From what I’ve seen nobody does their best work at night. In all my years working (about 8 now) there’s never been a time when I managed to do incredibly good work that I was proud of after working beyond normal hours. I can be very creative and find inspiration late at night or in the early hours of the morning but most of the time I can only ever do boring mechanical tasks that don’t need a lot of brain power. Getting the finer details right when I’m dead tired isn’t my strong suit. 

Which is why I can’t stand the inflexibility of deadlines especially in my line of work. You can’t just bottle creativity and turn it on whenever you need it. Sometimes it comes fast and furious. Other times you get a trickle at best. Being constantly reminded that you’re running out of time doesn’t help in the least. 

In Singapore there’s a dreaded phrase everyone who’s ever burnt the midnight oil will be familiar with. That phrase is ‘2-3-5-9’ signifying 11.59pm. The absolutely last moment you can submit something (via an electronic type submission of course this wouldn’t have worked in a snail mail world) and still claim that you made it ‘on time’. It’s a badge worn proudly where you’re trying to meet your client’s timeline without appearing tardy. It’s beyond belief that anyone receiving the submission would look at it any earlier than 8am the next morning but at least it’s time stamped with the correct timing. Beyond the eleventh hour, and yet, still on time. 

I’ve heard stories of people who because of a technical glitch couldn’t complete the upload till 12.01am. Not 2359, therefore (strictly speaking) not on time. Tsk tsk. 

Work done in a rush doesn’t always have the liberty to be double checked. Rested minds almost always yield clearer thoughts. So resubmissions are necessary; almost part of the protocol. But at least the original submission was on time! 

And that’s a reason to celebrate. Two thousand three hundred and fifty-nine reasons to be exact. 


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