I’m only half-joking. Hear me out.
If you’re frustrated at how much you work, and how little time you spend with your family & friends, think about how much planning and task management you’re required to do at work. You’ve probably got a ticketing system that tracks a backlog of work you need to do. Someone monitors it, and you have to report your status regularly to them. You get fancy burn down charts that track your progress.
You get what you measure.
You’re being closely measured at work, so you hustle your rear end off at work, trying to get your tasks done. You work later and later, and put in time on weekends. It eats into your personal time, but you feel obligated to do it because work has effectively gamified your life.
Track your issues at home, too.
No, I certainly don’t recommend using Jira – I wanna poke my eyes with a rusty fork whenever I have to use that thing – but use something.
For day-to-day tactical home productivity, I’ve been using RememberTheMilk.com for over a decade, and here’s how I use it. I got started by using the productivity philosophy Getting Things Done, but that’s overkill when you’re just getting started. The point is to use any categorized to-do system that’s accessible from anywhere (including your phone), and gives you high-level metrics of how many to-dos you have in each category.
For longer-term home productivity, I use Steve Kamb’s Epic Life Quest strategy. I make a list of things I wanna do in the future, keep track of what I’ve done, and each time I finish 5 of those tasks, I celebrate finishing one level of my life.
I’ve been using this approach for over a decade, and now I have a wonderful new work/life balance problem. I kept focusing on the life stuff that I wanted to accomplish, and in 2021, I haven’t gotten enough work done – because I’ve been letting my life tasks take over my work time. We moved to Iceland in January for a 6-9 month vacation, and since getting here, I’ve done way, way less work than normal. We’re moving back to San Diego in October, and I’ll be getting my work/life balance back under control.
Thanks to Tjay Belt for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday. The topic was work/life balance, and if you’d like to read more tips from the database community, check out the comments on that post.