Work While The Sun Shines

There’s this old saw, “work while the sun shines,” that you may or may not have heard. As with most old saws, it can be applied and/or misapplied in numerous ways.

Yesterday I pounded through better than half of a full week’s worth of Schlock Mercenary work. I worked pretty much non-stop from 10:00am to 11:30pm. Yes, I did some gaming, and yes, I took “think breaks” where I paced around, yammered about stuff, or sat on the couch and pondered, but I was ON for almost 14 hours straight.

Then I came home and couldn’t sleep. I guess I finally dropped off around 2:00am.

Then I bounced awake this morning at 5:50am. I’ve already been to the church-house and back (on foot) to poke the accounting stuff I need to poke for the local congregation.

Sandra looked at me this morning and said “Just so you know, you’re in a manic phase right now.” She counseled me to take my vitamins, and pointed out that we’d just come off of a depressive phase. We talked about the crap I’ve been eating (pizza last night… I still have “pizza tummy” this morning) and how it seems that when I get my diet under control my swings are less dramatic, and I spend more time up.

Fine, fine, fine. I’m manic right now. Well… work while the sun shines. I’m taking my car in to be fixed in a couple of hours (engine thermostat is broken, it’s covered under warranty), and while I’m there I’ll do some pencilling. I’m going to need a patch of nap today to cover last night’s sleep debt, but I’ll be headed down to the Keep to see about inking a week of Schlock. In short, I might as well get as much done as I can before the sun goes down and my metaphorically reptilian blood cools to the point that all I can do is sit on a rock and hope nothing eats me before the sun comes back up.

I’m sure there are other ways to manage manic/depressive cycles. I’m not convinced that I’m even clinically diagnosable with a disorder, what with the fact that I’m actually functional (albeit only marginally, and then only with kicking and whining) on the down sides, but thinking about “how I am” in these terms is helpful.


19 thoughts on “Work While The Sun Shines”

  1. “Make hay while the sun shines”

    Basically the idea is that you want to cut the grass etc while the sun is shining, because when it rains, you’re basically out of luck, your hay is ruined, and you don’t know when it is going to rain.

    Around here, it essentially means, “Drew, I know that you are supposed to get that wireless setup done no later than four, and it is only ten, but you don’t know what else is going to come up, so get off your lazy backside and go do it.”

    Oh, and I’m not Drew.

    1. Re: “Make hay while the sun shines”

      Actually, Howard is probably referring to the LDS hymn that goes:

      Today, while the sun shines, work with a will; today all your duties with patience fulfill.

        1. Re: “Make hay while the sun shines”

          Possibly, but not necessarily. There are several proverbs and idioms about working while there is sunlight that have nothing to do making hay and few that probably predate it. After all, before the advent of the lightbulb, it was really hard to work after the sun went down, even with oil lamps and candles.

          Though, most of that is still the same idea, I’ll give you that. But I thought your other commenter sort of missed the whole point by focusing on hay production. So, I thought the most polite way to say that would be show that there was another possibility.

  2. I’m assuming you have discussed this with ? Just from reading his LJ he seems to have a pretty good handle on his most of the time…

    1. Oh yeah.

      I’m more functional than he is on a down day, but only barely. And besides, what function he DOES have is far more effective than what I’ve got. He writes code, after all. 🙂

      1. And so?

        Chalain writes code. Howard writes comics. I submit that both are high-order functions, outside the normal standard deviation of capabilities.

        Hats off to ya both, just in different ways…


          1. Re: And so?

            From the front. From the back. From the left. From the right. From the front left…

            Thru the crown (poor hat!)

            Ducking out from under.

            Batting it off. Sliding it off….

            Getting it batted off. Getting it slid off….

            In short – LOOOOTS of ways. Even before we get into the whole left handed/right handed mix – or the various tools that might be used in dehatting…



        Hey! Let’s go ride our bikes! WHO WANTS CANDY?!?!!!! AGGABABLAGGABABBLAFWEEE!!!


        Okay, some real advice: Make sleep your number one priority. Be home by 9pm with sleeping pills already in play, and crash when they kick in, even if you still want to get stuff done. For me, at least, getting enough sleep during the manic cycle is the equivalent of bending my knees so that when I crash I can tuck into a roll and come up walking.

        If you’re depressed come morning, the extra sleep will let you skip past that first week of ninja funk and straight into the “blah” week. If you wake up still manic, you can get up at 5am and go to town with a solid night’s sleep under your belt.

        Manic PLUS Enough Sleep equals Ubersmart Guy. Use the energy wisely! Do your hardest thinkwork, like scripting.

        Good luck!

        I’ll come by in a few days and drag you out of the impending funk and we’ll go for walkies.

  3. IANAD, &c., but cyclothymia can manifest as you describe. I’m not suggesting that you self-diagnose here, of course, but it might not be a bad idea to talk to a professional if this is a longstanding pattern you recognize in yourself. Cyclothymia can eventually warp into full-on bipolar disorder or serious depression if it’s not well-managed, or become severe enough to get more problematic.

    There’s at least one workbook on the market for the disorder. Even if that’s not you, getting hold of some coping mechanisms geared specifically for the disorder might be a good idea, if thinking of yourself as being mildly bipolar is a useful paradigm. It’s the difference between remaining somewhat functional while you’re in the depressive slump and possibly becoming more so.

  4. Okay, this is not something to say that bi-polars should not get diagnosed, because with a lot of them the medical help is a godsend. However, my layperson’s opinion after interacting with several over the years, if you have function and control the way it is – don’t worry about it.

    From the sounds of it, if you do have it or a slight form of it, you are doing just as well as most of them who are on medications, without the worry of potential side effects – or the weeks of messing around with different doses or meds to see what works on you.

    The time you should worry, again in my opinion based on observation and a mention or two during a college class, is when you go into a manic and instead of being productive, you actually make things worse* or when the depression is so bad that it lasts for several weeks or is extrememly acute.

    I’m sure Sandra will let you know when it gets that bad.

    *By worse, I mean things like you cranked out four weeks worth of strips in a frenzy and then when you come down off of it, none of the dialog makes sense to even you. Or you clean out your desk/files and get rid of your receipts without realizing what you are doing. ON A REOCCURING BASIS. In other words, a pattern of lots of action, little cognition.

    (hopefully, I’ve given enough disclaimers…)

  5. It was a full moon last night…Howard, do you think you might be overly influenced by the lunar cycles? In any case, work is getting done and thats good.

    1. The physiological “tidal” effect of the lunar cycle is immeasurably small, and has nothing to do with the moon’s phase.

      The illumination effect of the lunar cycle is highly significant, especially in moths and other bugs, but has been drowned out by artificial light where I live. And since I spent the whole evening indoors, there could have been no direct effect.

      It is possible that lunar light-effected bugs are somehow indirectly affecting me, but I’m at a loss to postulate a mechanism for said effect.

      In short… nope.

        1. Eating bugs

          He’s done it. Ask him about the cockroachy things in Africa.

          It’s okay, though, because it was on a business trip… not while serving his vampire master.

          (That came later.)

          1. Re: Eating bugs

            Oh. If I’d known that, I would have made sure to bring you extra during Linucon.

            As for manic – Chalain’s seen me over several days. I don’t tend to have manic depressive episodes. I have manic and short term memory episodes. “work like crazy” “What did I just do?”


  6. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m a Psychology person by any stretch of the imagination. I know with my eldest’s issues(Asperger’s in this case) it tends to be a part of the Autism spectrum. Even if you’re not clinical, talking to a professional might give you advice on how to handle yourself that you may not realize. . .

    just a thought.

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