Thursday, May 27, 2010

What to do on weekends

At least, what I do on weekends in relation to software development, university and all my work-related projects and tasks. Feel free to add comments about your lifestyle and what you think of work-life balance: I think I finally found an equilibrium after all these years, without feeling guilty in my free time.

What I do on the weekend (when I have time)
When I have time because weekend is meant for resting, going out, drinking, partying... Still, you sometimes find yourself waking up at 10 AM on Sunday morning or find a free hour before going to a football game. How will this hour be spent?
I usually read books, monstly non-fiction, and articles from feed aggregator that built up until Saturday or Sunday.
I experiment sometimes, or start writing drafts for new articles. And I plan the goals and the required work for the upcoming week.

What I don't do in the weekend
I don't write code in the weekend: I know that even when I feel inspired writing code on Sunday, it would drain my energies for the subsequent week. There is a famous icon of the open source programmer that writes code in his free time, but free time shouldn't be oppressed by a todo list by definition. I schedule my contributions in the workweek, when I can establish a rhythm in my work and process also non-exciting programming tasks.
I never publish original content (something other than a link roundup) for the same reason. Brainstorming or writing a rough draft is simple when you have the inspiration and you want to capture some thoughts, but actually publishing it implies a polishing process (proofreading, formatting, editing...) that is boring to do when you're supposed to rest the mind.
A nice addition to this list now that I have embraced the Pomodoro technique: I never timebox on the weekend. This exclusion of free time from pomodoros is explicitly stated by the inventor of the technique.

As a sidenote, I never check email on purpose after a predetermined hour even in the workdays,or at least try to: now that I'm expecting feedback from eBay sellers I infringe the rule, unfortunately.
Since you wouldn't want to craft an answer to some complex question or start a new project following a late evening email, just don't check the inbox: reading such emails now will only result in worrying over the night. Having a different e-mail for work and life will be useful...

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

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