exchange with Fitbit support and they told me to try a reset and Firmware update…. GULP.

2nd Fitbit bricked

The Firmware update on the 2nd Fitbit also failed, resulting in a Fitbit that did power on but is not recognised when placed in it’s holder… it did sync wirelessly and still counted steps but did not register floors climbed still.

Great customer service

This is where my Fitbit experience improves (Thankfully!) On both occasions brand new Fitbits were sent to me within a few days without having to return either of the broken fitbits, along with the advice ‘Don’t attempt a Fitbit FW update unless absolutely necessary!’ In totally we were without fitbit for less than a week which whilst an annoyance was a good outcome I thought.

Working Fitbits

Now Louise and I have 2 fully working Fitbits and they are really good! It’s funny knowing that this little device in my pocket is there makes me a little more active than when it’s not! I take the stairs more often, I walk from the station more, I basically move more! That little competitive streak (that is very hidden in me!) rises and urges me to get a good step count for the day and maybe get a badge emailed to me! (A rewarding psychology makes all the difference!)

The Fitbit website and stats

The website is really good, the Fitbits sync up wirelessly when my Mac is on so there’s no need to remember to sync every few days. Below is a screen shot of the website and how I did last Saturday.

The Battery life for these little devices is amazing, we both go a whole week without charging the things, for a device this small and light I have no idea where the battery is!

Even with the difficult start I would recommend a Fitbit to people looking to measure their activity levels and hopefully push them on to doing a little more, the device is easy to use (If Apple made something like this… it would be just like this!) and very clever.

Time for bed said Zebedee

Analysing my sleep patterns is also interesting. I’ve learnt that I sleep like a log…. to be honest, I did not need any tech to tell me that! :)

2 FitBit’s purchased, one dead already!

With Louise really enjoying her training of late I decided to purchase a FitBit for her and while I was at it one for me too!

I’ve been looking at purchasing a Jawbone Up for a number of months, but as it was withdrawn from sale with a manufacturing defect and no real news about a release of v2 I decided to pick up the fitbit instead.

Doh, I’ve broke one!

I say broke one, all I did was attempt to upgrade the firmware on mine (as per the manufacturer recomended instructions) and somehow it’s bricked! No display and it’s not recognised when I attach it to my Mac. Support calls are in and Im pretty sure I’ll be up and running again soon with their help or returning the faultly one to Amazon if need.

1st Impressions

It’s a really nice bit of tech from what I’ve had chance to play with, using the device is easy and the website is easy and informative. The purchase for me was because I’m intrigued to find out how sedentary my job does make me! Also, If it encourages me to walk instead of taking the bus more often I’ll be happy too!

Hopefully once it’s working again I’ll report back some more details of how the devices are working out for us both.