What it takes to work for an year without time off.
This time in my new job, I tried something which I did not do so far. No way I am recommending that everyone should work without taking leaves. This is purely a personal choice and I may not repeat this next time.
To start with, this feat is not a big deal. I feel, some of the tips below may help working professionals to balance work and life effectively and take a swing towards one side as the demand arises. If we take a parallel to software system design, this is all about being “Available”. One may argue, I would have been more productive if I had taken some holidays. This is very speculative and may or may not be true. Hence, we will only talk about being “Available”.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” -Jim Rohn
- Being Fit: Fitness is not about being lean. It is ability of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task both mentally, emotionally and phsysically. In software industry people end up sitting for many hours. Sitting for many hours has many side effects like obesity, high blood pressure, high body fat, and increased body sugar. as per the famous quote goes “Sitting is new smoking”. Few ways to deal with this is, standing desk, taking calls while standing, standing when not using laptop or desktop. Starting the day with some fitness activity either yoga, walk, weights or run helps to keep the day fresh and energetic.
“When diet is wrong, Medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” — Ayurvedic Proverb
2. Eat right and well: I am not getting into debate of veg vs nonveg or leaves vs fruits, alcohol vs just water. Eat what you like and what your previous generations ate but watch out for the time and quantity. After putting weight during Covid, I did intermittent fasting for about 3 months. It helped me tremendously in reducing weight. Now by default I do not eat dinners. Few exceptions are team events, party with friends or family functions. Now the important thing is to reduce parties.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
3. Love the job: When we love the job, the energy comes automatically. I don't think there is any additional motivation is required. Money is by-product of the job not a reason to love the job. Few things that I like in my job. Interacting with software engineers, solving any technical and design challenges, working with customers directly, meeting new talent through recruitment activities, sharing knowledge, learning new technologies and of course coding. I did not list down what I do not like or do not enjoy in my job. The reality is, any job doesn't offer only what we like. It is important to understand this. If we are not enjoying, it could be because we do not have right skills to do that activity, by nature we are averse to do that task or it is so mundane or manual we get bored easily. Once we know why are we not enjoying, it is easy to solve this problem. Lot of times we struggle to understand the real reason. When we know the reason, either we need to look at automating or delegating to someone who can do it better or love to do it.
“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” Margaret Heffernan
4. Conflict Management: Conflicts drain the energy both physically and psychologically. Conflicts with managers, colleagues and team members are biggest drainers of energy and will make people to “Fall sick”. Unfortunately, conflicts are part of the life. One may argue adults handle conflicts well compared to kids. But then, no war in the world was started by kids. When a conflict arises, understand the view point of the other person. If this doesn't match to your view, now look at customers you are serving. Validate if other person’s view works well for the customer or your view. Now you have the answer. If something makes you uncomfortable, remember two important quotes. “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” and “Aeroplane takes off against the wind not with it.”
5. Journey towards Financial Independence: This is nothing to do with being rich or poor. Happiness comes when we know what we can and can’t do with money we have. I saw people with sad faces though they live in high-end villas and many smiling faces in a place like the biggest slum in India, Dharavi. We trade our time, talent and skills to earn money. But, many are very bad in managing hard earned money. Getting basic financial knowledge, understanding how to make the money work for them will take away lot of pressure. Automate recurring financial transactions, and have a good view of financial health. Having command over the finances brings happiness and confidence.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahathma gandhi
6. Continuous Learning: Continuous learning has a positive impact on the brain. It helps to increase neural connections and strengthen existing ones. This increases cognitive abilities, such as memory and problem-solving. It also helps to maintain and slow down the rate of cognitive decline associated with aging. Additionally, studies have shown that challenging the brain through continuous learning can even help to protect against the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Learning brings confidence and helps in confronting challenging situations at workplace.