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The Work / Life Equation

Published 5/30/2016

In today's episode , we're talking about the Work/Life Equation.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone, I'm on my come to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. And in today's episode, we're going to be talking about the work life equation. Today's episode is sponsored by FreshBooks, the ridiculously easy to use online accounting software that's designed to help you, you creative entrepreneurs, get organized, save time and get paid faster. We will talk about a special offer that FreshBooks has to Developer Tea listeners later on in today's episode. I spoke at a creative mornings meeting here in Chattanooga yesterday. Actually, the first one in Chattanooga, I'm really excited that this has come to our wonderful city. I talked about reality and as it relates to time. And that talk is beyond the scope of today's episode. But after the talk, an audience member asked about work and life balance. And whether I think this is a so-called myth, the work life balance, whether I think that's a myth. And my initial answer was that I am probably the wrong person to ask. I work quite a bit beyond a normal eight hour day and probably more than the average person. I've had some time to think about it and I'd like to offer you three suggestions today when you're thinking about balancing your life at work with your life outside of work, whatever that may mean to you. So we're going to dive straight in and talk about the first one, which is to think less about whether what you are doing is considered work and more about your energy output. Okay. So this is really getting to that core definition of what it means to be doing something outside of work or what it means to stop working. And so often people incorrectly associate the word work with something negative. And specifically, a lot of people think that to consider something working that they have to be not enjoying it. And the problem with this is that it leads us down a path where we're viewing this work life equation as whether or not you enjoyed your day rather than whether or not you are meeting your goals. These are two different things. We're talking about long-term happiness when you're meeting your goals and short-term satisfaction when you've had a so-called good day. You see, a lot of us really do love their job. Not everyone that happens to like their job and yet some of us absolutely love our jobs and it's easy to work, you know, for a very long period in a given day. It's basically from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. And it's easy to have this illusion of the proper equation having been worked out for your life because you're enjoying your days. You enjoy your job and you don't mind working all that time when you're awake. Now I know that I would probably spend a good amount of my time coding even if it wasn't my so-called job. I truly enjoy it. So I would elect to do that with my time whether or not I really had to do it eight hours a day. A lot of people also view their jobs as something they don't have much choice about. And this is true for the most part, people work so that they can sustain an income so they can put food on their table and pay their rent. But if we think about working a slightly different way, perhaps we think about it as energy we are expending, that might help us understand what work really means. The confusion is a lot of us enjoy the work we do so much that we don't mind working more than the average workday length because we don't consider what we're doing to be work simply because we are enjoying it. Work isn't dependent on how much you are enjoying it, but rather by how much energy you are spending. This is why when you go home, you can also work on your relationship with your family. You're spending energy. Now this outside of work concept of doing something outside of work, a lot of what I do that isn't necessarily directly related to my job could still be considered work. Certainly when I go to the gym and I exercise, I'm doing a lot of learning about lifting weights, for example, and I'm doing a lot of manual labor actually exercising my body and that could be considered work and yet it's outside of my job. So when we're thinking about this work life equation, really we need to start thinking about where we're putting our energy instead. So recapping that first suggestion, you need to be thinking less about whether what you are doing is inside or outside of work if it's considered work and think more about where you're putting your energy and whether or not something as work can be a sliding scale. So start thinking about where you are putting your energy. Today's episode is sponsored by FreshBooks using FreshBooks to create and send an invoice. It literally takes about 30 seconds and your clients can turn around and pay you online immediately. That means you're going to get paid a lot faster. Now, if your client doesn't pay you on time, FreshBooks handles the awkwardness. They will send out that late payment reminder so that you don't have to deal with that. You can also track your receipts with their mobile app. You can take pictures and it organizes them per later. And you can automate your importing from your bank account so you can see all of the transactions that you made. So you don't have to take a picture of those receipts every single time and said, FreshBooks will go and grab that information for you. FreshBooks also handles time tracking, which is particularly important for those of you who are freelancing out there so you know what you did and when you did it. So all the little details about your cash flow are kept in one place. And FreshBooks knows exactly what invoices you sent and when you sent them, who's paid you already and who owes you what. So FreshBooks is offering a free month to Developer Tealisteners. Go to FreshBooks.com slash Developer Tea. Make sure you enter Developer Tea. And how did you hear about a section when you sign up. Once again, thanks so much to FreshBooks for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So we're talking about the work, life, equation. There have been so many people who have talked about this already, by the way. I'm not the first. This isn't incredibly unique content in terms of the idea, but hopefully we're shifting the language a little bit in this discussion away from trying to decide what is work and what isn't and instead towards understanding where your energy is going every day, where your time is going every day. And in the first one, that's where we headed. We said, you know, think less about whether or not what you're doing is considered work and instead start thinking about your energy. And number two today is set your values. Set your values. It's incredibly important to lay out your values, your priorities. You have to decide what is important to you, not through the lens of how often you work, but simply through the lens of what you value, what you want out of your life, what you think is important in the world, what you want to cultivate in the course of your life. And equally what you want to avoid in your life. Your values determine your direction and give you a constant place to derive your goals. Goals are just an expression of your values. The difference between a value and a goal is that a goal has a finite end point, right? It has, you know, maybe you want to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date, but a value doesn't have that. A value for that example might be, I want to be healthy. A value can't be accomplished necessarily, but rather can only be followed. Think about that for a second. A value cannot be accomplished, but rather it can only be followed. Setting your values will give you a sense of direction for any decision you ever have to make. So set your values. And that's going to be incredibly important because if we combine number one with number two, you're going to be thinking about where your energy goes, right? Where your energy goes in relation to your values. Okay. So number three is do your research. Do your research. We rely on our feelings far too often when it comes to the subject of balancing our lives. And really the correct balance for your life is going to be when you look at the energy you're spending in number one, and you determine, is that energy adequately moving me towards my value set? Is it adequately accomplishing my value set? For example, I may feel great after I eat a pizza, even if I eat it every day because frankly, I love pizza. But if I do a little bit of research, that immediate gratification, I realize that immediate gratification of eating pizza is going to eventually catch up to me, right? And it's going to be harmful to my health. So if I have a value, like I said previously, of being healthy, being a healthy individual, then I know that even though I feel great after I eat pizza, that that's going to go against my value set, if I do that too many times, any light research will tell you that eating pizza every day probably isn't the most healthy decision. I may feel like, for example, I can function well on four hours of sleep. I may feel like I'm being extremely productive. I may feel like I can beat the statistics. But if I do my research and look at real data of people who are like me who have similar feelings about these things, people who are like me, I may learn that my feelings don't actually line up with logic. I may learn that my feelings are actually taking me down a road that I don't want to go down. So as it relates to the work, life, equation, I'm going to give you an example of one of my values. I want to have positive relationships with number one, my wife and number two, my friends. I think that's incredibly important. I think I need to have good relationships with those people. So if I look at my energy output, right? I may feel like my relationship with my friends or my wife is healthy and thriving. But in fact, if I'm actually working 16 hour days, which would be crazy, if I'm working that longer, if I'm away from those people, if I'm starving those relationships, then maybe my life, my work life equation is out of balance. Again, this really kind of speaks back to this fact that work life balance isn't just about feelings, right? It's not just about, I feel like this is totally fine. I feel happy. Instead you have to look a little bit deeper. Just feeling happy today may not necessarily give you the long term accomplishments, the long term value alignments that you set out more intentionally. Just being happy today, you could stay home today and not work at all. And you could be quite happy doing that, but that may not align with your long term value of being a productive citizen and society. So when you start thinking about the work life equation for yourself, when you start thinking about how much do I want to spend my energy on this particular area, go ahead and look at it through that lens of your values. Look at it through the lens of your values and do your research. Don't rely on your feelings, rely on that research that's going to tell you the average person who does this ends up doing this, right? So example, there are some research that says that if you work more than 40 hours per week, your productivity actually starts going down rather than up. And that's not really intuitive. We wouldn't be able to feel that necessarily, but that's actually the case, right? We also feel very good when we answer a bunch of emails in a day. We feel like we've accomplished something, but in reality, we may not have accomplished nearly what we could have accomplished if we weren't answering emails all day. So once again, a very quick recap. Number one, think less about whether what you're doing is considered work and more about your energy. Number two, set your values and number three, do your research. And all this culminates into actually spending your energy on the things that you value. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. And thank you again to today's sponsor FreshBooks. If you want a free month of FreshBooks, go to FreshBooks.com slash Developer Tea. Make sure you enter Developer Tea. And the how did you hear about us section? Of course, that link and every other relevant link from today's episode can be found in the show notes at spec.fm. And if you enjoy Developer Tea, go now, take the app that you're listening to this episode on and click subscribe. This helps make sure that you don't miss out on future content from Developer Tea. And there are three episodes per week. So there's always going to be new content to listen to pretty much. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. And until next time, enjoy your tea.