The most precious resource


Planning my all-nighter

Planning my all-nighter

Let’s run through this.
4 pm Thursday is “now”; 1 pm Friday is “deadline.”

OK, so: I have 21 hours in which to edit a 10,000-or-so-word paper with 3 tables, 2 figures, 31 references, 24 endnotes — a 29-page document as currently formatted.
I have already been through the references, figures, and tables once, so that’s not brand new territory.
I need to eat dinner and breakfast in that time, maybe even take a shower (the family would appreciate that), a two-three hour nap would be nice.

I already know that it’s going to take three-four hours to proof after editing, with the various consistency checks, and reading the the entire paper, going through every comment and query to make sure I didn’t get too whiny or snarky or inadvertently leave a note in that was meant for my eyes only (like, “read this when fully awake to see if it makes any sense to me then”) — that would be bad. Tack on an extra hour because I might not have slept, plus I need a little time to tidy up my notes for delivery. So that’s the morning, 8 am-1 pm.

That leaves from 4 pm to 8 am, minus dinner and breakfast/shower and a two hour nap (optional): 10 hours
Minus 2 hours for the figures and tables, an hour for the references — oh right and an hour for the summary document I forgot about that.

That leaves 6 hours to edit 10,000 or so words. 10K/6 = 1,666.6666666 words per hour
Highlight the text in blocks of approx. 1,666.6666666 words.
Draw a line representing the night, mark out chunks of time and try to predict when I’ll be best disposed to work on text and when to work on numbers, where I need to be before I let myself lie down for a bit (and where’s that other alarm clock — don’t rely on only one).

Those one-hour increments seem so small — let me mark them out with highlighters.
OK, enough planning. Start editing.
Stop and count.
Adjust timeline.
Are we there yet?
More coffee.
Stop and count.
“a little bit losing it” <<<< actual note in my time-tracking software
OK, I have to lie down.
“nap 2-ish-5-ish, then bfast-ish” <<< post-nap note in my time-tracking software (sorry, folks, no shower)
Chapter summary and references and making sure references and callouts have mates.
Appendix and associated table.
And totally revamp the table.
Adjust timeline.
Done edit at 10 am. It’s a bright sunny day. Freezing, but bright.
Comment check — as expected, more than an hour.
Consistency checks.
Better contact client — running late. She’ll understand, probably has a heavier workload than I do at this point in production.
Read it word for word, out loud. Amazing what you miss the first couple of times through. (And thank goodness, that paragraph makes sense now.)
A few more things to look up in the style guide, make sure all uncontroversial changes have been accepted.
Write the cover letter, don’t forget to attach the files!
Look around dazed. It’s a bright and sunny day.
Go out to get the paper from the driveway at 2:30 pm.

That doesn’t sound so bad, right? One all-nighter right before the weekend?
But it was the last day in this week:

Yoga was cancelled because of snow, btw. That was wishful thinking anyway.

Friday to Friday

(Yoga was cancelled because of snow, by the way. That was wishful thinking, anyway.)

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