今日推荐英文原文：《How To Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Developer》
推荐理由：当你在浏览器地址栏里输入 google.com 然后回车后会发生什么？这个问题真要细细讲起可以从物理设备的中断讲到网络协议和渲染，而这个项目则试着将每一个步骤都讲得清楚具体。虽然看起来似乎有些小题大做，但是刨根究底总有些刨根究底的乐趣：不只是使用这些功能而是试着了解背后的工作原理自然能带来更多的知识。
今日推荐英文原文：《How To Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Developer》作者：Ravi Shankar Rajan
How To Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Developer
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to live your lifeI am sure everybody would have heard about the great Archimedes and his eureka moment.
As the story goes, the king asks Archimedes to determine if a present he has received is actually solid gold. The problem tortured Archimedes for weeks, and he could not find an answer to it. He became frustrated, couldn’t sleep, and felt worthless. His wife, seeing his pitiable situation, convinced him to relax and take a bath.
The rest, as we know, is history. Archimedes solved the problem. He screams “Eureka!” and he was so overwhelmed that he ran dripping naked through the streets to the king’s palace to report his discovery.
So what is the lesson we learn here?
Creative breakthroughs can happen at any time? No.
The one big glaring lesson we learn here is to pay attention to our lives. It will help us not only to feel better but will also pay rich dividends at work.
That brings us to the cardinal question of work-life balance. Far too many software developers I know compartmentalize their lives into two separate lives. One is the work-life, in which they slog, tolerate, and even sometimes enjoy what they are doing.
The other one is the life-life, in which they aim to spend time with their families and personal pursuits outside work. There is nothing wrong with this approach, except that in the real-life scenario, this compartmentation will not work. That is why the concept of work-life balance is a myth. You can never divide your life into two neat buckets and expect that the two will not meet.
Not convinced? Let us do the math. We all have 24 hours, and we have seven days a week. · Work hours (minimum): 8 hours · Commute hours: 2 hours · Sleep hours: 8 hours So that leaves us with 6 hours a day to live our life the way we want to, to relax, and to do whatever creatively we want to do with our lives. That is not much of a life, to begin with.
Wait. What about the weekends? Some of us have two glorious weekend days for doing nothing and being free from stress. The weekends will go like this: · Sleep hours: 16 hours · Paying bills (which you don’t find time to do on weekdays): 2 hours So we are left with 30 hours on the weekends. So my point is, if you are planning to spend your next 30 years fighting to preserve your six hours of life every day and 30 hours on weekends, you are running after a utopian dream.
Things beyond your control happen in both life and work. There’s that all-nighter at office, the go-live on weekends, and the production issue that has kept you awake throughout the night and at home. Or maybe your loved one is not well, and you need to take off. Life and work are full of challenges, which are thrown at us with regular intervals without respite.
So expecting things to function like clockwork and compartmentalizing life and work is always a bad idea. Your work is very much a part of your life, and you have to accept that truth. By pursuing the hopeless dream of achieving work-life balance, you will end up even more frustrated, tired, and unhappy. Instead, focus on improving the quality of life. Ask yourself these questions:
What makes you happy in life?
What is important to you?
Where do you want to be as part of your journey?
Once you answer these questions, you will find ways to live your life to the fullest and also do justice to the work part of your life. Your objective will change from living life from leftover hours of work to achieving enrichment in whatever you do as part of your daily routine.
And here are some ways to do it.
Prioritize TasksPrioritizing tasks is all about dividing tasks into four buckets and spending time on the most important tasks — those items which have the most impact. · Urgent and important · Important but not urgent · Urgent but not important · Neither urgent nor important. Here, Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest and most successful investors in the world, can help us with his 25/5 rule. · Make a list of your top 25 career/life goals. · Remain focused on accomplishing goals 1 through 5. · Stay completely away from working on goals 6 through 25. The lesson is simple. You are not going to achieve 25 things in your life. You are only going to complete 3–5 things if you are focused. But you lack the focus because of items 6–25. Buffet’s principle is simple; also list out the items that hold you back so you can focus on the five items that are most important to you.
Do the same thing in your daily or weekly routine.
For example, every morning, you might make a task list of 5–10 things you would really like to accomplish for the day.
Then, circle only the top two tasks. Do not do any of the other tasks — no meetings, no calls, nothing — until you have knocked out both the items. Make these top tasks your ultimate priority, and do not let the others get in the way.
The key is undivided focus without distractions. The 25/5 rule helps you accomplish bit by bit every day instead of being overwhelmed by emotions.
Be a 9-to-5 DeveloperIn eight hours a day, I can still get my work done and do a good job on it. But some of you will not agree with me, giving a lot of reasons:
“I am coding 16 hours a day.”
“My peers are working overtime.”
“My company expects me to work after office hours.”
And so on …
The point is if you are working 9 to 5 and finishing the work on time, that does not make you a bad developer. It just means that you are good at time management. And working longer hours always results in diminishing returns.
At the end of a 12-hour day, your mind will start to wander, and you will lose your effectiveness. In fact, Google research has also proved that you will not be more than 10–15% effective in the last four hours. And even if you are a rock-star developer, you will be putting in more than 50% effort to get a maximum of 25% extra work done, which is really not worth it.
While in some company cultures working overtime might get you a promotion or rewards, the impact on your long-term career is mostly minimal. It is like fighting a pyrrhic battle — you invest a lot, and get very little in return. Avoid this trap, and focus on improving the quality of your life.
That said, emergencies do come when putting in the extra effort is justified, but they are far and few in between. You cannot be in a perpetual emergency situation.
Aim to work 40 hours and go home. That’s it.
Pay Yourself FirstYour work will never end. But that can never be an excuse not to pay yourself first.
Just like sleeping, I never used to make time to work out.
But working out is now just part of my weekly routine. I am not big on going to the gym, but I do really like to run. Running allows me to clear my mind. Whenever I feel like I need some inspiration, I run outdoors. Running slows me down, allows me to see the world around me, and gives me a great way to burn off excess stress and gain clarity on my ideas.
In the same way, I have now time-boxed intervals of time for investing in freelancing work and my passion projects. Having a side project allows you to stay in control. You play the role of designer and client. A side project is a great way to learn and make some extra cash — and if you are having a horrible day at work, you can always count on your side project to help you stay grounded.
Wake up an hour early every day, and devote the freshest hour only to yourself and your ambitions. It is your time; don’t allow anything or anyone to steal it from you. If you want more time, take the time, but spend the most productive hour of the day paying yourself first.
Once you start living life this way, the quality of your life will increase, and you never will have to worry about adjusting life within the leftover hours of work.
Lastly, Quit All WhatsApp GroupsYes, I really mean it. WhatsApp groups are the biggest source of distraction in today’s connected world.
These groups started out as a helpful addition to the messaging app, but the situation went mad. At one point in time, I was in 12 regular official groups and about 40 ad hoc semi-formal ones.
Then there are family groups: immediate family and extended family, with baby photos often appearing on duplicate across them. What can you do? You have to respond! “So adorable! She is so big already! (emoji with heart eyes).” My brother has a long-term girlfriend but isn’t married yet, so we have two groups of differing levels of familiarity — one with her, one without. (Sadly, the chats are interchangeable — no one knows why this charade even exists.)
And a major cause of burnout is listening and responding to every notification that stems from these groups.
The worst part is: You cannot leave. It is a mortal sin! The social consequences of “Ravi has left the group” far outweigh wading through the emoji chatter. It is the equivalent of turning your back and walking away.
That is why, one fine day, I just exited all groups at once. If someone wants to reach me, they can text me a message. I can choose to answer if required whenever I want to. I am in control now.
So many of us maintain relationships just for the heck of it knowing very well these relationships bring us more grief than enjoyment. I am not telling you to cut off all relationships; all I am saying is to prioritize which relationships you want and which you want to avoid.
The more the quality of your nonworking life improves, the more you are free to live life to the fullest. Pay attention to the other (physical) people in your room rather than devoting time to answering all your (virtual) notifications.
As Marissa Mayer has rightly said:
“You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you.”