I realize that my posts here have become a bit infrequent and erratic. If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I changed jobs early this year. I didn’t just change jobs though; I completely swapped stacks. Learning a dozen technologies “overnight” has taken up a lot of the time that I previously dedicated to writing. I also had my first ever speaking engagement in May, just as my wife was finishing up her degree. Needless to say, we’ve been having a very busy year to date. I’ve simply not had the time or mental bandwidth to regularly update this blog. I tried, but I don’t feel like it’s been my best writing.
When I first started writing this blog, I had set myself a goal of one new post a month. That made a ton of sense at the time, but I never revisited that goal to make sure it still made sense. Even with everything else going on in my life, I (quite unintentionally) put pressure on myself to meet that goal. At some point this Spring I realized I couldn’t do it all and let some things slide.
It’s important to know where your limits are. There are only so many hours in a day. We must wisely choose what to do with them. I severely underestimated how much time it would take to prepare a presentation, which is funny, because it was largely about not doing “gut” estimations. I sacrificed time with my family and time writing here in order to share something I felt was important to share. Since then, I’ve been focused on making up for the lost time. In fact, we just got back from a fantastic camping trip.
Burn out is a common theme in software development. For all our talk about creating software at a sustainable pace, many of us are not moving at one. It’s not always our stakeholders and clients pushing us past our limits either. They’re an easy scapegoat, but in many cases, it’s us pushing ourselves past our limits. We’ll go in early, stay late, or log in from home to check on a long running process. We don’t say “no” often enough to though “aggressive” (cough impossible cough) deadlines. That’s our own fault. We’re responsible for our own health and well being. We’re responsible for creating a sustainable pace of development.
How long has it been since you’ve taken a vacation? I mean a real vacation, not a day here or there, or a week where you check your email and Slack five times a day, but one where you leave the laptop at home and shut off your phone for a week. How long has it been? My last one was at least seven years ago. Granted, I may be a workaholic, but that’s about six years too long without a break from it all. Creating software is a massively creative endeavor. How did I expect myself to remain creative without taking time to recharge those creative juices?! I don’t know. I’m some sort of idiot I guess, because I feel better than I have in years. I feel ready to solve problems and inspired to write again.
If it’s been a while since you’ve unplugged, I highly encourage you to do so. Take a few days and pretend it’s 1995. Navigate with a paper map to someplace new and exciting. Go hiking or visit a museum. Spend some extra time with your kids. Whatever recharges you, go do it. You won’t regret it.
~ Semper Cogitet
P.S. This was supposed to be an update about what’s coming up in the next few months, but I seemed to have found something more important to say in the process of writing this post. I do have a few technical posts on my todo list and at some point I intend on turning my Lean Estimates talk into a blog post. They’re coming, but not a huge priority for me at the moment. I’ll write them as time allows, however I have prioritized time with my family and some house hold chores over this blog. I expect to post one new blog about every 6-8 weeks instead of every 4-6. So hang tight while I find a sustainable pace for this blog.