Working in tech is like chasing a never-ending to-do list: The list includes things that you get hired and paid for -- whether that be writing code, or writing documentation, hiring people, attending meetings, engaging with the community. And then there are things that you don't get paid for, but which are important for a sustainable career in tech. This includes things like blogging, networking, attending meetups, presenting at conferences, learning new tech stacks. These are all bonus activities, but they still take up a lot of time, effort, and energy.
And this list of things you "should" be doing never ends. There's always one more blog post to write or another meetup to attend or another new technology that's just cropped up that you have to learn. And it is incredibly difficult to step away from all of it, even for a little while, without feeling guilty of "being complacent" or without the fear of missing out.
This was one of my biggest realizations during my DevRel experiment. I loved the experiment a lot and I learned a lot from it. But I was also kinda dropped in the middle of the flurry of activities in the world of tech. And I realized that this constant stream of activity is neither healthy nor sustainable (*for me).
So when I was thinking about my theme and goals for 2020, I decided to tackle this problem head-on. I decided to prioritize wellness and make it the focus of the year. To honor the seasons of life. To find balance.
So my theme for the year 2020 is "Find Balance"
I like the phrasing, "Find Balance", because it makes me aware that this is a proactive choice. It is not something that you find once and then set and forget. It is something that I have to work on consciously, mindfully, and proactively every single day of the year. I also like that this phrase gives me permission to rest, to recharge, to take it easy without feeling guilty.
So once I had my theme for the year, I started thinking about what does finding balance mean to me. What are the aspects of my life that I want to find balance in. And I decided that there are three aspects that I want to find balance in.
The first aspect is finding balance between work, play, and life. This is where the concept of honoring the seasons comes in. There are some seasons at work, like product releases, when it's very intense and it takes everything I have. And at those times, I want to allow myself to take it easy in my social and personal life. But after the product releases are done, I want to allow myself the time to take a break and focus on my personal interests and my social life.
The second aspect I want to find balance in is my extroverted and introverted energies. I have realized that the activities that are usually organized in the world of tech are very extroverted, very social, and very outgoing. And it just drains me completely. So I want to allow myself to find moments of solitude and have some time reserved during the week that is just for me and to cherish that time.
And the third aspect that I want to find balance in is my content creation efforts. I want to find balance in the quality v. the quantity of content that I produce. What that means is that I don't want to play the YouTube algorithm game anymore. I want to make content only when I find something important or interesting to say. This will not only help me find balance in my life but also help my audience find balance in the sense they won't be bombarded with one more thing to watch that demands their attention.
And to help me find balance, I have established three goals that I want to accomplish this year.
The first goal is to "Identify and appreciate the elements of balance that already exist in my life". I am blessed to work at a company that has "Establish Balance" as one of its core values. And we have a lot of policies that help employees establish balance in their lives. Like, we have the four-day workweek and Flex Fridays. We have flexible work timings. And we have unlimited PTO. So the company is doing everything possible to help me establish balance. But I am not making good use of those policies. So this year, I want to be more mindful and more intentional in how I use these privileges granted to me and find balance in my life.
To that end, I have been monitoring my time for the past month. And I have found that Parkinson's Law is absolutely true: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". I have realized that I keep working because I don't really have a substitute for it. It creates a time vaccuum of sorts. And work always expands to fill the time. I need to find concrete, non-work-related things to do in my time at home.
Which brings us to my second goal. My second goal of the year is to "Cultivate Interests". The theme for 2019 was "Finding Interests". As a result of that theme, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons regularly, attended a lot of art shows, and I traveled a LOT. So this year, I want to cultivate my interests and kind of deep-dive into them. To that end, I want to complete my Dungeons and Dragons campaign, I want to start making art, I want to travel across Europe, and I want to start writing fiction.
And my final goal of the year is to conduct "Wellness Experiments". In my quest to find balance, I tried all the pop culture self-care ideas, like taking a bubble bath and going for walks in nature. And I did not like any of them. So this year, I want to find self-care activities that actually work for me. And to start with, I am going back to the basics. I want to focus on food, sleep, and exercise. I want to prep and plan my weekly meals. I want to get 6-8 hours of sleep. And I want to be able to do 12 suryanamaskar (sun salutations) effortlessly.
So that's my theme and goals for 2020. To summarize, this year, I want to find balance and give myself permission to rest, recharge, and just take it easy. And I hope this inspires you to give permission to yourself to take it easy and gives you ideas to prioritize wellness in your life. And that's my wish for you -- I wish you a happy, healthy, and restful 2020.