Thursday 2 July 2009

Taking a day a week for yourself

More and more people I speak to are coming up with the same idea — that working one day a week for yourself gives you a better balance and loads more creativity and fulfilment. I ran a session at BarCampLondon6 on exactly this topic and it's good to hear more people starting to make similar changes to their lifestyle.

Here's Matt Webb's take:

Here’s my challenge. Right now, put aside 100 hours over this summer. Do it right now, in your head. Put that time aside. 100 hours. 8 hours a week for the next 12 weeks. One hour a day, or one working day a week. It’s one summer out of your entire life, it’s nothing. Okay, you’ve got that 100 hours?

Now for the next two days, go to talks and start conversations with people you don’t know, and choose what to spend your 100 hours on.

I guarantee that everyone in this room can produce something or has some special skill, and maybe they’re not even aware of it.

Ask them what theirs is, find out, because you’ll get ideas about what to learn yourself, and decide what to spend your 100 hours on. Do that for me.

Because when you contribute, when you participatein culture, when you’re no longer solving problems, but inventing culture itself, that is when life starts getting interesting.

I moved from taking one day off every other week to one day off every week at the beginning of June and even that has made a big difference. My personal project has been learning to build apps for the iPhone -- starting with the Stanford iPhone Application Programming course and Aaron Hillegass's Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X.

Through evenings and snatched half hours on the train, I've got through most of the course and am starting to explore other areas, such as adding hamcrest and OCMock to the built-in OCUnit iPhone unit tests. I still plan to build and release my own apps as I get more of an understanding of what's possible.

So Matt, I've taken up your challenge before you even issued it and I look forward to others doing the same!