Monday, April 10, 2017

Copping Mechanisms - Sleep

Ed Wisniowski wrote a blog post on coping with the difficulties of being a scrum master. He talks about some steps that he takes to keep his professional life from taking over, working with others, and sleeping patterns. It is true that he's got a position that demands a thick skin, and people skills are essential for success.

Perhaps the most unique part of what he's talked about in our industry is the sleep. Anyone will tell you that their job is difficult because of how it can take over, or the individuals they work with. But the sleep portion is something that is quite a bit different at times. Ed's strategy involves making sure he has that uninterrupted sleep. Like Ed, I've interacted with offshore teams. I've skimped out on sleep, or tried to split it into multiple chunks. I may not get the 8 hours I need, but I can get 5 hours here, and 3 later, that counts, right? It doesn't work.

The benefits of sleep cannot be understated. When you're not getting quality sleep, the quality of your life suffers. You're going to get sick, your brain will not function as well, you will be cranky - you get my point. I can remember multiple times where I would show up at work exhausted and unable to solve problems. At the same time, I remember accomplishing surprising tasks in part to being well rested. The sleep also impacts how I interact with others. If I was up late working on an issue, and someone attempts to exchange a pleasant greeting- well, it may not get a great response from me.

I encourage people to get sleep. I encourage them to turn off and escape from the workplace that can be toxic when people give exceeding attention toward it. I have seen people become the "all knowing" individual of a system, and had their vacations interrupted. I've seen people depart from positions because of their schedule. Know your limits. Know where to draw a line, and be proactive in providing options to prevent this from happening. You need to be flexible, yes. But you also need to protect your own sanity.