Happy New Year everyone! I wish you a prosperous 2016, health (both physical and mental) on top of your priorities list, spending more time achieving great results while familiarizing yourself better with your inner “you”.
I’ve been fairly busy over the past couple of months with my trip to NYC and WordCamp US, meeting a good number of incredible people in the WordPress world, discussing code, community, translations, business management, team growth, server scalability, team happiness and all sorts of essential day-to-day problems with people who brainstorm on these as much as I do. We’ve also launched a project or two and work with some incredible talent on our end, and some outstanding clients, partners and friends – building new SaaS solutions, growing and scaling media websites, improving user experience and performance, managing marketing campaigns, restructuring our workflow, renting an additional office space that is yet to be arranged and so much more.
I like to keep myself busy and I’ve worked restlessly on optimizing our processes, improving our combined team work efforts, and entering new spaces. While DevriX is doing fairly good as we speak with 20 people on staff, we are executing our 2016 plan now with more to come over the next months.
The development efforts at WordPress in 2015 brought mixed feelings for me, but I’m excited about what’s coming this year. WordCamp US was enlightening, with a number of pleasant surprises (for me, personally) by the core leadership team, Matt and his “State of the Word” talk, the incredible leadership for 4.4 by Scott and the line up for 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7. I’m genuinely excited and spend a chunk of my time on R&D, bending WordPress, playing with different DB engines connected to Core, exploring machine learning opportunities for WordPress plugins and add-ons, digging more into the REST API and React.
Two of the reasons I’ve been quiet over the last month are my energy levels (being exhausted due to travels, meeting people, tons of work and the winter weather) and my R&D phase where I explore and experiment (as compared to sharing years of “crash and burn” in my posts). However, the feedback for DevWP that I’ve been receiving lately is mindblowing, which is also what forced me to write that quick welcome post now. I do appreciate every bit of feedback and every question I’ve received from everyone here, and would continue to invest energy and time in helping fellow entrepreneurs, developers, business owners, WordPress contributors and folks that want to get better, learn more, optimize their processes, give back, work hard and achieve greatness without burning out big time – which is a feeling that many of us have gone through over the years and know how devastating it may be.
In order to end with some food for thought (rather than a “dear diary” type of confession), I’d ask you to think about two things if your New Year’s resolution includes a lot of heavy lifting and trying to bend your limits.
- Hard work is not necessarily bad. I don’t advise you to work long and hard if you don’t feel like it, but making a difference (which may mean anything depending on where you are and what you are looking for) takes a great amount of time, energy, and resources. I’ve been putting 60+ hours a week for years, with months of 80h/week whenever needed. While conferences are mostly fun and parties for many, I regularly have to disappear for a couple of hours for a call or a deploy, wake up early in the morning and stay late at night in order to work on my backlog, and spend my time on flights planning or drawing mind maps, filling in spreadsheets or debugging some code. It’s all about your motivation and your goal, keeping your health and sanity in check, and learning what works best for you.
- Burnout is bad. Really bad. And you should avoid it by all means necessarily. Experiment with different sleeping regimes, change your food habits, take more liquids on a daily basis, go to yoga or a gym – different things work for everyone, but health and mental issues are the main gateways to burning out for a very long time – being weeks or many months for some. Never forget that a 10-minute stretching at the office, a quick 20-minute nap or even driving to a coffice nearby may have a drastic impact on your brain activity and your blood flow. And even if you happen to be burned out for a reason and need to rest for some time, make the best out of your time and remember it next time you’re on a spree. As an author of an MBA book once wrote (quoting by memory): “Having burned out before, now I can work hard and I know where my limits are, what the side effects may be and when things are close to a burnout state – which allows me to control my energy and work without crossing the line anymore”.
Both things are extremely challenging and are not recommended in general. But people run startups anyway, or build side projects after business hours, juggle with clients in their freelance business or try to grow a company – knowing all that’s at stake. If you happen to be in that situation in 2016, write down your definition of “hard work” and don’t mistake it with “smart work” – both may be complimentary, but working smart is goal number one, and putting the hours should always support that. Monitor your health on a daily basis and see what works best for you without crossing lines.
Let’s meet again at the end of 2016 and share some great and memorable experiences over the coming months!