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Why Developers Are Nocturnal January 14, 2020

Developers have a special way of operating in the world. Each day, they are hyper focused on creating digital products and services that will have a ripple effect on others. That kind of brilliance requires unique qualities that allow them to work differently than your average person.

Blame it on Bright Lights

Part of being a developer involves spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen. They don’t have the luxury of closing the screen and working on something else. The large bulk of their work involves having a computer in front of them.

There’s something about the bright light of the screen that causes the brain to wake up. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, your brain’s going to think it’s daytime if it’s being inundated with light. It’s going to alert your body to become more cognizant. It’s a completely natural response.

Once you get into a pattern of being awake until 3:00 AM, it’s hard to shake. Our body tends to adjust. It sets it’s own internal alarm clock and it’s hard to switch off. After all, if you’re waking up at noon, you’re not going to be ready to go to bed at 11:00 PM. Most people can’t hit the sack after only being awake for 11 hours. Your brain needs sleep to function at a high level but that doesn’t mean that sleep has to happen at night. Programmers have proven this after years of creating a patter of being up all night and sleeping part of the day.

They Enjoy the Quiet

When there’s nobody there to bother them, developers are able to focus on the task at hand. They’re not being bogged down with distractions. After all, developers are only human. When that inbox pings, it gets the best of all of us. You’re going to want to check that message that just came in. Then, once you check it, you’re likely going to need to respond. This one simple act can take you down a rabbit hole that eats up your time and destroys your productivity.

Being a developer requires a great deal of concentration. They are working with complicated subject matter. One mistake can cause everything to collapse. It’s imperative that they’re able to be completely present when they sit down to work. Having a phone that’s ringing, or co-workers talking and mingling all around them, can mean they can’t do their job as well as they need to. Working late at night makes it easier to use techniques like “time blocking” to focus on one task without any interruptions.

Developers are usually known as the unique ones at the company. They don’t operate the same way other people do. This is what makes them so good at their job. Where one person might think that working at night and being alienated from your co-workers is a bad thing, developers don’t think so. They’re usually more introverted, so the quiet time is a welcome change. They don’t feel pressured to make small talk around the water cooler. They’d rather be getting their project done.

Being nocturnal can have a lot of benefits. If you have never given it a try, you might want to. You could discover that you’re more productive than ever. In fact, developers might have figured out the key to productivity.

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