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  2. Long Gigs

This is meant to discuss various ways of dealing with longer than normal gigs/events/work environments. This was discussed in the following thread, well worth the read: http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/general-advice/18304-looooong-gig.html



Whether or not we like it, many of us work long hours occasionally. If you know that you are going to be working double shifts or back to back load and goes then you can do a few key things to help prepare yourself for the tasks ahead.

If you can, arrange for a taxi or a friends to pick you up when the event is finished, do everyone the favor and keep yourself from being behind the wheel, after going without sleep for an extended period of time you are considered impaired.

One of the best pieces of advice is to adjust your sleep schedule. If the work does not begin until 5:00 PM then waking up at your normal 8:00 AM is going to have you lagging behind only a few hours in. That won't help you much, but if you are able to adjust your sleep schedule so that you were to wake up at 3:30 PM by the time the work starts you should be awake until its done without dragging along and risking injury to yourself or others. There are many obvious flaws with this method:

Many people find it very difficult to change their sleep schedule.
Having more then one job may not allow you to change your schedule.
Once you change your sleep schedule, how long will it take you to return to its normal pattern.

If you cannot change your sleep schedule than you may find it beneficial to take a nap before the work begins. The more rest you have now the better off you are going to be later.

Assuming you are able to change your sleep schedule (or even if you can not this may help your stress level), there is another key step to getting as much rest as possible before a long gig, have everything ready, and I do mean everything. Everything you are not carrying on your person should be packed and ready to go before you go to sleep. Give yourself time to double check it now, because you will not want to waste time later. Are you taking any food/beverages with you? Have it ready and separated just waiting for you to take it out of the fridge. Layout your clothes, shoes, and everything you will have on your person, your goal when you wake up is to get out as fast and easily as possible, so have it ready for yourself.

Once you have everything ready you may want to hop in the shower. This assures that you will not have to waste time later, and you will smell nice (co-workers will appreciate this). Alternatively, you could of course take one when you get up.

Your are all packed, if possible, it is all in your vehicle waiting for you. Your clothes are out, and the food you are taking is chilling in the fridge. Time to go to sleep.

Wake up, hit the bathroom, get dressed, grab your food, and get in the car.

Simple so far right, here is the hard part, if you are on a very tight schedule, or you could not adjust your sleep schedule, you have a lot to do just to ensure that you can continue to function. The most beneficial things you can do for yourself are eat, drink, and rest (schedule allowing).

You need to stay hydrated, simple as that. Hold off on energy drinks and soda if you can, you do not want to crash, if you need caffeine, brew a few pots of coffee or a nice selection of tea instead. But, make sure and have plenty of water.

Nothing will substitute a proper meal, however, as long as you can continue to consume nutrients you can make it through the day/night. Hopefully, you have a few planned meal breaks, but that may not always be enough to sustain you. Protein bars are great, granola, yogurt cups, and a few half-sandwiches, even a loaf of bread and a block of cheese would serve you well. Chips, candy bars, even pizza are likely going to leave you hurting after a while. The main thing to remember is that you are going to want to keep a steady supply of food going into you for energy. Take five minutes to pound down a protein bar (or something) down with a glass of water every two or three hours.

Waiting for the designer to figure out a last minute change, waiting for cable to get off the truck, or waiting on the carpenters to finish a repair? Grab a bench and take a short nap, if you cannot sleep at least lay down for a bit. On the same thought, if you do not need to stand then do not stand. Standing takes more energy, if you can do your job sitting, or laying, the better off you will be later.

If time is starting to wear you down to a drowsy stage or you begin to feel sluggish, take a quick shower. Obviously this is not usually possible, so at least consider running to the head and washing your face with cold water, it will wake you up a bit.

If you can control the venue's heating and cooling consider turning up the heat. Many people have a much harder time sleeping or even getting close to a sleeping state in warmer weather. Turning the heat up a few degrees might help you.

The last piece of advice is to try and prevent this from happening again, talk to your employer about getting more time in the venue next time, or by hiring a larger crew. If you can spread the work out over an extra day you will be able to get more rest. By hiring a larger crew you can either get it done faster or you can set up rotation shifts.

Planning is everything, if you have a good plan set in place, then you should be fine.

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