Developing Perspective

#70: The Importance of Rest


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note in iOS development, Apple, and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:09   an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number 70, and today

00:00:13   is Thursday, August 2nd. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:17   get started. First, if you're a long time listener, you would have noticed that the

00:00:22   previous episode to this one was somewhat out of the ordinary. And like I mentioned

00:00:27   on the previous regular Developing Perspective episode.

00:00:29   It's a new series that I'm launching and starting

00:00:32   where I interview interesting developers in the community,

00:00:35   people who have been around the block, made a lot of mistakes,

00:00:39   and hopefully can share those experiences

00:00:41   and help us all to learn from that in a constructive way.

00:00:44   And so my first one was with Matthew Bischoff.

00:00:47   And I highly recommend you give it a try, give it a listen.

00:00:51   Like I said, it's a different flavor and style of show

00:00:54   than the normal Developing Perspectives,

00:00:56   which are 15 minutes, typically one small topic, just me talking.

00:01:00   So maybe it's not your thing, but hopefully it is.

00:01:02   Hopefully it's interesting.

00:01:03   Definitely check that out.

00:01:04   And I wanted to also just as a call for comments on that.

00:01:09   It's a new something new I'm trying out.

00:01:11   It's something I've never done before.

00:01:13   And so it's always helpful if you give me

00:01:14   feedback in terms of either things that you liked, things you didn't like,

00:01:19   things you could do more, whether that's technically.

00:01:21   I know there are some problems with the levels balancing between the R2

00:01:24   voices initially and things.

00:01:26   Whatever it is, just feedback is always helpful for me as I'm starting something new to be

00:01:30   able to better tweak and adjust as I go.

00:01:34   And also, I'd also be interested in if you had any suggestions.

00:01:36   I've gotten a couple coming in already, but people who you'd be interested in hearing

00:01:42   from.

00:01:43   So in terms of for me to try and line up an interview with, that kind of thing, it's always

00:01:48   to some degree it's helpful if you're like, "Hey, I would like to be on the show."

00:01:54   I'll certainly always look at those.

00:01:56   But what I'm most interested in are recommendations for people

00:01:59   you'd like to listen from.

00:02:01   Because that's an even stronger endorsement

00:02:03   than just volunteering.

00:02:05   And so that's sort of a new thing.

00:02:11   Trying it, I hope it works well.

00:02:12   And just give me some feedback through the usual means.

00:02:15   All right, a couple little things for today's show.

00:02:17   An interesting thing that I realized I never actually

00:02:20   noticed when it happened, I don't think.

00:02:22   but i've been doing developing perspective now for over a year

00:02:26   uh... that's kind of quite something considering the fact that

00:02:30   you know it started off so

00:02:32   sister experimentally at the beginning it was not something that i really

00:02:36   as knew what i was

00:02:38   getting into even or that i really had any expectations on

00:02:41   how long it would how long it would go how do you know sort of what the form

00:02:45   the showed the end

00:02:46   i'm at this point and it's kinda crazy that to me that at this point

00:02:49   this will be episode eighty one

00:02:52   in terms of individual episodes that i've done on developing perspective it's

00:02:55   number

00:02:56   uh... seventy in terms of actual like my

00:02:59   comical numbering because i had a bunch of sort of i called beta episodes at the

00:03:03   beginning

00:03:04   you know so i've been doing this for a little over a year

00:03:06   uh... that that about eighty episodes and it's kind of remarkable and it's

00:03:09   just really what i'm at the teaching to mention that

00:03:12   moreover i think all the listeners out there 'cause if i

00:03:15   if it was just me talking to myself, which I must say it was at the beginning, that got

00:03:21   old after a while. And I lost interest and didn't do it quite as often. It was only when

00:03:26   I was able to get a lot of feedback and a lot of encouragement from people who found

00:03:30   it useful. That encouragement and sort of making me feel like it was really actually

00:03:36   helping people really helped me keep at it. And so I just wanted to thank all the listeners

00:03:41   for all their support.

00:03:42   All right, and so I'm going to talk about the main topic for today's show, which is,

00:03:47   I think it's something I've mentioned a couple of times, but not in too great detail. And

00:03:52   it's very relevant for me because next week there won't be any episodes of Developing

00:03:56   Perspective. I'm going on vacation. And I'll be sort of gone and with my family for the

00:04:03   week, and so I won't be doing any episodes of the show. But more generally, I thought

00:04:07   it would be interesting to talk a little bit about REST

00:04:10   and the importance of REST as a developer in general,

00:04:14   but mostly just even as someone who's self-employed

00:04:17   or a founder of a startup or those kinds of things.

00:04:20   Because the interesting thing about being a regular,

00:04:22   as you call it, like a 9 to 5 corporate job

00:04:25   is that you, in some ways, have external things driving your REST

00:04:30   schedule.

00:04:31   Typically, you have vacation days.

00:04:33   Those vacation days often expire.

00:04:36   is you have this kind of enforced sort of rest or vacation time

00:04:43   each week-- or sorry, each year that is helpful,

00:04:46   because it puts these boundaries around what you're going to do.

00:04:49   And as you begin a year, you're making plans with your family,

00:04:52   you can kind of look at it and say, OK, well, I got three weeks of leave.

00:04:56   Let's make sure I take that.

00:04:58   Whereas if you're independent, you don't have that benefit.

00:05:02   You could take as much time off as you want to some degree,

00:05:07   or you could take as little time off as you want.

00:05:10   And you have infinite and zero leave at the same time.

00:05:13   And that's really difficult. And it's something

00:05:15   that I certainly struggle with.

00:05:16   And I know it's a weird thing that I probably--

00:05:20   I don't think I take as much vacation as I'd like,

00:05:22   as maybe I should sometimes.

00:05:24   I certainly take vacation.

00:05:26   I have a couple of big-- I take off major holidays typically,

00:05:30   but not always.

00:05:30   I certainly don't take off.

00:05:31   Often I'll work on days like President's Day or Martin

00:05:34   Luther King or any of these kind of minor federal holidays.

00:05:39   I often will just work because it doesn't really--

00:05:42   my schedule isn't confined by that in a useful way.

00:05:45   I have a friend who works in the stock market industry.

00:05:49   And for him, it's like if the markets are closed,

00:05:52   there's no work to do.

00:05:54   And so whenever the market's closed, he has a day off.

00:05:56   And that's great.

00:05:57   But being a software engineer, being an iOS engineer,

00:05:59   There's really nothing that is external that drives my--

00:06:05   that's my schedule in that kind of way.

00:06:07   And so it's kind of a funny thing.

00:06:08   I can take it off as much as I want.

00:06:11   And I think as I've been doing this more and more,

00:06:14   I think I've been more and more understanding

00:06:16   of the importance of having rest as an important variable

00:06:22   to optimize in my day, or in my week, or in my year.

00:06:27   It's easy to just sort of keep plowing into something

00:06:30   and keep working and working in some ways to your own detriment,

00:06:34   to the detriment of your work.

00:06:36   That if you feel like you can never stop, you're always working,

00:06:40   if you're always constantly working on things,

00:06:42   I think overall, after a while, you'll lose perspective.

00:06:46   You'll stop thinking of new and interesting ideas,

00:06:49   and you'll probably form a lot of bad habits.

00:06:51   And this is something I've seen in myself.

00:06:53   And so on the small level, what I found is really helpful

00:06:55   is to make sure you keep a very regular schedule.

00:06:59   I mean, especially now that I have children, but even before that,

00:07:02   there's something very strongly motivating

00:07:07   about keeping a regular schedule, both in terms of saying,

00:07:10   I'm only going to work so many hours a day, whatever it is.

00:07:13   I typically work 9 to 5.

00:07:14   And I work 9 to 5 because that works well for my family.

00:07:17   But whatever that is, whatever would work well for you is fine.

00:07:21   But I think it's important that there is some kind of thing there.

00:07:23   There is some kind of rest, that there is

00:07:25   some kind of sort of split between your work time

00:07:31   and your non-work time.

00:07:33   And your non-work time can be all manner of things.

00:07:35   But it's actually something that's very important,

00:07:38   that you say, this is the time when I'm not working.

00:07:41   And you really try not to think about work, not to do work,

00:07:45   not to always be thinking about it,

00:07:48   because you're just going to wear yourself down.

00:07:50   And so it's like for a long-- now

00:07:52   that I have a retinomatopoeia probe,

00:07:54   found this to be a bigger problem for myself because before I didn't have I

00:07:59   had a big iMac at the office and I just didn't take it home so I really couldn't

00:08:02   work in a practical way I'm at home now I can take my laptop home but it's a

00:08:07   tricky question and I think I'm gonna try and not take it home very often even

00:08:12   though I could just that unless I really have something conscious that I need to

00:08:16   be working on and doing at home I'd rather just leave it at the office and

00:08:19   make sure that at the time when I'm not working I'm really not working and so

00:08:24   So when I come to the office, I'm more interested in working, I'm more engaged, and I'm excited

00:08:28   to do what I'm doing because it's special.

00:08:30   It's a, you know, I'm creating a distinction between my time.

00:08:35   And then more beyond that, I think it's good to sometimes just get, I think you really,

00:08:43   it really enhances your perspective, which I guess is appropriate given the title of

00:08:47   this podcast, you know, Developing Perspective.

00:08:49   But I think having distance from your work really helps with generating and engendering

00:08:54   that sort of a good perspective on what your work is and what you're doing.

00:08:59   It's kind of that difference of if you're inside of a maze, for example, and if you

00:09:03   imagine one of those classic sort of green, hedgy mazes, it's like if you're in the middle

00:09:08   of that, it's very difficult to know where to go next.

00:09:12   If you're in a helicopter 100 feet above it looking down, it's very easy to know where

00:09:16   to go next.

00:09:17   And that perspective and that insight and wisdom that you can build, I think is very

00:09:23   heavily related to having time away from it, that you can sort of be outside of your problems

00:09:29   and looking at them from the outside.

00:09:31   And you can be thinking about them at a higher level, and you're not so stuck in the weeds.

00:09:36   You're not so just stuck there and being like, "Oh, this is my next task.

00:09:42   This is my next task.

00:09:43   This is my next task."

00:09:44   kind of going from one to one to one without looking up and really knowing, are you heading

00:09:48   in the right direction? You know, it's like the, you know, it's like you're making all

00:09:53   these tiny little decisions that could actually be really driving you off course, even though

00:09:58   to start with you seem to be heading in the right direction. And so it's important to

00:10:01   kind of pull back from that. And even things like bad habits, it's having a break from

00:10:07   something, you'll know you potentially notice bad habits or things that you started doing

00:10:11   that maybe you shouldn't.

00:10:12   Maybe you're bored at work or you're not

00:10:16   excited about what you're doing.

00:10:17   And so you're spending way too much time

00:10:19   on Twitter or on Facebook or Hacker News

00:10:22   or whatever it is for you.

00:10:24   And you're filling in that time in a way that's not productive.

00:10:29   But because you're just sort of constantly still doing it

00:10:32   over and over and over again, you're

00:10:33   not giving yourself the opportunity

00:10:34   to kind of have that break, you may not realize that.

00:10:37   You may not be able to see how your habits and patterns are

00:10:41   developing or how they've changed.

00:10:43   And so it's important to take a step back.

00:10:44   And so like I said, next week I'll be going on vacation,

00:10:46   going to the beach.

00:10:48   I'll be bringing along my computer, probably, primarily

00:10:51   just because the nature of being an independent is that

00:10:55   I'm always working to some degree, just in that I have

00:10:58   servers that I maintain.

00:10:59   And if things go wrong and I get my uptime monitoring alert

00:11:04   that says, hey, your main server's down, I really do

00:11:07   need to make sure that I can fix that and make it work.

00:11:09   But I don't expect to open Xcode.

00:11:13   I've done coding on vacations in the past,

00:11:15   but typically that was before-- typically what

00:11:18   I've done that is when I'm learning a new technology,

00:11:21   sometimes it's actually fun to do that.

00:11:22   I think this year, though, it's not something I'm going to do.

00:11:25   And I think if I'm doing any work-related things,

00:11:27   it'll be like reading books related to what I do,

00:11:29   but not necessarily directly.

00:11:31   So for example, I've been meaning for a long time

00:11:33   to really get into Being Geek by my Michael Lopp, this book

00:11:37   that I've gotten through the first four or five

00:11:39   chapters a couple of times, but I never quite had the time to read it.

00:11:42   So I'm looking forward to diving into that

00:11:45   and hopefully doing things that will enhance my mind and my skills,

00:11:50   but not necessarily working.

00:11:51   So it's really a nice break.

00:11:53   But when I come back and I open Xcode, it feels fresh.

00:11:55   It feels interesting.

00:11:56   And hopefully that helps me to be a better developer.

00:12:00   And it's just something that I'd encourage everybody

00:12:02   to make sure they're doing.

00:12:03   It's a dangerous trap if you're an independent,

00:12:05   to get sucked into always working that you're you always have your laptop with

00:12:09   you. No matter where you go, you're going on vacation with the families a long

00:12:12   weekend here. And you're like, Oh, let me you know, I got got a couple of hours to

00:12:16   kill. Okay, I'll work on the next feature. That's a dangerous place to find

00:12:20   yourself. I think you're just you're ultimately doing yourself a disservice

00:12:24   and in the long run, even though in short term, it may feel like you're not.

00:12:28   Anyway, that's it for today's show. As I said, I won't be here next week. So the

00:12:33   next episode will be August 14th will be my next episode. Like I said at the beginning,

00:12:41   if you have comments or thoughts about the new interview series that I'm doing on Developing

00:12:46   Perspective, I'd love to hear those. If you have people who you'd be really interested

00:12:49   in hearing from, I'd love to hear that feedback as well. It's always the best place to contact

00:12:54   me if you have questions, comments, concerns. It's probably on Twitter. I'm @_davidsmith

00:12:58   there. Or if you go to the About page on the podcast developing perspective.com, you can

00:13:04   see an email address there that you can reach me at if you prefer that method. And otherwise,

00:13:09   I hope you guys have a good couple of weeks. Hopefully you can get some vacation, get some

00:13:13   rest at the same time. And I will talk to you then. And between now and then, happy

00:13:17   coding. Bye.

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