How To Live Your Best Life While Working Overnights
Contrary to popular belief, radio doesn’t stop just because you went to sleep. Radio is always going 24/7. If you work in a bigger market, there’s usually people running the boards or talking on air overnight.
In my latest role at iHeartRadio Miami, I’m the girl that comes in at 7PM and stays until 2AM. It sounds like a ‘dream’ to most, because that means you have all day to yourself – but, that’s not how it really works.
The first couple of weeks of my overnight shift were hard. I’m not a late-night person, but I’m also not a complainer. So, I had a 'trial and error' period where I tried a few techniques to keep me productive during the day and awake at night. Here's what I've learned so far....
- Don’t sleep in. I get off at 2AM, and don’t get home until 2:20AM. After I do my nightly routine and blank stare at my phone, I probably fall asleep by 3:15AM. My first two weeks doing overnights, I would sleep in until noon the following day. That’s NOT good, don’t do that. Now, I get up, make my bed, shower, run a few errands (only if there important), cook dinner for my shift later and then take a two-hour nap before my shift.
- Don’t drink energy drinks or take energy shots. My first couple of shifts, I tried Redbull and Arizona RX Energy juice, and they both work reaaaaally well – but those drinks are filled with so much, SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR. Recently, I switched over to Matcha Green Tea. I’m a big hot tea drinker, so it works for me. It also works very well in giving you energy and making you focus.
- Don’t pick up fast food and junk food. Trust me, one night before my shift I decided to pick up Wendy’s. That was a big NO,NO,NO! My shift went by at a snail’s pace and the food made me so tired and sluggish. Now, I make my dinner beforehand and it’s always healthy – protein, carb, and a veggie. For snacks, I pack celery and hummus, yogurt, fruit and sometimes, Cape Cod chips. I also bring a big jug of water to sip on.
- I’m a face mask kinda girl. I do one face mask every other night. But we all know face masks must stay on your face for at least 15-20 minutes. When you get off an overnight shift, an extra 20 minutes feels like two hours. So now, I do my face masks before my nap in the afternoon. Different time, but same results.
- Always have something to do. If you’re an overnight board operator and good at what you do, you should try and multitask. I always have something to do. It makes time go by faster and you’re being productive. Bring a book, do school work, or work on your personal brand.
- On your days off, do things that you enjoy. Sit outside. Get your hair/nails done. Ride a bike. Binge watch your favorite shows. Just don’t spend your time in bed.
- Make friends. Since you’re coming in late, there’s a big chance you won’t meet everybody that works there – but don’t let that stop you from making friends. Come in 30 minutes early and walk around the building & talk to people you see. Make sure you go to the holiday parties and mingle. Don’t be a hermit crab. It’s radio, have fun!
- Be comfy! You're going to be sitting around for a few hours, you might as well be comfy but not inappropriate. I always have yoga pants and a sweatshirt on. I even bring a throw blanket because it gets very cold in my studio.
- Know that your position is important. Sure, you’re not a part of the morning show crew or the midday host. But your job has a purpose and still helps the station run. You are an important piece of the puzzle.