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Being busy is almost like a double-edged sword. Now, for the sake of transparency, I don’t think I’ve ever owned, used, or tried to chop someone in half with a double-edged sword, but the premise behind the analogy is that the sword cuts both ways. Being busy or having the busy life can be a blessing…and a curse, right? I tell myself I like being busy, which…honestly, I do. My mind tends to wander or I end up binge-watching Netflix when it’s not occupied with work. But on the flipside, when you work all the time, there’s no downtime to recuperate, revitalized, or reinvigorate oneself. Or you end up turning down your friends and family when they ask you to hang out or come over for Sunday dinner. So what do you do if you say this all the time:

“I would love to, it’s just that I’m so busy, I don’t have the time.”

Does anyone else say this? Like, a lot? Like me? Well…then you’re in luck because I’ve been wanting to write a post on this for a while now, but guess what…I’ve been so busy… Now that I have two hours until my next meeting I think I’ll pause to articulate this nagging, suspicious feeling I’ve had for quite some time about the Busy Life. But before I go into my critical observation, let me explain a few things attributed to the Busy Life.

The Busy Life…explained

The way I usually explain the busy life is by saying this: Life is busy when you have obligations that occupy your time and it’s not the actual activity or thing you’d like to be doing. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can be busy and be doing the things you’d like to be doing, but why would that be a bad thing?

People always tend to connect the act of being busy with negativity, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I’m busy my entire work week, with work, with side projects, with volunteer stuff, meeting up with friends, and so on. But that’s not a bad thing if it’s something I want to be doing, right?

Busy the life, busy the body, busy the mind

I work remotely, so if I never wanted to leave the house, I wouldn’t really have to. But I like being social, so I volunteer with YLC and other groups to hang out and get out of my daily remote-working routine. Then I’ll most certainly read up on new technologies or new trends, or terms, or whatever because that’s the kind of stuff that really interests me.

Busy bodies and minds mean they’re active, and being active is a really good thing. Physical activity stops the process of your muscles being atrophied. Mental activity helps your mind retain information better. Being active can be considered a result of healthy living. So, why aren’t we telling people “we’re active” when they ask how our lives are going? Why do we say “we’re soooo busy?” Well, I have a theory.

A theory on being busy and it’s context within society

I think we’re all lead to believe that people want to hear that other people are busy. Simultaneously, we equate being busy with something negative, but we also equate it to success. Successful people are busy. They don’t binge-watch Netflix, they don’t sit around all day, they conquer they’re dreams by being active. They seek out what they want and actively pursue it. But time and again, we hear those words — “I’m so busy,” “work is so busy,” “life is so busy.”

People talk about balance all the time. “You need time to decompress,” “you need time for yourself” I hear people say. Heck, I’ve said it myself. But that’s easy enough to do and it doesn’t mean going on vacation for 3 weeks and totally de-connecting (not a word) from technology. It means balancing your time in your own way.

Busy-ness and the balance equation

I also have this other theory surrounding the balancing of time. It goes a little something like this:

BT = DeCR% / 100 x Mob

You probably have no idea what this equation means. Simply put your Balanced Time is equal to your Decompression Rate percentage divided by 100, times the Minutes of busy-ness. I’ll explain. My Decompression Rate is rather low, it’s 4%. For every hour of hard work I do, I need approximately 2.4 minutes (4% of 60 minutes) of decompression. So after about 5 hours of doing something, I’ll need 12 minutes of meditation or another decompression activity.

You need to find your Decompression Rate and that comes with time. How long can you stare at a computer before your eyes go blurry and you can’t think anymore? Figure it out. Then take that number, which may change as time goes on, and use it when “being busy.” You’ll thank yourself for finding your balanced time.

Redefinition of being busy

To close this post out I’ll say that writing this didn’t cause me to be more busy, it caused me to be more active. And from here on out when people ask me how my life is going, I’ll say “it’s active.” Which will probably get them to inquire more, which in turn might spark an interesting conversation, where as I may send them to this link to check out.

Most of the people I know have active lives, and mostly they all enjoy (to a certain degree) what they do. So seek out the active life for the things you really want to be doing, make time for that, I know you can. But whatever you do, don’t let “being busy” define you anymore. If you are super busy and you enjoy what you’re doing, tell people you’re active. It’ll reshape the way people reply to the things going on in your life.

We’re all just ships at the mercy of the tides.

Are we?

I look back on my life, how its stride has quickened and its step increases the older I grow. Yet, do I continue to grow or just exist – with my good job, my city apartment, and my insecurities. A question I seem to be asking myself a lot lately, am I living the life I want?

The short answer, is no. The longer answer isn’t that simple…obviously.

I recently moved back to my home town because of my ability to work wherever there is wifi. I moved all my stuff back down into my parent’s basement cluttering their life with my weighty and burdensome possessions. Stuff I like to call stuff. Stuff I know I don’t need, but hold onto anyway. Why, as a people, are we tethered to goods and objects? I believe it’s because we feel like we’re made of substance when we are surrounded by substance, but it’s mock substance, not real palpable, absolute substance that stems from your passion, your desire.

Last weekend, I saw an old high school friend who I hadn’t seen in close to 15 years. She knew me a long time ago when I was…well, when I wasn’t what I am now. Which is a success story (her words!). But after I thought about it, she’s right, I am a success. In my early twenties after the whole “rock star” dream didn’t come to fruition, I went into somewhat of a downward spiral, drinking a lot, and feeling sorry for myself.

I got my life back on track and worked in a number of different industries including sales, construction, and tech. I fell in love, then out of it. I went to college, didn’t graduate, but I went and learned. Wandered until I found a place I thought I belonged. I like being in Providence, the city is ripe with authenticity, she’s quirky and cool, and walking down Westminster will always cheer me up.

Today, I am on my way to Austin for a tech conference (WOOConference to be exact!) and I’m really looking forward to it! I love events. I like my job, a lot! I make good money, I can work anywhere, I’ve met amazing people over the last few years, and for those of you who know me from the old days – I am definitely a success story. But I’m not so sure I feel like one—and here’s why:

  1. Work – I work an obscene amount of hours. On average I work about 65-70 hours per week. Which, in this day in age, is getting to be the norm. And when I’m done with my day, my head aches and all I want to do is veg.
  2. Stress – the amount of stress you incur working for a fast-paced tech company is demanding. It’s in the air, it’s always there. I’ve learned to recognize it and deal with it, but it can still be hard.
  3. Always on – this means that being in sales at a global tech company you are always on. I go to events a lot (which is cool), but I’m always on. Always talking with someone, always getting an answer for someone, emailing, texting, skyping, slacking, and on and on.
  4. Time – it flies by, literally so fast and I can never get that time back. Which saddens me, I used to be good at time management when my time wasn’t so limited (lol!), but now that my time is spread thin, I need to rework where I allocate my time. This is the world’s (and your life’s) greatest commodity.
  5. Sleep – I’ll wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I sent that email or signed a proposal. My brain operates 24/7 and that’s just a part of the job.

But I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, believe me, I am not. Because here are all the pro’s of being successful.

  1. Accomplishment – I feel really good about myself. I look at the things I’ve learned in a short amount of time and I’m amazed. The fact that my brain has the capacity to compute all this shit is pretty cool.
  2. Stability – ahhh..this is one I have never really had in my entire life. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived on my own before and survived in two of the toughest cities in North America, but what I have now is real stability. I have a portfolio, 401k, I think about retirement, hahaha. If you knew me, this is laughable, sincerely, and in a good way!
  3. Freedom – Because I have money now, I have more freedom. And we all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can alleviate some of the issues you’re facing and it’s nice to not have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore.
  4. Networking – I meet a lot of people. People on the entire spectrum from CEO’s to sales guys, to strategist to founders. I’ve made friends and I have mentors.
  5. Reputation – I’ve done pretty well in my career so far and have gained a reputation as a solid, truthful biz dev guy. This means a lot to me because I have principles and like to know that they’re noticed.

So, you take the good with the bad. When I worked construction, my body ached, I was dirty and smelled pretty bad when I got home, but I had time to play my guitar, I had time to hang out with my friends. Now, things are limited. However, lately I’ve been taking 10 minute breaks throughout the day to get in a small jam session, it feels incredible!

But where do we go from here? My sister wants to start a business and I’m down for that, but where am I going to find the time? I really have to budget more time to getting the things I want to do done. And that’s the hard part. Do  I get less sleep? Maybe, but I’ll be honest, I don’t get that much sleep anyway!

So, are we at the mercy of the tides?

I don’t know, I think I am right now, but every single day I get a little better at allocating my time, for me. Not allowing nonsense to fill up in my reserves and run on empty. Balance the workload with the lifeload. Because, honestly, I want more. I deserve more, like we all do. Whether that means to be my own boss, or just play solo acoustic shows on the Connecticut shoreline once a month, I’m not sure. But I do know that if I don’t get behind the wheel of the ship, I won’t be able to steer it in the direction I need to go. The direction I want and have to go in. It’s the way to my life, that thing I’ll look back on and call extraordinary.

 

Morning time, theListserve, Work, and Dan Rather

August 7, 2015
Comments Off on Morning time, theListserve, Work, and Dan Rather

As I sit here listening to alt-j (Nara is an awesome song), it’s early in the morning and I’m the only one in the office. I like this time, mostly to talk to myself about upcoming presentations or how to articulate our value a little better when I talk to prospects. But I love this time too, morning time. It’s quiet, except for the music, but it’s peaceful. There’s a calm about me and I can’t express into words the feeling that just sweeps over me sometimes, I feel connected, loved even.

I joined a community called thelistserve, it’s kinda like the lottery. But instead of winning money, you win an email, one email. And you can say whatever you want, you just can’t link to anything in the email. It goes out to the 30,000 people who are a part of this community. All the emails I’ve read from others have been extremely positive. People looking to help others, either through what they do or who they are. A personal tragedy brought to light, a haiku style rant, a plug about your company or music, it’s a really cool community. If anyone wants to be a part of a growing community, join up and maybe one day you’ll be able to send an email to all the people on the Listserve.

Balance is everything

I also wanted to touch on work (I know, I know). I haven’t posted anything in a really long time and I’m sorry, I’ve been super duper busy! It’s an ongoing battle to consistently get my work done, but still save time for myself and doing the things that I want to do. I am losing this battle, work has been winning. And maybe as I put this down on paper (or a WYSIWYG) I’ll hold myself to keeping myself in check. I need that balance, we all do. Or at the end of our lives, we’ll look back and weep for not doing the things we wanted to do. Now, I’m all for learning new things at your job/career, but you have to sprinkle in “fun” time. It’s the only way to continue to do what you/we do, and do it well.

Go do something fun, NOW!!!!

Find the time to be weird

I’m weird, super weird, and those who know me, know that. I’m human and I’m weird…..that’s okay, trust me, it is OK!! We all have our quirks, embrace them. So what if I talk to myself. People around the office know this about me and they’re cool with it. They might laugh behind my back, but that’s ok. If you like to eat peanut butter and egg salad sandwiches, eat up. If you’re a secret Rebecca Black lover, sing that shit at the top of your lungs. If you have a natural aptitude for krumping, thug out! It’s okay, seriously, we’ll like you more! Weirdness is ——- COOL

Embrace it and own it!!

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Now for one final note, ever since I’ve been a part of the listserve, I’ve felt connected again to something bigger. I was born and raised Catholic (and yes, I’m still recovering from that), but when I was a kid I prayed all the time. To me, God was Dan Rather in a white robe standing in the clouds looking down on me, and I prayed to him. Somewhere in high school I lost my faith, did some stupid things (that teenagers do) and didn’t think about religion for years. Coming full circle, I have found my faith again, but I don’t believe in God in the traditional sense, I believe in connection to all other living things, that’s God. This is why I’m able to empathize and feel someone’s pain or suffering. This is why when a stranger is wildly laughing walking down the street, I laugh too. And why tragedies (like the recent airplane crashes) greatly affect me and my state of being, I cry because their loss, is my loss, it’s our loss, because we are all together. And that’s good, it’s great in fact, for we are here together, and for generations to come, we will always be connected to them. We feel what everyone feels and I’ve seen more and more acts of kindness and good for me not to believe there’s something bigger.

My view this morning:

It’s a cloudy day, but it’s beautiful. The possibilities today are endless for me, and for you, for us!! Let’s make today special, maybe we’ll meet each other on the train, or see each other sitting in a coffeeshop. If that happens, say hello, I won’t hesitate to ask how your special day is going. Just think, something miraculous is going to happen to YOU today, something great and wonderful and unexpected. But make sure your eyes are opened, because it can happen in the blink of an eye. Remember, if it happens to you, it happens to me and I’ll cherish that moment we share together!

Everyone, have a wonderful day, it’s only the beginning and wherever you are – there’s the entry point.

As I sit here on a Saturday morning totally neglecting my life/fun/relationships/and other commitments, it makes sense to quickly talk about work/life balance, of which I have none of!!

Life

Ok, so this is pretty straightforward, right? You should only be working 40 hours (yeah, right) a week, or so that’s what the American government says is fair. Which, I do work 40 hours a week, I just also tack on about another 20 or so hours for events, and meetups, traveling from office to office. I enjoy it, but others in my life tell me it’s always going to be like that unless you find a balance. So, I’m trying to find a balance. And how do I do that? I go back to why I first got into this tech game, to code. I’m starting to learn the command line once again! I haven’t had much time to continue to code ever since my job took ahold of me. But what I’ve learned over the last few years is that I like being in front of my computer. I have a number of digital properties that need my attention and require that I spend some time on it. My idea of adventure (nowadays) is learning, that’s my exploration!

Work

This is where it gets tricky. You want to perform, you want to make things happen for the company you work for, but where do you draw the line between what you do for them and what you do for yourself? I think this answer is pretty simple. When you’re on the clock, you’re on the clock. That time is what you’re getting paid for and for 40 hours a week, it belongs to your company. The other time spent working is not only for your company, but also for you. Network with other companies, get a sense of what’s out there and how you could fit into the landscape as a whole. Think about your career and not your job. Don’t think about that next promotion or title you could get, think about what makes you really happy and healthy in a work environment. Is it running around all over the place and talking with people to try and sell them your company or is it sitting behind a computer and conquering the world of programming languages. What do you want to do??

You

This is where you should focus your time. Do things that further and better your own life. Because in all honesty, life is about you, your life. Not anyone else’s. Not your family’s, not your company’s – yours, and yours alone! At the end of the day, at the end of your life, you’ll look back and thank yourself for following the path you wanted to. Not what someone else wanted you to follow. Be bold, be brave, be you!