Great disclaimer in the article. The only problem is that many employers will be quite happy with people working 50+ hours per week. It's up to the employee to not let an employer take that much advantage of them (this includes having enough savings to be able to put in notice at the job at any point, assuming no contract or law would prevent it). The current landscape of the technology field, while lucrative for an employee, especially in the United States, is tremendously skewed toward the business where many employers see high turn-around as the rule, and no longer the exception, leading the employer to expect employees to work such high numbers of hours.
If a person likes working 200 hours per month, I wish them all the best and hope they are hourly-paid. Being salary-paid and having a family means I will continue to limit myself to 40 hours per week working for someone else. At a point where I work for myself, then, of course, that number may change.
If this was not the case, then the organization would need to employ additional staff to plan work, in order to maximise efficiency. Which would be waste.
So if you're working for someone else, prioritize and cut what you don't have time for. You'll be surprised what you can cut.
So I spent half a year doing the minimum amount of actual work I thought I could get away while spending the rest of my time socializing and helping out coworkers. I think this basically made my manager lose her mind. She started badmouthing me to my skip level and using me as a scape goat for our project not working out (we were a small team and I went from the highest output worker to the slowest) but all my skip level manager would hear from other employees was how great an employee I was. Eventually she seemed to start avoiding me, and then went psycho and left the organization.
Overall, I think that this only works if everyone is straight forward and doesn't do any creepy things out of greed or ambition.
I often think that people say that someone is "psycho" when the person is actually just someone stupid who ended up with some power, perhaps through physical attractiveness, or through simple dishonesty, or maybe even both. Was that woman less intelligent than you? Was she not very intelligent to begin with? I think it's actually more helpful and more accurate for people to replace a psychoanalytic view of others, with a straightfoward smart-or-stupid view, and of course that is to be done in context. It's important not to overthink things. A professional chef may think I'm "crazy" for how inefficiently and poorly I cook my food every day, but actually I'm just stupid at it.
In a high-level view, sure. But if the employee is given more to do than they could possibly do, it can be very damaging to morale. At review time of things one was expected to work on, there are things you accomplished, and things you failed to accomplish.
In particular, if one responds to "I accomplished task1 and task2" with "Okay. What about task3, task4, ...?", that employee is being trained to believe they cannot succeed in this position. At that point, they are left with finding the fault either with this management style, or in themselves (...leading to imposter syndrome? I dunno, but maybe that's part of why that's so common in our sector).
I'm not sure that's really true of a well-run company, but it's definitely true of badly run ones. In chaotic organizations, an unrealistic (or absent) sense of capacity and unclear priorities combine to create large amounts of work in process. Individual prioritization is definitely a survival skill there.
It may do wonders for efficiency, yet there are a number of ways it can breakdown: failing to complete regulatory or contractual requirements is a big one, since they rarely allow for flexibility. Clients may not receive the service they expect, so the organisation's reputation will be damaged. In cases like that, prioritisation only really works to diminish the possibility that too much time is spent on small tasks or that efficiency is reduced by doing things out of order.
It also turn small problems into a crisis. With staff already working at capacity, there are very few options for handling the problem.
So you have to plan ahead.
For example, my team has a backlog of work to be done. There are certain things that cannot slip. There are plenty of things that could be pushed out to handle a production outage, or a shiny object, etc.
That's the whole problem, right there. Sometimes, this "well run" company will generate work that might not matter, not at all.
Coffee is in the cafeteria or filled/cleaned on breaks and lunches. The machine makes a cup at a time so it isn't sitting around. It can't be in the production area anyway since it has the possibility of either messing up the machines or messing up the actual product (chocolate and candy) and ups the chance of making a customer sick.
Yup, sometimes you see the mechanic working or someone fixing the machine. Untrained folks can't help. Sometimes the problem is in another section of the factory which you aren't trained on or even see. Can't exactly help that nor can you generally leave the production area without absolutely knowing you'll be down for some time. Then there are generally a few things to do, but since it requires moving staff, this is a last resort as it would negatively affect production.
The place is obviously designed for nearly 100% production during all shifts that are scheduled (not always 24 hours), obviously allowing time for startup, shutdown, and cleaning.
A well run factory doesn't have excess work for every employee every day. It will aim for as little downtime as possible and not having excess employees. Excess work, every day for every employee means some things just can't get done if you don't have downtime.
Perhaps part of the difference is that well run companies allow the employees to prioritize, and poorly run companies don't. Either due to lack of trust or lack of clear/aligned company goals.
Additionally, poorly run companies/departments, and their employees may not realize this tacit agreement exists, leading to employee burnout, poor outcomes, etc.
Personally I've always known there would be more work than can be done, and part of my job is to "manage up," expectations. However, I've known many many colleagues over the years who have not been able to prioritize work in the same way. Wondering if more openness around this concept would lead to better outcomes.
Why would their incentives align at all?
There are many situations where the marginal cost per employee is negligible, but the cost to missing deadlines or failing to complete every item is significant.
All of the extra free hours you are spending could be used to build your own product that you would have a stake in.
Eventually I understood I just like building stuff, the monetary compensation is just a bonus. If you let me build big enough stuff and pay me enough so that money is inconsequential, I'll be happy, at least temporarily; the end game is taking a startup "all the way", but what I'm doing now is an indispensable lesson in large scale stuff.
Thanks, that's really insightful. I've been trying to minimize my work hours lately, but am starting to realize it might be that I'm not enjoying the job as much as I should be.
Seems like the ideal job would be one that you _could_ get done in minimal hours but _don't want to_. If you find yourself in that situation, you have a lot of control of your work/life balance.
At that point whether you are doing it for yourself or an employer doesn't matter as much, though it's pretty hard to find companies that measure employees on output rather than input. Or rather, ones that understand that more input _from a given developer_ won't necessarily deliver more, or at least higher quality, output.
creativity requires headspace. this article has some ideas that help. but fundamentally productive .neq. hours. Yes to achieve things you need to work hard, but its got to be smart.
headspaces, streams, blocks, downtime, outcomes. time-away-from-keyboard, physical movement, purpose. these turn your 20 hours into 2000 hours of impact.
measure outcome metrics not input metrics like hours
One thing really fundamentally helped me, as someone who works from home on a large project in an asynchronous 100% remote organization.
I work on a fairly involved project that demands a lot of hard work. At the same time there are other things I want to get done: some administrative duties, some nonprofit work, etc etc.
That makes me stressed and anxious, and my natural response to that is to buckle down and try to "finish" the big projects, by overworking...
Except overworking doesn't actually tend to mean getting a lot of work done, because I spend more mental energy being stressed about how much I have to do than I spend on actually doing it.
It's a pretty vicious cycle and I guess it is a proximate cause of burnout.
It all changed when I realized I cannot sustainably do more than a few hours of hard work every day, and took that to heart.
Now I don't try to get more done in a day than is sustainably possible.
I wake up pretty early, around 6, sometimes 7, sometimes 5. Then I make a cup of coffee, some small breakfast, and sit down in my comfortable coding environment, and do a sprint of serious working.
About 4 hours of that is usually enough to land a decent series of commits that definitely advance the project.
Then I do the mental magic that previous me never did. I think: "Wow, that's great work for one day! I'm definitely on track!"
And at this point it's like 11 AM. So I can happily go have lunch, another cup of coffee, listen to a podcast or something, and know that I have plenty of time in the afternoon for paying bills and whatnot.
I also like to take some time in the afternoon to improve my work life in some rewarding way. This includes Emacs tweaking, build server and CI setup, etc. Lately I've managed to get my business email into a form that I enjoy.
(Details: my maildir gets mined for all the important recurring PDFs which end up in monthly folders, and since yesterday I even have a shell script that uses "pdftotext -layout" to parse out due amounts and OCR/reference numbers from the few recurring bills we need to pay manually. This eliminates a type of drudgery that I really loathe, so it's a huge win in terms of mental energy.)
Other people (like me) prefer to work late at night for the same reason, it also allows for a more social lifestyle (i.e. going out occasionally) than having to be in bed early.
Being done with work by lunchtime is a way for me to be more social, but that's a matter of situation. I do "go out" sometimes; shifting my sleep time by a couple of hours isn't a big problem for me.
That said, don't you have banks which automatically pay your bills (electricity/gas/water)? Which country are you from?
I don't "pay my bills" by writing checks and mailing them. I "pay my bills" by working at a corporate peon job for 40 hours a week. If I do the same kind of work at home on a side project, that is still work, but not "bill paying" work.
The literal act of paying bills takes me all of five minutes every month. An hour per year, whenever I don't have to add any new payees to the system. I spend more time voiding my bowels, which I always seem to have enough time for, regardless of how much time I spend working.
Maybe ancestor post was referring to doing accounts payable and accounts receivable accounting work for the business? Seems like that might be more labor intensive than hitting the "pay" button for the electric bill, even with modern business accounting software. Even then, it wouldn't be something I'd do every day, and if all I felt I could do in the afternoons is light administrative work, I think I'd just knock off early if I didn't have enough to fill at least a solid 2 hours, or if it was the last day of the month.
Most of my bills can be automated, but a few cannot. I also take time to read over my statements to check for fraud/bad habits.
Here is the UK Direct Debit Guarantee. It's extremely easy for the customer to reverse a transaction, and (advising the merchant) "Given the limited scope for appeals [against counterclaims] within the Direct Debit scheme, most disputes happen outside of it".
Most utilities companies in the UK are private and must compete, but even the few exceptions encourage people to pay using direct debit.
Provision and migrate accounts with Ansible?
The first half and one of your comment replies spoke to me deeply - especifically the part about having the feeling of never having done enough, haunts me everyday, but also pushes me.
So thanks so much for writing this! Just wish you could speak more about how you were able to negotiate your current work schedule.
By the way I'm active for more than 4 hours a day, and after the morning sprint I'll spend some time chatting about business, reading and learning, triaging issues, etc. It's just that I don't spend more than 4 hours intensively coding or debugging.
and, when a true emergency pops up, it's rare, and it doesn't trigger your stress/frustration response.
I was going to suggest the Qbserve tracker for this --- then I saw that that's actually your app! I guess you didn't want to plug it more, but anyway -- it's really good. I really missed it when I switched to Ubuntu.
It works very nicely, you can export everything as XML and you can query the database with Python. I am using the XML export to generate static work logs for my customers and the Python bindings (dbus) to generate some special efficiency stats for me.
I heard good things about Selfspy for Linux:
I have no relation to product except that I'm a satisfied customer.
 (disclosure: advert) https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/07/02/timing
Newport's sources showed that most people are capable of about four hours of deep work per day. If you hit that level, add in 2-3 hours of shallower tasks, and do it every day, you reach 200 "productive hours" in a month. I'm not sure how many people are willing or able to carve out two 3-hour blocks more than five days a week, but it seems highly worthwhile to step back once a month or quarter, with one's s.o. or family, if present, and think about what is possible and what makes sense in support of mutual goals. From there, in light of the goals and constraints, the article's breakdown for cultivating the environment, body, and mind are clarifying. Ok, I'm sitting down with my wife and doing this this weekend.
The gist of the article is what I try to practice, and I find the strategy refresher motivating. I have had good success with removing push notifications, removing the phone from the workspace, sleeping at the same time, regular breaks to stay limber, targeted muscle work (rowing during winter until it gets too boring, the Roam Strong workout plan currently), and reducing junk calories intake. I've had less success building deep work persistence by making streaks and subdividing tasks. I think it's time to force the break to a separate device for leisure.
How much is it worth spending on a CO2 monitor? As a remote worker, I'm in the same air space almost all day every day, so if there is a low grade problem, I'm cooked.
These two had good reviews on amazon. Same company, one keeps a log, one just displays current. I ordered the one with a log.
Anyone successfully implement this in a business with staff? What are your strategies?
In the book Newport runs down more strategies than regular daily blocks, everything from offsite retreats to people who can go deep on command whenever they get a small window. He described one professor who would use different modes based on his academic calendar, I think roughly by week or month granularity. During teaching times he was 100% available to students and staff, but during writing times his door was shut and everyone knew not to go in. The book is definitely worth a read if you're interested in more strategies.
This is a great article and there’s plenty to talk about in organizational systems, even if this seems to be subtly pitching his own products in places. But if anyone reading this identifies with this sort of chronic procrastination, consider seeking psychiatric help. This is a giant red flag for adult ADHD, which is a serious and often misunderstood issue, and one of the few psychiatric diagnoses for which there is solid treatments (stimulants) with near universal efficacy and very few side effects. Getting on Adderall, then Vyvanse changed my life for the better, and basically solved this issue overnight, as well as a bunch of other benefits.
That's not to say that procrastination is not a symptom of ADHD. It is. But the modern world is built to distract even the normal, and most people are capable of developing bad habits.
Also, the actual ADHD diagnostic procedure is very involved (3-5 hours of testing that can cost upwards of 2k). A lot of diagnoses aren't actual diagnoses, and no one is qualified to make a Dx from a brief verbal assessment.
So long as we keep those cautions in mind, I agree that if a person thinks they might have ADHD, by all means look into the symptoms, do a little research and consider getting tested.
[FWIW this reply and "advice" is not directed at the parent, kobeya, but is a general point of information.]
And that is their loss. ADHD is very much a cause whose impact goes far beyond just procrastrination. It causes people to be terrible spouses who are never there when they are needed. It causes lost friendships through blinkered social conduct. It causes persistent self hatred and anxiety and depression.
"you might want to try behaviour change first"
This is such a, forgive the harshness, ignorant way of thinking about ADHD that it makes my blood boil. Behaviour change works when the person in question has the capabilities of making that change stick. This is the equivalent of telling a handicapped person to try b-mod to climb the stairs.
It. Just. Won't. Work. A shortage of persistence cannot be solved through more vigorous exhortations towards greater persistence. Here's how I think of the drugs. The drugs lay the platform so that I can implement the behaviour change. They don't let me study better. They let me start studying in the first place, at which point, all the best practices and behaviour modifications can come into play.
Meds have been absolutely indispensable for at least starting to implement good habits, extended focus, etc. And it's still a huge struggle.
*edit - of course, there is a level of individual responsibility as well.
I would add home environment (parents and siblings especially), culture, entertainment, friends, religion, sleeping habits, socioeconomic status... etc.
Just because ADHD causes other problems doesn't mean that ADHD itself comes out of nowhere. The previous post has a valid point that ADHD itself is a symptom of something else and that drugs aren't necessarily the best way to reduce/eliminate ADHD at the source.
Is that actually understood, though? We had the heavily promoted social consensus for a long while that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, which is now seen as a somewhat disproven theory that never had much evidence.
From a video I linked elsewhere in this discussion:
Gallo, E. F., & Posner, J. (2016). Moving towards causality in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: overview of neural and genetic mechanisms. Lancet Psychiatry, 3(1), 555-567. Konrad, K., & Eickhoff, S. B. (2010).
Is the ADHD brain wired differenctly? A review on structural and functional connectivity in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Human Brain Mapping, 31(1), 904-916.
You're putting yourself in an irrefutable position then.
But don't just take their word for it, have a look at the reference material in the video description.
Another interesting, and emotional, view of the effect of not being on meds from the same artist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD9qK8-sMGQ
The weird thing was I knew it all, but something hadn't connected in my thinking that it was better to do/make/release things than to not. The mind is weird place.
So sure, if someone is having trouble keeping up with the pace of their societally assigned hamster wheel and find stimulants help, sure, they should go for it. But they should not mistake that for an illness, any more than a person needing a step-stool to get to the top cupboard should think they have some sort of growth hormone deficiency. Artificial environments can require artificial compensation, but that doesn't mean there's some sort of medical problem.
Easier said than done though!
Your comment was a good reminder though. I right away googled for a mental clinic, picked up my phone and asked if they are able to diagnose adults. Now I have an appointment for next week.
I hope of course that I don't have it, but if I do, and if I actually can get medicine for it, and if it would actually change my life, a big thank you!
The next step is to try ADD medication and potentially undergo TMS treatment.
Glad I learned that there might indeed be something wrong with me. Now it’s time to fix that
I mean that literally with no hyperbole. ADHD manifests from an under developed or under stimulated prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for such task prioritization and decision making. Without stimulants I’m not really making conscious decisions about most things. Much like how you’ve probably driven your commute sometimes and arrived without really much memory of how you got there (“driving on autopilot”). That’s every moment of every day in the most extreme ADHD case (it’s a spectrum of course and you should seek treatment if you think you’re anywhere on it, even if the above sounds more extreme than you).
I am not saying you don't have a problem, because I also feel like someone who has ADHD and feel a lot like the author of the article.
But I also think that, just like the author, you can change your 'ADHD' by changing your behaviour.
Again: I dont want to put anyone down that is labelled with ADHD, but I think this culture is on it's way to create an ADHDer of everyone.
This part is severely misunderstood. If I don't sleep, eat, and exercise reasonably I completely lose focus. Taking adderall will help, but it treating the symptom rather than the cause. This looks like ADHD, but isn't.
If my children lack sleep and are overburden (thanks modern school system), it looks like ADHD, but it isn't.
Now, some people, children and adults, do have ADHD no matter how well they sleep, meditate, eat, and exercise. With our current understanding, their best bet is medication. But for the vast majority, they simply need to slow down.
However, when you have this condition as an adult... well, there is some level of plasticity in the brain, but it looks harder than just "change your behavior", it may be required to also treat the symptoms.
Exercise more, eat 'better'.
Do you know anyone with ADHD? When you talk with them and something happens, like a phone rings, their minds completely zoom out and they instead become focused on something else. It is not possible to continue the original conversation because they have forgot everything about it. It can be incredibly frustrating because it is like talking to a human gold fish. Although they can't do anything about it because it is just the way they are.
My point is that it is incredibly obviously a clinical condition and not something "behavior change" can fix.
thanks for sharing your experience
This is like telling depressed people to be happy or victims of violence with PTSD to 'grow a pair' and 'snap out of it'.
This is the kind of simplistic, unhelpful, shaming advice that keeps mental illness taboo.
Unlike "stop staying awake" which is not actionable.
A book might not be a good suggestion for everyone, and finding the right "off internet thinking environment" is not easy for some, but it's doable for most.
That's the problem: you think "stop staying awake" is not actionable, while "leave your phone at home" is actionable for a person with ADHD.
Again, this is not different than saying "just be happy" to a depressed person. To that person, in that moment, "stop wasting time on the internet" is not actionable just as much, otherwise it would not be a problem in the first place.
I'm not an insomniac; nor do I have ADHD, as far I know.
I assure you that I cannot action an instruction to 'stop staying awake'. I certainly can 'leave [my] phone at home', and frequently do.
It might go against the "just feed them drugs" mentality, but lots of times it totally works.
They had plenty of "traumatic stress" before the 21st century, in all parts of the world -- huge wars, conflicts, disasters, even genocide. But those involved (like older friends and relatives that have survived bombings and wars and dictatorship) also could grow a pair and snap out of it, and even thrive afterwards. I don't believe they had a different DNA or mental wiring back then.
At an FDA hearing on March 23, 2006, I testified: “Saying any
psychiatric diagnosis ‘is a brain-based problem and that the medications
are normalizing function’ is an anti-scientific, pro-drug lie” [ 14].
Yet this has become standard practice throughout medicine, for example, at the American Psychiatric Association [ 15], American Medical
Association [ 16], American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Neurology Society, American
Academy of Family Physicians [ 17], FDA [ 13], and virtually all US
government health-care agencies.
Journal articles [ 6], press releases, ads [ 18], drug inserts, and
research informed consent documents say, or infer, that psychological
diagnoses are abnormalities/diseases. All patients and research
participants with psychological problems are led to believe they have an
abnormality/disease, biasing them in favor of medical interventions, and
against nonmedical interventions (e.g., love, will power, or talk
therapy), which presume, as is the case, that the individual is
physically and medically normal and without need of a
Currently, depression is not diagnosed via objective chemical
tests, nor is treatment guided by any such tests. If depression did
result primarily from a known chemical imbalance, such tests
would likely be available and in widespread use, and depression
would be easily and quickly resolved for most patients.
Luckily, a number of effective interventions are available for
treating depression. Such interventions include a variety of
pharmacological as well as nonpharmacological approaches, sometimes
used alone and sometimes in combination with one another
To the contrary, I think the past generations of my family who have survived WW2 and Stalinism were, till the end of their days, heavily impaired by it. They "snapped out of it" to the degree that was required for not starving, but I would not say they had developed nearly up to their full potential.
In hindsight, it was painfully obvious with so many of them. And the number of functional alcoholics (with often a rather loose definition of "functional") was huge.
I'm talking more general war and civil war scenarios (e.g. having your city bombed, being in a war, having family members die in such scenarios, etc -- which have been common in many places in the developing world (and Europe).
But the constant terror of a concentration camp for months or years on end is another thing.
It's super distracting, but you can easily break out of it with being accountable for your time.
Nowadays I've found a healthy balance and am more productive / happy / successful than ever.
A lot of it had to due with following these 3 things too: https://nickjanetakis.com/blog/how-to-overcome-procrastinati....
No doubt though, being able to sit down and work 12 hours straight without eating, absorb a crazy amount of information... crazy. But then the come down/depression afterwards. Also the effects on your body, weight loss is cool but other stuff not so much.
In the case of someone recreationally taking stimulants, whether Adderall or methamphetamine/speed, they’re putting the control centers of the brain in overdrive which makes them feel pumped up and exhibit excited off-the-wall behavior.
In the case of someone with ADHD they have a deficiency that ameasured amount of the drug will address, bringing them back up to “normal” levels. Without the drug this might seem excited it off the wall with distraction, but this is due to a lack of self-control rather than too much stimulation. Even though the symptoms are nearly identical externally.
Hence the “paradoxical” effect on ADHD patients where the application of stimulants results in focused, normalizing behavior.
It seems I value working less than other people. I'm fine with that.
I then basically take a 2 week vacation, but nobody knows about it except me. I schedule good chunks of Git Commits to push during my off weeks.
In the off time, I still respond to email, and occasionally take meetings. Which might take an hour per day. But I don't do anything productive. I play a lot of Nintendo.
I think this style would work better for lots of people, but regular 9-5 companies would never accept it. Its basically how college students work during Finals week, then take a nice break. I always wonder how many other people are out there like me? I think there has to be some.
I don't travel on my vacations, because there is still the chance I have to go into the office for a meeting. I just focus on relaxing and recharging. Working on my own projects, learning new stuff, and being easy on myself.
> It seems I value working less than other people
I don't know anyone who works 7 days a week.
I stay productive by eliminating idle time between tasks. Switching should be seamless. If at any time you don't know what you are going to do after you've done the thing you are doing you are doing it wrong.
My coworkers all work harder than I do. End of the shift I've done just as much but they are totally worn out (when I go to my next job)
I do procrastinate for a total of 20 min or so by spending excessive attention on details. This amuses me greatly specially when it infuriates coworkers.
It is like a sport, the work it self is not important it is all about the experience. If I ever get bored with this routine I take 3 or 12 months off right at that very moment. The thought is very comforting. No way I'm going to push it into burnout.
This is typically easier with physical labour I think (only 'typically': of course there are variations). Our bodies are far better designed for physical tasks than our minds are for purely mental ones. The latter mismatch forces a variety of coping workarounds, amongst which are task-switching costs.
For example, I spend some hours each month helping a local non-profit with their site and promotion. Switching to their simpler tasks is similar to rest for me.
Just goes to show how different people can be. Which I guess we already knew.
I'd be interested to read a follow up blog post titled: "How I got down from 200 productive hours a month to something a bit more reasonable for sanity and health's sake".
Glad to be off of that train since September 1. Really takes a toll.
This really meant something quite different to me. I think sex (in whatever form) is an issue that needs to be taken semi-seriously within this context.
Professors Mitchell and Webb have good advice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co_DNpTMKXk
Now if only implementation didn't terrify me.... hah...
The big "trick" described seems to be an instance of: You are the product of your environment if you like it or not. There is very little you can do to fight its influences. The environment is there and you are becoming it. The only conscious remedy is to make the environment into what you want to be.
I think the article provides the means to do a check list that could convince companies to allow remote work.
Sneaky. I clicked around on the links he had on his tools and found one that looked interesting (Qbserve) and it turns out it's one of his products which I felt would have been nice to have as a note. The only indication of this is the bottom footer header which also says Qbserve.
Decent product, if you are looking for something like this.
It's an excellent tool. I have only tried the free trial though. $40 feels a bit high. $25 or below would have been an instant buy.
I think he will also get better conversions if the free trial is 30 days instead of 10
It's not a lucrative pricing model compared to $70-150/yr competitors and going lower in a niche market would be too uncomfortable.
I agree. It seems that 10 days is not sufficient to get a good opinion on it.
What time do they usually go to sleep and what is their noon daily pattern (weekday and weekends).
Most importantly how do they spend their time after 7pm during workdays and weekends ?
On the weekend I often go out with friends until 1 or 2am. I'll naturally get up around 5am, but I'll just get a glass of water and go back to sleep until 9am.
Admittedly, I do go to bed very early during the week. I'm often in bed by 8pm and usually read for an hour. I try to be asleep by 930pm. If I have a date or meet friends for drinks during the week, it does throw things off.
I used to be "late to rise, late to bed, fuck parties, let me live in peace when everyone else sleeps and doesn't distract me with nonsense", but recently my SO beat some sense into me, and I'm slowly joining the "early to rise" crowd now.
...from the Animaniacs
It's a different take on:
"Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise"
Get up really early, say 5am. Finish work perhaps 3pm. Sleep for four hours until 7pm. Go out, do other stuff, party as much as you like until 1am. Sleep.
8 hours sleep a day in 2 chunks of 4 hours. Would that work?
From personal experience when I tried this briefly in high school, I wasn't getting very deep sleep and just kept ending up tired. Perhaps if I had continued I would have adjusted, but I gave up after just one week.
Sometimes I do 6hrs at night and take a nap on lunch for about 45minutes. This is okay, but hard to do outside of winter as it's too hot to sleep in my car.
I get to the office between 6 and 6:30 in the morning and take a 30 minute lunch, so I'm out by 3 PM. This gives me several daylight hours in the afternoon before heading to bed around 8 PM to start the cycle over again.
Netflix has enough content to burn though the time between 7pm and bed time.
I'm up at 5am M-F using my alarm. I do my usual routine of showering, getting dressed, feeding and playing with my dogs, etc and I'm on my computer by 6:30am.
I usually spend about 30m drinking my coffee and watching some quick (but informational/educational) youtube videos or reading on HN/reddit/etc; this gets my brain ready to work. This is what I'm doing right now while I type this.
At 7am I'll start my actual work. How my workday goes varies by the day, but I'm always done by 4pm.
If I am working on a personal project at the time (I'm usually trying to better myself in some way; learning a new programming language or getting better at one I already know is the most common thing for me) then I'll do that until around 5p. From 5p-6p I'll wind down and do some more redditing or something similar. Something that is a little mindless but again, usually informative in some way.
Around 6p-10p is spent with my girlfriend doing whatever. Usually we cook dinner together but other than that it's just whatever we feel like doing that day. I do my best to stay off my phone and such during this time.
I'm typically heading to bed by 10:30p and asleep by 11p. Having a good night time routine is very important. I don't go up to bed until I'm actually tired, and I follow the same routine when I do. I am usually fast asleep within 10 minutes of putting my head down.
If at any point I start to feel tired or burned out then I don't change my routine much, but I'll spend more time doing things like watching random youtube videos or reading on here than I do normally. Every so often I have to totally disconnect and just work on some home projects. Doing actual work with my hands has been a great rejuvenator for me.
On the weekends I don't set an alarm but I'm usually up by 7am. This is a combination of me waking up naturally, or my dogs waking me up because they're wondering why I wasn't up 2 hours earlier to feed them.
My girlfriend typically sleeps until at least 9a-10a on the weekends so I'll spend those first few hours doing the same things I do from 4p-5p during the week (working on personal projects, learning a new programming language, etc). If it has been a particularly tiresome week then I'll just watch tv or do something else that doesn't require my actual attention.
Starting in the early afternoon on the weekends my focus shifts to my girlfriend and whatever we have to / need to / want to do. Could be the usual chores that come along with owning a home, or running errands, or going out to some event. Bed time on the weekends is just whenever I feel tired. It's almost always later than during the week, but not by too much. I'm usually heading up to bed around midnight or 1am on the weekend
Pomodoro technique has been working for me very well. I started with 25 minute Pomodoros, gradually increased the duration to now 50 minutes per Pomodoro. I am able to do deep work (per my needs) consistently for about 4 Pomodoros per day.
Yes, but 3-4 times less than I can earn by just freelancing. But it's mostly a visibility problem — time tracking keywords are too competitive.
I wouldn't recommend developing Mac-only apps because they are too hard to promote. Press is not interested in reviewing software for 15-20% of their readers. Even Apple-centered press is more about iPhones nowadays.
Automatic tracking is the main reason for focusing on a single platform – it's too close to the system. Even on Mac I encounter complex special cases too often. Plus I have zero experience in Windows or Linux development.
Here's an article about Timing: https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/timing
I think he's doing much better now since he's released the new version. It's a great app too, worth the money.
I don't use it to actually track my time, but I use it to track my internet time - how much time I spent browsing.
If you're looking for something simpler for that purpose there's also this: http://focuslist.co/escape2/
For work hours, a simple work timer is what does the trick for me. I use Toggl - I have no affiliation, I dont know if it's the best, and I don't necessarily recommend it, but it does make it easy to keep track of how many minutes a day I'm sitting at my desk, and to assign those minutes to various tasks. Just having a metric for work hours is a big change and has helped me stay more focused.
In any case, video game addiction is real, it is an addiction, and it fits the bill just like any other type of addiction. Granted it is without the heavy consequences sometimes faced by substance addictions, but nonetheless, it can have real direct consequenses on your health.
To me the signs were clear:
1. At the point where the instant you get bored and have free time, you automatically think to play video games
2. Thinking about video games or wishing to play while doing other activities
3. Other important areas in life suffer as a result of your video game addiction, such as neglecting a spouse or significant other, or falling behind in work, or showing up to work late all the time because you stayed up all night playing video games. Starting to lie about your problem or how much you actually play ("oh I don't really play that much" when really you recorded 20k hours of Counterstrike or you have played 1,000+ games in S7 to try and hit Platinum for the first time in League of Legends), lieing to your friends and family about your free time and missing out on important events "oh I am busy, sorry I can't come" but then you just go play video games.
4. Physical symptoms -- sleep deprivation due to playing video games, getting out of shape from sitting in a computer chair hours on end, eating junk food and takeout because cooking takes too much time and it cuts into your game time, posture being affected, eye sight affected, constant headaches, wrist pain, etc.
5. The most important sign to me -- the feeling of regret that you aren't accomplishing the things you wish to accomplish. Video games give you that false sense of accomplishment, but deep down inside, you wish you could do that side project, you wish you could hang out more with friends, or even get out more to make friends, you wish you could go to the gym and eat healthier to be in shape, etc. But even if it's not in this list, the most important thing is you wish you weren't playing video games because you want to be doing other things, but it's just so enticing. That's why this article is good advice -- you have to take those same reasons it's addicting (provides the sense of accomplishment, it's social, it's fun) and apply it to other areas in life, almost like a replacement strategy.
https://gamequitters.com/ was the website I eventually landed on. I saw Cam Adair's Ted talk and was inspired. I recommend watching it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHmC2D0_Hdg
a tl;dr is he outlines 4 major reasons people play games:
1. They are a temporary escape
2. They are social
3. They provide a challenge
4. They provide constant measurable growth
Understanding these help you overcome it.
Finally, the most difficult challenge I think in overcoming video game addiction is that no one takes video gaming addiction seriously, therefore it is hard to find support. It is a real addiction, and people are really struggling with it, it is really damaging lives.
P.S: If you read this post and are struggling with video game addiction, I would love to help and talk about it.
Personally, I avoid most video games because I recognize how addictive they are for me. But I definitely know people who struggle with this, and for them it's hard to even recognize that this could be a problem.
Here's my mindmap of this article if anyone is interested: https://imgur.com/a/RnRgV
Anyway, I'm not sure that commuting should be counted in the same bucket as work, but, more importantly, you seem to rather glibly gloss over having only one-day weekends. Like, OK, maybe I could do that a few weeks in a year, but all the time? It's a big difference.
In my case, marrying a woman who wanted to be a stay at home mom worked pretty well. I'd rather be working than doing chores, she'd rather stay home and feel productive cleaning the house, and we're both super happy.
A stay at home spouse or a full time housekeeper is a vast multiplier. However, the former is rare/undesirable, and the latter costs a lot of money + introduces management complexity.
Still, it's worth thinking cleanly about which part of chores actually require personal effort.
Except for one part, the amount of exercise is terribly low. A swim a couple times a week and 30 minute walks every day is not good enough for your health or if you are chasing peak performance. First of all, this isn't even enough to offset the damage this much inactivity will cause.
If you want peak mental performance and endurance then you want to be very active and very fit. Doesn't really matter what it is, although it should favour cardio over muscle mass at least a little.
This is a depressing point of view to have and dangerous to the future of democratic system.
You can't fix the world as an individual, so it's pointless to concern yourself with things you can't impact. Of course that still means that everyone should probably find a little thing where they can try to make a change.
Intentionally following the popular news also steals your attention from the small tragedies that are never picked up by the big media.
This assumes a general awareness and understanding of political, economic, and social topics that one might not have without having spent at least a few years "plugged in", though, so maybe only viable for oldsters.
Think of it this way: it's good to be well-informed about the state of political affairs today and to understand the issues. What's not healthy is obsessively reading Twitter every hour, constantly being outraged and getting into flame wars (does anyone even use that term anymore?)
I think, however, the point here is to avoid obsessing over politics. If you learn of something that deeply disturbs or affect you, arguing about it on Reddit will not help, you need to take action. Contact your representatives, get involved in a PAC or political party, etc. You need to take as much action as you can.
The best "productivity hacks", given communication overhead is a thing, aren't those that increase the total number of people trying to be productive, but rather those that increase each individual employee's productivity in a reliable way—such that they can be applied successfully by a large portion of the organization, rather than just to one hypomanic dude.
I found that people start to lose productivity after about 36 hours per week. Just four more hours, a full 40 hours, saw a drop in production. Over 40 hours and it was very noticeable.
This mostly applied to mentally taxing jobs.
My solution was, as best as I could, to hire people to do certain jobs, not hire them to fill seats for certain hours. Employees had a job to do and I was happy so long as they got it done well and on time. If they got it done early, they still got paid the same.
I'd not much care if they just went home after their job was done. So long as they met the time constraints, it was all good. Now, they usually stuck around and worked on other stuff, helped out, or refined their work. We also had, at one office, a pool table and small bar in the back - so they could opt to just hang around.
Still, once knowledge workers go past about 36 hours, they start to really slow down - by my observations. It really wasn't worth it, most of the time, to have someone working overtime. They get sloppy, slow, and unhappy. It can be done for a crunch time, but that I found that should be a rare thing.
The Seattle Hundreds that I hear about? Yeah, if I caught an employee trying to do something like that, I'd probably have reprimanded them. If they kept it up, I'd have probably terminated their employment with us. I don't want worn out employees and I don't want others feeling pressured to work long hours.
Heh... Sometimes I kinda miss the office. Threads like these bring back fond memories.
By the way, I never took a course in management or anything. My methods are all learned in the trenches. Theoretically, I'm working on a book that is about my experiences and why I ended up managing the way I did.
In many ways, it was a bit like the Old West, with slightly less prostitution and better hygiene. Also less murder... Come to think of it, it wasn't that much like the Old West, but it was very different than what I read about today.
The most important lessons I learned were to remember that I'd hired them to do things that I could not. As such, they knew their job better than I did. If I could have done it myself, I'd not have had to hire them.
Hire people you can trust. You have to trust them to be adults. Give them clear goals and then get the hell out of the way so that they can do their job.
Give them the tools they ask for, not the tools a vendor suggested. They have a reason they asked for a proprietary compiler, get it for them.
Respect goes a long way and begins in the recruitment phase. It surely doesn't end there. To get respect, you have to give respect.
Train, train, train. If you treat your employee right, you can absolutely train them and not worry about them being poached. Salary is actually a small part of overhead. Pay them well and treat them well. Our print room cost more than a senior employee. There's no reason to pay crap wages.
At the same time, wages aren't everything. Everyone wants to make good money but when you're already assured of making good money, other things start to count. Help your employees in their goals. If you have a QA that wants to move to dev, don't offer to pay back their educational expenses, but pay their expenses outright, pay for their child care, pay for their books, and keep paying their salary while they work a reduced schedule. Really, if you're treating them right, they won't just up and go to a new company after you've trained them.
I can go on, but there's a few things I've learned.