Back in January I wrote about how I planned for 3 productive hours per day when developing. Things were a little different then…I was busier, and there was a little more pressure to get LockerPulse done quickly. These past few weeks things have really calmed down for me, to a level I don’t think I’ve had in a long time (if ever). All of the chaotic stuff from the LockerPulse launch has passed. For a while while Mike was in China we were having tech issues with LP almost every day and a few other things went wrong. Piggybacking that right after an intense development project wore me out. That’s just the nature of the beast, but I’m glad it’s passed now. I actually feel like I have control of my day again, which is generally a good thing (random interruptions are sometimes good, however random problems every single day without reprieve are not). I’m working on several really awesome projects for both LockerPulse and Detailed Image, although it’s nothing critical and the time lines are actually realistic and don’t require me working all day on the weekends to get stuff done.
So anyway, now that I’ve got a little more free time, I’ve found that 3 intense productive hours per day is still a sweet spot on my three non-warehouse days (warehouse days can be a little more unpredictable). Again, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really is. During that time I don’t really take breaks. I eat beforehand and afterward. I’ve generally already run my errands for the day and/or gone to the gym. I’ve already checked email and done any daily tasks. Later at night, if I have time, I’ll catch up on Twitter and my RSS feeds or write a blog post or try to expand my programming knowledge. But during those 3 hours I’m intensely focused. The night before I’ll plan out exactly what I’ll be working on. I like to make a cup of tea to sip on and crank up the music and get into my zone. It’s hard (impossible) to do this all day long. For 3 hours per day though, I find myself looking forward to it and not dreading work like most people do. Some of that is because of what I’m working on, but some of it is because I’m not wearing myself out by working a crazy amount of hours.
I particularly enjoy sandwiching these “blitzes” with the exact opposite type of thing. Before hand, I might go to the gym, cook breakfast, and read for 30 minutes, which is the total opposite of programming with Eminem blaring. When I’m done, I might make some more food and go for a walk or read some more. The whole thing just leaves me feeling balanced and relaxed, while still being really productive. When I’m in “work24x7 mode” I just can’t unwind even when I try to. The nice thing is that because we’re doing pretty well now, I don’t feel like I have to work all the time like I did in 2006 or 2007.
By structuring things around these short “blitzes” of work, I feel like I’m setting myself up for the kind of balance I want to live with for the long term, the kind of balance I’m lucky enough to be able to dictate because I own my own business.