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Rejecting Struggle Porn

By September 7, 2020 No Comments

Reject Struggle Porn

 

On rejecting struggle porn… burnout, commitment, and learning how to take a breath.

 

Description:

Reject Struggle Porn.
Reject Burnout.
Reject Overcommitment.

Embrace Balance.
Embrace Breaks.
Embrace Family, Friends, and Hobbies.

A few weeks ago I went off-grid as I oft do to recharge.

There were a lot of you that reached out, which made me want to tell you about how I do my best to balance work and other things.
As Jim Gavigan has introduced to me “Work – Life Excellence.”

This is still something that I struggle with on a regular basis and force myself to take breaks and do non-work things.

What do you to outside of work?

Links to the map.

Transcript:

Welcome back to my latest video. Today, we are in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee where just a couple of days ago, it was 96% relative humidity. Did you know that we can measure up to 96% relative humidity? Did you also know that we went into the sauna to cool off and dry off? It was absolutely beautiful.

Today I want to talk about burnout. Burnout is tough. Sometimes you know, it’s coming up on you. Sometimes you don’t necessarily know that it is sneaking up on you. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going off the grid for a long weekend and actually had a huge amount of support from everyone who watches this, both messages and comments, and emails. And it seemed like there was a resounding amount of people who mentioned that something to the fact of most folks don’t mention the fact that they’re taking breaks, or that they’re interested in taking breaks, or that they appreciated my comments.

And quite honestly, I feel like there are not enough people who talk about things outside of work, who talk about taking breaks, who talk about taking vacations and why that is important. And I think that comes down to the fact that for the past, I don’t know, 20 plus years, there’s been a lot of what I call struggle porn out there. A lot of people who spend a lot of time working, or honestly, most of the time, pretending that they’re working, sitting there in front of their computers, maybe or maybe not being as productive as they possibly could. So where I first found it was in the startup community, and especially 10 or 15 years ago, it was a terrible thing where everyone’s like, oh, we’ve gotta be in the office 16 hours a day, six, seven days a week.

That’s the only way it can appear¬†like we’re actually working as hard as we’re supposed to. That’s the only way we can get the VC money that we know that we need in order to continue to survive. And God knows I’ve been on that track more than once in my life. Quite honestly, I am sure that there will be times in my life when I do put in a bunch of those hours, and this isn’t taking away from people who are on that lots of hours track. This is the comment of there are different ways.

One of the reasons I leave civilization is because it is my happy place. Over the years, I have learned that if there is cell phone reception or a single bar of wifi, I will somehow find a way to get messages on my phone and then answer those messages. And by removing myself from any sort of place that has cell phone reception, I do a much better job not.

So most recently, as I said, that was out in Western Michigan. I can also personally recommend, the previous place that we took some vacation earlier this summer, atop Mount Rainier. Good luck trying to find a single bar of service out there. Besides that, you know, boats on open water, as well as caves, do a really good job of blocking cell phone service.

More than a year ago before I left the last place and started what is now Caplin, I can tell you that I was burnt out. I was overcommitted. I was stressed. No one said that this remote work thing was going to be easy. I just didn’t necessarily realize how difficult it was. And I personally was having issues setting, and then sticking with boundaries. You know, those Slack office hours or those Teams office hours that you now get the opportunity to use? Why would I ever want to use that? And it was just a constant struggle to try to stay on top of everything. I have found that by pulling and not over committing to being available 18 hours a day, that’s personally made my life a lot better. And most of the time it makes my wife want to murder me a little bit less. Learning how to properly understand, you know, what does productivity look like for me, where can I provide the most value, you don’t just have to put in garbage hours to put in garbage hours, was a very important thing.

And so what I know now is that I was struggling with what Jim Gavaghan has introduced to me as work-life excellence. Not just work-life balance, like I was completely struggling with that, but the concept of work-life excellence is the fact that you can work and you can live and you can find ways for those to be symbiotic. And as I said, sometimes I’m writing copy at 11 o’clock at night because I have some absolutely fantastic ideas. Other mornings, I may be out hiking before my mid-morning meetings. For me, a lot of that is figuring out what I need to do, what and how I can be most productive at that moment. And for me, again, it’s not sitting down and trying to work in front of a computer for eight hours straight every day and then shutting it off and then going to do other things.

For me, that’s a lot of times that it’s, you know, two or three hours I’m working, I’m taking some meetings, I’m doing all of these things. I take a break and then I come back to it at a later point in time with fresh eyes, as opposed to just trying to continue to pound out and pound out and pound out. That is not the way that I’m most productive.

My point is balance. We need to find balance. We need to find that work-life excellence. For all my new remote workers out there, put down the laptop, you know, turn off the cell phone, go ahead and leave it because there are things in life that are happening and we have to enjoy life as it happens. So my ask for you is that you find something that makes you happy and enjoy some time doing that. Coming up, we’ve got the long labor day weekend for most everyone. Please, you know, take at least a couple of hours off, spend them doing a hobby that you love, spend them with your loved ones, spend them in the car, driving around because you used to love driving, and now you spend all of your time home.

Listen to a podcast or an album that you haven’t heard in a while, and just take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days to decompress from all the work and all the work stress. It’s going to help alleviate any burnout issues that you’ve got. Hopefully, it will give you the opportunity to have a clear vision as to what’s going on around you and make you a better, more well-rounded person.

And after that, you know, take some days off. So I actually take birthdays off. Beth and I, my wife and I have done some really fun things. Disney world on a Monday or Tuesday. I mean, of course, I immediately came back and had to get on a flight to go see a customer, but we went to Disney World on a, on a birthday, on a weekday, and that was fun. Earlier this year, we are at the Grand Canyon for a birthday, which is really good. My birthday is coming up. It falls on a Friday. I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.

So my ask of you guys is what do you do outside of work to work on that work-life balance, to work on that work with excellence? I’m going to tag take Jim, and Jim will probably tell us some amazing fishing stories, you guys probably are familiar with his fishing Fridays. But for everyone else, please go ahead and drop a like, please go ahead and drop a comment to let me know what you do outside of work to enjoy time by yourself, with your friends, with your family; what that hobby is either pre-pandemic or during the pandemic, or what you hope to get back to after that.

A couple of housekeeping items:

So we’ve got ICC, we’ve got Automation Fair, we’ve got a lot of other virtual or from -home, conferences coming up. I’m interested and am going to commit to putting together some virtual networking events. So if you’re going to ICC, if you’re going to Automation Fair, if you’re going to another conference that I didn’t list that we should put together a virtual networking event, please let me know. I’ve reached out and a couple of people have committed to that. They should be good.

My goal for that is to find a way to have those conversations that we would normally have over dinner or at the bar, maybe meet some new people, see some of you guys who I only get to see, once a year or once every couple of years, if only through the camera this time around. Beyond that, check out the blog. I updated the map as to where we’re going to be for most of the rest of the year. Let me know if you’re going to be close and we can wave or socially distance say hi or something along those lines. Additionally, I’ve been talking a lot about reassuring and would appreciate your feedback or your experiences and what you guys have seen over the last six months with more companies coming back to the States and more investment in those companies. Until next time, I’ll catch you guys soon. Have a great Labor Day weekend. Buh-bye.

 

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