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Work Life Balance for Passionate Developers - Full Stack Toronto 2015 Edition

Joshua Warren
November 12, 2015
74

Work Life Balance for Passionate Developers - Full Stack Toronto 2015 Edition

‘Work-life balance’ is touted in job postings everywhere - but what does it really mean? If you’re a passionate developer that’s excited about the technology you work with every day, you probably spend a fair bit of time outside of the office doing something that looks a lot like what you do at work. Even if you’re excited about your work, it’s important to find ways to rest, recharge and disconnect periodically. After spending 6 years building a team of passionate developers, I’ve learned that everyone approaches work-life balance differently, with vastly different results.

Joshua Warren

November 12, 2015
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  1. Work/Life Balance For
    Passionate Developers
    Presented by Joshua Warren

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  2. Put That Laptop Down
    And Get Some Sleep!

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  3. PHP Developer
    Working with PHP on the web
    since 1999

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  4. Founder & CEO
    Founded Creatuity in 2008
    PHP Development Firm
    Focus on the Magento platform
    I was inspired, in large part, by never wanting to
    work in a traditional office thanks to the movie
    ‘Office Space’.

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  5. Frequent Conference Presenter
    Occasional Open Source Contributor
    Over-Tweeter

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  6. Hardware Hacker
    Avid Sci-Fi Reader
    Aspiring Author

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  7. What Work/Life Balance
    Looks Like To Me

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  8. Work/Life Balance Looks
    Different to Everyone

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  9. Work Looks Different

    Life Looks Different

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  10. Apply These Principles to Your
    Unique Work/Life Situation

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  11. JoshuaWarren.com
    @JoshuaSWarren

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  12. IMPORTANT!
    lanyrd.com/sdhttz
    Download slides
    Stay in touch - give me feedback

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  13. What’s That?
    Work/Life Balance

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  14. –Wikipedia
    A concept including proper prioritizing
    between "work" and "lifestyle"

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  15. –Wikipedia
    “Lifestyle” includes health, pleasure,
    leisure, family & spiritual development/
    meditation

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  16. Work/Life Balance
    Used to be simple
    Work 8 hours making widgets, then go home
    The widgets didn’t follow you home

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  17. Work/Life Balance Today
    Work 8+ hours
    Spend an hour driving home
    Check your work email on your smartphone
    Finish up “one last bit” of work after dinner

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  18. Think of when you were packing to attend Full Stack
    Toronto

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  19. We have a limited amount of room and have to
    choose carefully what we pack.

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  20. If we aren’t mindful of what we pack - others will
    make those decisions for us.

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  21. Most of us are trying to pack entirely too much - we’re
    spending too much of our life focused on work.

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  22. –Every Overworked Developer
    That’s OK, though, because I love what I do!

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  23. Work/Life Integration
    “If people enjoy what they do, there’s no need to draw
    strict lines.” —Fortune Magazine
    Not a bad concept, but…

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  24. Work/Life Integration
    Work/Life Integration, especially when abused by
    employers, destroys personal boundaries
    Healthy personal boundaries are critical to self-
    worth, happiness & fulfillment

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  25. The best attempts at work/life integration use
    technology to allow employees to alter their work to
    better accommodate their personal life.

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  26. The worst attempts at work/life integration use
    technology and peer pressure to take advantage of
    passionate, driven employees.

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  27. Cui Bono
    Evaluate a company’s work/life initiatives by
    asking a simple question - cui bono - “to whose
    benefit?”

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  28. Or: It’s about to get real…
    The Personal Case For
    Work/Life Balance

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  29. 2,000 Saturdays

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  30. #fstoconf15
    The average American in their mid-30’s has
    2,000 Saturdays left in their life. Don’t
    waste them.

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  31. 2,000 sounds like a lot - but think about how
    fast each weekend disappears.

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  32. Also, that assumes you reach the average.

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  33. Every year, our community loses friends
    and colleagues well before their time

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  34. Work is important, but life is precious,
    and it’s entirely too short.

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  35. Inspired by Merlin Mann’s post How
    Many Saturdays Do You Get and the
    followup discussion on his podcast,
    Back to Work

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  36. Merlin’s calculation was that he had
    only about 300 Saturdays left that his
    young daughter would want to spend
    with him.

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  37. Importance of Personal Time
    Develop and maintain healthy relationships
    Personal growth & development
    Happiness & fulfillment

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  38. Importance of Personal Time
    Improve your health
    Lower stress levels

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  39. Or: A slightly less depressing, more business-y segment
    The Business Case for
    Work/Life Balance

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  40. #fstoconf15
    Tech executives - you’re not running a factory.
    Stop treating your employees like factory
    workers.

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  41. Studies have linked personal downtime to increases
    in creativity, memory, learning and problem solving.

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  42. Hiring millennials? 40% of them will leave if
    you don’t have a good work/life balance
    policy. — Washington Post

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  43. In other words - do you want high performing
    employees who are creative, solve problems and
    help your business grow?
    Give your employees downtime!

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  44. Or: Stop Working Your Employees To Death
    Implement Work/Life Balance at
    Work

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  45. #fstoconf15
    Work/life balance is not a perk.
    It’s an attitude of respect for each
    employee’s life and need for rest.

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  46. Healthy work/life balance requires a culture where
    employees feel safe disconnecting from work.

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  47. Create clear boundaries and expectations between
    working and non-working times.

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  48. Flexible hours and working from home are great,
    but create a clear boundary that signals to manager
    and employee when the employee is working.

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  49. Flexible hours and remote work are not an excuse
    or justification for overworking employees.

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  50. As an employee - ask for these boundaries if you’re
    not receiving them.

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  51. As a manager - make sure to respect your
    employee’s boundaries - and your own. Lead by
    example.

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  52. Popular Options
    Telecommuting
    20+ PTO days
    Compressed workweek
    Flexible schedules

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  53. These options are great, but implemented on their
    own without a cultural change, they are often
    underutilized.

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  54. For example - instead of “flexible schedules”,
    set “core hours”.

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  55. Corporate employees of Darden Restaurants have
    core hours from 9:00AM - 3:30PM

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  56. Old culture: all employees must be in the same
    office at the same time, or they aren’t getting work
    done

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  57. New culture: it’s important for employees to be
    able to collaborate, but their productivity won’t
    suffer if they don’t have the exact same hours.

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  58. Or: Rediscover Those People and/or Pets Living In Your
    Home
    Implement Work/Life Balance at
    Home

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  59. Set boundaries.
    Determine what you and your family are
    comfortable with, and stick to it.

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  60. For some people, that means work stays at work.

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  61. For others, it means getting that last hour of work in
    after the kids have gone to bed.

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  62. Experiment with small changes.
    I banned laptops from my bedroom and discovered
    that one change greatly improved my sleep.

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  63. I tried Flux - https:/
    /justgetflux.com/
    I even wore these $6 glasses:

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  64. For me - it wasn’t just the impact of staring at a
    bright screen. Using a laptop in bed prevented me
    from relaxing my mind.

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  65. #fstoconf15
    Know yourself. Take time to set
    priorities to help you guide your
    own personal balance between
    work and life.

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  66. Track all of your time for a week - including time
    spent at home.

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  67. Try Using the Print-At-Home Emergent Task Timer

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  68. Does your time spent at home match up with your
    priorities? If not, rearrange until it does.

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  69. Treat your personal time the same way you treat
    your work time.

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  70. Would you walk out of a meeting at work for a minor
    issue at home?
    Then don’t give up your personal time for a minor
    issue at work!

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  71. Focus on your health

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  72. Get better sleep - FitBit
    Improve your nutrition - MyFitnessPal
    Get some sort of exercise - FitBit + MyFitnessPal

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  73. Even minor improvements to your health will have a
    noticeable impact on your work/life balance and
    your enjoyment of life

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  74. Or: gl hf
    Work/Life Balance For Remote
    Workers

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  75. Remote workers tend to have the very best or very
    worst work/life balance.

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  76. Again - it all comes down to boundaries.

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  77. Set clear boundaries with everyone involved - both
    your family and your coworkers.

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  78. Ensure your family respects your work time -
    establish a clear signal when you are ‘at work’.

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  79. Ensure your work respects your family time -
    establish clear rules and expectations of when you
    will and won’t be reachable.

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  80. Find a support group - A coffee shop, a coworking
    space, a makerspace.

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  81. You need an in-person outlet for work-related
    stress other than your family.

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  82. Or: gl hf dd
    Work/Life Balance For
    Passionate Developers

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  83. Example: You’re a full-time PHP developer who
    spends all day working with a custom app in Laravel

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  84. Coming home and working on a personal project in
    Laravel - is it work?

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  85. Personal projects closely related to what you do at
    work aren’t necessarily bad.

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  86. The key is balance.

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  87. Don’t spend all of your personal time on a project
    that closely mirrors what you do at work.

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  88. Split your personal time between projects similar to
    your work and completely unrelated projects.

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  89. Start small - if you usually work with Symfony at
    work, learn Laravel at home.

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  90. Then, find hobbies in unrelated areas.

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  91. Spending your downtime learning a new hobby or
    skill will boost your creativity.

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  92. If you’re a software developer, buy an Arduino and
    start tinkering with circuits.

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  93. Combine your interests and your work with new
    hobbies as well.

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  94. For example - I enjoy speaking with developers and
    trying new beers.
    I use every trip I take - for work or pleasure - to
    connect with local user groups and get their
    recommendation for a good local beer.

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  95. Work/life balance is hard. Especially for those of us
    passionate about our work.

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  96. It’s an important topic, and important to get it right
    - those 2,000 Saturdays will pass by in a blink.

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  97. Set aside time for yourself, for your family and for
    downtime.

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  98. Stop and think about how you’re spending your
    time, and what boundaries you have in place.

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  99. #fstoconf15
    Define one boundary between your work
    and your life and starting Monday,
    respect that boundary.

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  100. After a week, try the Emergent Task Timer and see if
    your reality matches up with your priorities and
    boundaries.

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  101. Keep In Touch!
    lanyrd.com/sdhttz
    @JoshuaSWarren
    JoshuaWarren.com

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