Hello there, Reader of this article! I'm going to ask you a question, be honest with yourself: how many hours a week do you put into work (programming, devops, marketing, etc)?
If you're a maker, startup founder, or want to have a personal brand online, then the answer was probably "way too many."
If you're an average dev going about their life, the answer is probably "too many."
Why has it become a standard for our jobs, our professions, to consume our lives? How is this sustainable?
An awakening of a tech-obsessed entrepreneur
I've recently come to terms with myself and my relationship with tech. TLDR: It was unhealthy how I balanced my personal life and work life.
Hell, I'm only writing this article because I realized I need to set aside time in my life to do something other than work.
Who will tend to my Stardew Valley farm or use all of my daily resin in Genshin Impact? How will I ever pursue my dreams of writing a book or maintaining a blog if I set no time aside from it?
The answers are "nobody" and "I won't." Instead, work is my master and the meaning of my existence. This was my realization: I'm wasting my life by committing all of it to work, and in the process, I'm making it harder for me to find the passion to be creative and find solace in my work.
And the thing tying me down the most: the tech around me. My laptop, my phone, my apps. The internet gives us superpowers, but it also makes us hyper-connected in both good and bad ways.
Remote working is a blessing for many of us that can't work effectively in office environments or don't want to suffer hour+ long commutes. Still, the boundaries that we're losing physically are not being re-established mentally in an effective way.
If we live inside our tech spheres 24/7, we can never come up for the air that gives meaning to life (and our work). A certain amount of crunch or grind is expected (especially as a maker or founder), but we also need to have lives - otherwise, we're not living.
Committing to live again
Through this realization, I realized I need to negotiate better terms for my rental agreement on my life.
So, that's what I'm doing here and now.
I'm committing to living again, to blogging again, to waking up and feeling ready to tackle my challenges for the day - because, at 6 pm, I'll clock out and play some video games, talk to my partner, and maybe watch something until 2 am.
I'll still be on the internet, but I'll be mindful of my hyper-connectivity and set new, healthier, boundaries.
Our boundaries are essential - we need to draw lines with the elements in the world around us. People, tasks, chores, hobbies, and responsibilities all lurk around every corner, and if we don't manage them, they'll sneak up on us and drown us.
I need to live again, but I also want to have a successful career and build a personal brand that connects me to more amazing people and opportunities. This is hard to balance, but I want to commit to making it happen.
As a startup founder, this is not what anyone wants to hear from me - we love hustle and grind culture out here in startup land - but I don't know if I can live with myself in a world where work is all I think about.
And, really, is that a "me" or a life I can be proud of?
Living a life I can be proud of
Honestly, I'm still so young, so I can't say what a life I'm proud of looks like quite yet.
All I know is I want to go to bed feeling like I achieved something, making progress towards my goals at work and in life. Did I grow as a person today? Did I progress towards better habits? did I cross off my
X tasks for the day?
I feel like as I get older and grow more as a person, this'll become better defined, but for now... I want to feel like I'm taking steps towards the person I want to be tomorrow. I want to take steps towards building my future.
I've already lived too much of my life staring backward, resenting and regretting choices I've made, and now I want to look forward and dream a little - while setting achievable goals along the way.
I want to one day be able to be a good teacher, a good manager, a good leader. As I mature as a professional, I want to learn something new from everyone I meet and not get wrapped up in my ego.
I want to positively impact the people I talk to and the projects I work on. I want to learn to handle stress better.
I want.. I need... to be a better me.
Takeaways for the Reader
What is your relationship with work? What do you want it to look like?
If you work all the time, are you happy with that? If you have no hobbies, are you satisfied with that?
I think it's really a question of what you think the point of your life is and what you want to achieve.
I respect everyone's life decisions, but remember, you'll eventually break down if you work all the time. Our batteries don't last forever; we need to recharge eventually.
Find your balance, and take some time to breathe occasionally.
If you liked this article, do one thing for me: find something to do for a few hours tonight, and close your laptop. Set yourself to DnD on your communication platforms and take some time to ground yourself for a few minutes.
Whether going for a hike, doing some gardening, reading a book, or meditating - do whatever you need to find yourself and brush off the dust from your shoulders.
Dear Reader, whoever you are. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day.