Here I am trying to crank out a blog post in a matter of minutes before going to a movie with my roommates, who I haven’t hung out with all week because of homework and blog writing. I just ran back to the room from working with a fellow student on a web app, and my unread email list has increased to 53. I don’t know if this pace is sustainable, and sometimes I think I can’t hold up all of this.
But this is how I survive.
I am lucky enough to have fantastic coworkers that are always looking out for my best interests. After a 2:30 a.m. commit message, my supervisor sent me an email saying, “Go to sleep! #Avoidburnout.” When I need to take a break and finish some homework, they give me my space and let me crank out whatever I need. I consider them my family, and enjoy every minute I spend with them.
My roommates are also incredible, not only in holding me accountable for this blog, but for encouraging me in all of my decisions. They are the steady base that makes everything I do possible, I know plenty of people whose roommates hold them back, or discourage from the opportunities that they get. For me, my best ideas usually come from my roommates, and when I am having a rough time, they are there for me without me needing to ask.
Last night, my roommate turned to me and said, “Jake, if it’s too much for you to be writing one blog post a day, just do two a week or something.” And I thought about it for a while. I imagined it would be good to focus more on the quality of the posts and really fine tune things every night rather than rushing a post out the door.
Going even further I thought about maybe not working as much, or dropping Cryptography class just to lighten the homework load. I realized that I am the one putting myself through all of this, I am the one who makes it this hard for me.
But I love that it’s difficult; I love the challenge.
Why would I want to write one blog post every day for 60 days? Because I don’t think I can do it. I know just how difficult it is to find content, and how crunched for time I am already. But at the very end, when I can write a December 30th post saying that I did it, and that I accomplished the impossible, or when I can get A’s in seven courses in one semester, I will know that I could do it.
I love setting difficult goals for myself, but I love accomplishing them even more.
I’m still learning a lot about prioritizing and balancing my life. I’m starting to realize that people will always want more from you than you will be able to give, and I have to learn how to tell people “No”, and possibly let them down. I read a great article by Scott Jehl about Under-promising and over-delivering that really made sense, and I’m trying to implement that more in my life. Hopefully, I will become much better at this and still make everyone satisfied in the process.
I am able to accomplish a great amount of work by outsourcing things I don’t need to do, and only focusing on accomplishing what I am good at. The number one tool I use for that is Evernote, and whenever I need to remember a deadline, I outsource remembering those responsibilities by making an Evernote reminder of it. My task list is always a little bit daunting to look at, but I do a much better job of getting everything done when I don’t have to rely on my brain to keep track of it all.
I also have begun using Pocketcast to keep track of podcasts I listen to. It helps me stay up to date on tech news, much better than having to find articles or read through newsletters, especially since I usually don’t have WiFi on the train to work.
In terms of keeping up with RSS feeds, I love Feedly, a free app that helps you queue up all of your RSS feeds and never miss any news. Any free time I have is usually spent there, catching up on latest Node.js package releases or Medium.com articles.
Do you have any advice for work-life balance? Any good reads or tools you would like to share? Comment below or reach out to me on Twitter: @thejakepruitt.