I want to talk about optimization. This is very important topic for all us, IT developers, which we face when we are creating software. I bet you agree that programmers are tend to be lazy people, that’s why they always look for the best way to do something with minimum effort, they try to automate all they can and use lowest computing power possible. Of course there can be some exemptions when we rush to deliver as we are short on time, but in general we try to optimize our code and our daily tasks to the maximum efficiency. We all understand and agree that we need to allocate some extra time if we want to create easily maintainable, extendable, clean and high quality code. We need time because we can not rush as we need to experiment, educate ourselves in order to use best strategy and tools. We ask our team leaders, managers, boss for that and we are angry if they don’t understand us. And at this point of agreement I want to stop and ask you, when the last time do you allocated some similar time to optimize your life? When have you made a pause for all your daily routine just to think about your goals, do unfinished things you always wanted and perhaps apply some better strategy for your career or personal life like you apply design patterns for your code. And I am not talking just about few hours of thinking in the silence while relaxing after the good party, but the time period (month, year) big enough actually to do something real. If you can confirm for yourself that you done that recently or you even do that regularly than let me congratulate you. You can skip this post. However if you are not sure or you don’t understand what I am talking about I invite you to continue reading.
So let me try to draw the picture of you, which could be more precise especially if you are IT developer. So first of all you love technology and you are really busy with constantly learning new IT skills. You feel that you are always chasing and trying to catch up. The more your learn the more you feel that you don’t know. Time after time you change companies and jobs as you want to improve, you want to be up to date while working on new latest technology projects. You do that because if you want to be IT developer you have to learn constantly. So it’s really hard. But you know because it’s hard you get paid well, really well (or that’s what you think). After work you are tired and you just don’t have time. You don’t have time for anything else serious. Yes you have weekends left but when they start you have so many gathered daily life issues to solve, and also you want to relax and entertain yourself. And if at that daily constantly repeating circle that you live in you come up with some crazy creative new ideas that you would like to try guess what happens? You just think about it, usually talk about it and never do that. Why? Let me repeat myself, because you don’t have time left for anything serious and abstract. Do you see what I mean? It’s a loop. If we want to optimize our lives we need to break that loop. To do that we need to identify why it’s continuing. In my opinion the reason is simple to see, it is related with money and fear. We all fear to loose money. Actually I got really angry inside when I had read one blog post where a programmer says that for him every day is money, big money earned and that even to be sick is not worth it because you just loose money. Just think about this opinion for a while. On the one hand people dream and talk about businesses they could create, interesting things they could do, adventures that they would have and on the other hand they refuses all that for their greed, greed for money. Money which when you think about it are really not big enough, but just comfortable to live with and gives you imaginable safety. If you now start wondering what’s wrong to live comfortable life let me stop you right now. Let’s discuss the benefits of breaking that loop and making strategical pause in life.
What is strategical pause? What do I mean? As I said previously it’s similar to code optimization, just here you optimize your life. First you step out of your daily routine and suddenly you have plenty of time for everything. Remember you need to think that you stepped out for unlimited time to get that feeling. It’s not a holidays, not a long break between changing jobs or contracts, you don’t have to feel a pressure to come back anywhere. When you do that you immediately notice that you have so many small things gathered up that you need to solve and do. These small things bothered you for a long time, maybe even a years, but now you have time for them. Best part here is that you will solve all these annoying things faster as you thought, because you can concentrate to them fully each every day without interruption. Just imagine that good feeling when you finish the last one and feel free again. With freedom will come back the joy. Finally feeling free again you will get some time to entertain yourself by concentrating to abandoned hobbies. Read popular book you always wanted, learn to play guitar, finish all the levels of a computer game that you love… It’s just examples, and again if you do that full time each day, it won’t take so long as you think. You don’t believe me? How about eating the cake every day? It can be the most delicious cake in world but do you think you will want to eat it after a week, two weeks, a month? Just relax, dive deep to your hobby and enjoy that time. I tell you it won’t continue too much long until you get bored. So what’s next? I bet you will start noticing more small details of the world we are living in. Just imagine ordinary Monday when everybody is rushing to their workplace, and you can enjoy your long walk in the park, breath fresh air, listen to the birds, feel the nature and relax. It’s a brilliant feeling which we loose because of a rush every day. Also I think that you will start to care your physical body shape much more, because that is going to happen naturally. While having so much free time and seeing sun shining you instinctively will go outside for training, running, biking, swimming, playing football, basketball, tennis and so on. If compared to the time when you work, usually you leave any sports for the end of the day when you go to some enclosed gym. Natural daylight is getting over or completely finished, you feel less energetic, just more stressed after long day at work. Just imagine what a good feeling is to go outside when you are really in the mood and the weather condition is at it’s best instead of sitting near computer screen in the office until the momentum is lost. Let me ask what impact do you think all these experiences will make on you? I promise it will be the best soul and body healing time of your life. The good news is that when your body and soul is healed your brain will start to work. Your inner creativity will be turned on. When you step out from your daily routine, you will start seeing bigger picture. Finally you will have time to analyze, experiment, educate yourself. That will be a best quality time when you will question yourself about everything: which people do you need keep in your life, connections you need renew, actions you need to take to fix your health, what worthless habits you need to remove and what new useful ones to add. At this time new business, projects ideas will be born. But the best part here is that you can try to implement all your ideas immediately. Not next week, month or year. No more excuses that you are busy, just actions.
Have I intrigued you with the benefits of strategical pause idea? I hope so. 🙂 So your next question is how to do it? Simple answer would be just do it. But I know that the more comfortable life you live the more complicated it will sound to you. Please understand that here the only thing what separates you from doing it is money. And money is complicated thing. I know that you may have many questions, like how about my all liabilities to my daily job, to my family, even to myself. Simple solution is to save some money or create passive income source (advanced level solution) and than try to make a pause. Basically you will buy time for your money. You will only know if it was worth it if you try to buy it. Remember you can not assert that it is not worth it if you never tried. The secret here is that you don’t need to win a million in the lottery just to try. When you try for the first time you will learn a lot from such situation. Also there is another popular opinion how to reach your goals without loosing money. Some say that when you really really want you can allocate some time after your work with serious time management involved. But I repeat to you, trust me, it’s different because when you make a pause as I recommend you step out of your comfort zone, feel insecure and than you brain feels the danger, starts to work 110% and that’s where the magic happens.
OK I am happy if you managed to reach this post point. Let’s finish this abstract topic. I hope you found my own life experience of making strategical pauses worth to read. Remember we all humans are intelligent species and we are natural creators, that’s why we are happy when we dream, plan, do, build something what we personally want. That only comes with freedom. So be brave and give yourself even just a short moment of freedom with strategical pause in life.
Share your own ideas about life optimization in the comments below. 😉