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Cycling in and out of work and renewal periods

February 14, 2013

Life is cyclical. Recognizing that allows you to optimize your personal and professional activities, maximize fun, and make the biggest possible dent in the universe.

I was reminded of this recently while reading “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive” from the New York Times (@nytimes) after a G+ tip from Alexander Howard (@digiphile).

People sometimes ask me how I approach work-life balance, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share.

I find ninety minute bursts of productivity with renewals in between works very well for me.

My ideal work day: I walk my child to school (a little hit of sunshine and light exercise first thing), followed by checking email and then a quick team video call. After dealing with any pressing issues raised on our team standup, I try to take a short break where I get up and out of my home office for a few minutes. After another period of ninety minutes or so of work, I break for lunch. A third work period, then an afternoon workout (usually a run). A fourth period of work on days when family commitments don’t preclude it, and then I try to get to bed at a decent time to repeat tomorrow.

On “rest days” when I’m not running I will try to spend my mid-afternoon renewal time either reading or napping. Either way, I stay out of my office and away from my laptop to avoid diving immediately back into work and problem solving mode.

Getting to bed at a decent time is where I most often fail. Lots of temptation to get back into work mode after getting the kids to bed, when I should be settling in for the night.

What works for you?

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