Work-Life Balance

What does it mean?
Wikipedia defines it as the balance between career/ambition and other aspects of our personal life like health, pleasure, personal development and spiritual, family, etc.
For the past months I feel like it has been all work and no play and we all know that makes Jack a dull boy.
Going forward I feel I must be more strict with work goals and schedule to allow more time for myself, time to think, time to refuel and just have fun.
After all, every passing minute is a miracle and a mystery that we tend to easily forget.

WordPress Orderby rand not working

If you’re working with the orderby parameter in get_posts/WP_Query to ‘rand’ beware of this report:

“I was developing a site on WP Engine. They actually disable the Orderby Rand Function. If you happen to be using WP Engine, in the dashboard area they put in the WP Admin go there scroll down and make sure the Orderby Rand function is not disabled. You would not believe what I went through before I deduced that it was the host causing the problem.”

Feelings we experience vs what we really are

Knowing yourself is the greatest ecstasy in the world.” – Osho Rajneesh

Back in 2012 I came across the concept of enneagram of personality by attending a session with Gonçalo Eiró. I’ve since learned a bit more about this tool for self-knowledge and one of the things that is encouraged is that we keep a record of our feelings and emotions throughout several days or months in an attempt (or pursuit) of finding patterns and providing evidence for ourselves of where we live internally. You can think of it as an emotional diary log (or journal).

I’ve been writing on my emotional diary log since January 2013 until know (some months on and off) and I must say it’s quite valuable to be able to review my internal state in such a detailed structure.

The way I’ve structured it is:

Date / What I’m feeling / Why? / In the light of enneagram

Date – the date of the entry log
What I’m feeling – how I’m feeling at the moment
Why – the reasons why I’m feeling that way (to the best of my knowledge)
In the light of enneagram – how does this relate to my personality type (according to the enneagram)

Today I decided to share some of my findings after two years of keeping an emotional diary. What have I found?

Top negative feelings of 2014: anxious, bored, stressed, worried, demotivated, blocked, tired, sleepy, feeling like I’m about to go crazy, overwhelmed, lazy, sick, incapable, raged, disturbed, sad, revolted, disappointed, pissed off, hurt, confused

Top positive feelings of 2014: happy, well and relaxed, challenged, well

After a while of keeping the emotional diary log I’ve also started noticing patterns that usually resulted in certain feelings. I’ve noticed and took note of some positive and negative patterns I observed:

Top negative patterns of 2014:

  • Read about a competitor -> Go back to client work -> Feel sad because I’m not progressing
  • I want to Write in blog ->What should I write about? -> No idea -> Go back to client work -> Feel sad
  • Daily scrum -> I don’t know what to say -> I mumble -> I feel I’m not good enough

Top positive patterns of 2014:

  • Arrive early at work -> Do more things than I would normally do on a morning -> Feel productive -> Feel I’m progressing
  • Think of a good idea for a blog post -> Write it on blog -> Feel good
  • Make a quick experiment -> See results -> Feel I’m progressing
  • Make a list of important outcomes to achieve during the day -> Check one by one until all or most are complete for the day -> Feel I’m progressing
  • Do an affirmation with Ana of what we want to accomplish and how we are going to achieve it first thing in the morning -> Feel inspired and happy
  • Have a difficult task that can’t be done -> Set myself to accomplish it -> Feel motivated -> Track how much time I take -> Solve it
  • Chunk things into smaller items -> Accomplish at least one of the items -> Feel progress -> Feel motivated

Noticing these patterns (especially taking conscience) and writing them down causes myself to feel I’m more experiencing these states rather than thinking “I’m like this”. It’s a bit difficult to explain but I hope you can relate somehow. It’s so easy to identify ourselves with the feelings that most of the time we assume that we must be like that! It’s the fight of “the feelings we experience vs what we really are”.

How about you? What are some of your patterns? I hope to continue discovering my patterns and deepening my knowledge of myself this year. After all knowing ourselves seems to be an infinite source of happiness, easily in reach as long as we’re brave enough to tap into it.

Doing things you like is not a waste of time

I tend to ignore doing things I like. Many times I feel it’s a complete waste of time to do things such as:

  • Playing games
  • Reading books that aren’t about business or technical
  • Going for a run / walk
  • Being with my family
  • In-line skating
  • Dating
  • Going for a coffee with a friend
  • Veg out on the sofa watching television
  • etc.

I think about these tasks as non-productive, time wasters, things that won’t help me progress towards my goal or grow my business and I conclude these must be dispensables. Some of those thoughts go along the lines of:

  • “a person of my age shouldn’t be doing that”
  • “a person with my responsibilities shouldn’t be in-line skating”
  • “playing games is a waste of time”
  • “watching TV is for people that don’t want to achieve what I want to achieve”
  • “if you want to earn as the top 1% you have to act like the top 1%”
  • “I don’t have the time”
  • “I don’t have the money”
  • etc.

This particular thought pattern has led me to avoid doing a lot of things I enjoy doing in exchange for a bunch of things I can’t remember anymore :-( Things that seemed important at the time to pursue but that didn’t produce any worthy results in the long term.

Ultimately this has led me numerous times to a place of exhaustion, apathy and boredom.

Back in the university I used to do many of the work assignments with the same partner. We worked well together but had somewhat different personalities. On the day after a deadline or an exam I would always be stressed out and wanting to work more hours, study more, do more to fight the anxiety and maybe increase my self-confidence. On the other hand my good friend would always recommended we watch a good movie, enjoy a good night of sleep and call it a day. The difference in perspectives wasn’t because he had studied more or because he wasn’t as anxious but rather because he had a different strategy. By doing something he liked (e.g. watching a movie) he allowed himself to relax and enjoy thus preserving and enhancing his abilities the next day.

You see, playing games on the Playstation is not a waste of time..
Reading a book that isn’t about business or technical is not a waste of time..

Allowing yourself to have fun, relaxing and enjoying is crucial to preserve and enhance your abilities.

My inner fight to do what I really want to do

I’ve been doing WordPress consulting for a few years now but always on the lookout for building an amazing product on the side. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do this yet.

You see, I don’t want to build just any kind of product, I want to build a high adoption SaaS. I’m fascinated by the possibilities of these kind of products because they are available from any computer, any device, any time and because developers can push new code to customers several times a day making the solution more of a service than a software.

Ever since I started hearing about startups I’ve felt compelled to pursue such a venture and whenever I try to steer from it for a few months I start to feel anxious or bored and find myself drifting away thinking that what I really should be doing is following my dream.

So why don’t I do it? What’s my excuse? I haven’t been able to find the time / discipline to work on building a product while simultaneously working on projects for clients – I’ve found this approach to be much harder than I thought initially and at least for me very unlikely to ever work (it hasn’t worked so far so it’s not likely to work in the future). I got to a point with the team where we reserved a day a week to work on it but as soon as deadlines from clients approached we gave in and lost focus.

So where do I go from where? It seems a good time for a change in strategy. I’ll have to think further about this. Working solely on building a product in the next months is a possibility. Of course at least a month or two will need to be serious research to validate the idea in the real world. Although I’ll have trouble doing that, I think I’ve at least learned that bit so far.