I wrote the following on a Friday night in March of this year:
There is a live band playing in the ballroom.
The Beacon Hill Friend’s House is a Beacon Hill mansion that houses a diverse community of twenty adults. I eat, sleep, and commune here when I’m not working at Pavlok(which is, by the way, not often because these things are shipping in May!).
I’m actually a little bit wiped out from work. Writing is how I decompress from a day of writing software and talking to customers.
Introverted as I’m feeling tonight, I can hear the music from my room and it sounds wonderful.
Funny how a few notes scrawled before bed at night can tell you a lot about a person, especially in the context of other records.
According to my timesheets, I worked on Pavlok 175 hours in March. That’s a lot of if you consider full-time is 160 hours, I took off sick one day, and was home visiting family for two days as well. The next month, I worked a record high 272 hours. Then I fell back down to 171 last month. The first two weeks of June have been a light 40 hours weeks. There haven’t been any fires.
Why am I paying such close attention to my working hours? Why am I writing about it here?
I believe that doing excellent work requires good work/life balance.
In the last two weeks, I’ve picked up sailing and will be spending my Saturday on the Charles River. I’ve spent time in the sun, enjoyed Boston’s beautiful parks and public spaces. I’ve listened to 90% of Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s Antifragile and am burning through 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
On Tuesday, I go to Huatusco Mexico to teach sustainable agriculture with a mentor. While I’m there, I’ll contribute to the Pavlok product remotely. It’ll go smoothly because Pavlok’s software operations have been crafted with an eye for adaptable self-improvement (or as Taleb says: antifragility).
When I return, the team will have learned from my absence. We will have become more versatile, more adaptive to unpredictable changes.
Every now and then, an organism has to struggle to thrive. Some months we’ll crack a couple hundred hours. That’s ok, the job has to get done and 50 hours a week isn’t going to kill us.
Today, there was another concert at the Beacon Hill Friend’s House. I missed it because I was at the office, doing one-on-ones with my team and coding. That’s ok.
Pavlok’s mission is important and deserves at least 1/3 of my waking life. The non-profits I work for (B.H.F.H., Resilient Coders, fsharex, etc) also have important missions and should command the attention of another 1/3 of my waking life. Finally, my own health and wellbeing is important, and deserves the final third.
This is why I’ve resorted to such measures as giving up a cellphone or only checking email once per week.
I want balance for my team and I want it for my clients and hope to lead by example. Achieving that balance is very much within the reach of most young professionals. I would urge all my peers to join companies and organizations that help you advance your life purpose. Don’t waste a single moment on something insubstantial or impersonal.
I’m always looking for a good cause. For-profit or non-profit, if you think you bring great value to the world, email me.