Priority, OOO & Focus
I recently stumbled upon a tweet from a VC talking about how getting an auto-reply OOO from early stage founders was a bad sign. Here’s the tweet in question :
This got me thinking about the prevailing culture of Hyper-Toxic-Productivity or whatever you want to call it. Don’t get me wrong, I struggle with fighting the urge to be “productive” all the time & have only recently, through some not-so-pleasant incidents learned the true value of rest.
I’ve started consciously incorporating rest & time for self care into my daily routine & I’ve seen my productivity go up, a lot. I’ve been taking time out to move more, making sure I get my 8-9 hours of sleep (I can make do with 7 but I feel truly well rested at 8 or 9) and making time to be with my friends & family. I’ve also committed to at least 2 holidays in a year & when COVID ruined my plans of being away during December, I forced myself to vacation at home. This meant fusing with my mattress, endless cups of hot cocoa & multiple movie marathons (I saw the Home Alone Trilogy, the entire Star Wars series & The GodFather trilogy).
This change to my routine has upped the quality of my decisions, made me think better & got me dealing with stress in a much healthier manner. I manage to do the same amount of work, but I find it easier to do, in lesser time than what it used to take me & I feel like the quality of my work is better.
The signal to others though, I imagine would be slightly different. Most people equate the quality of work & priorities with hours put in & that is problematic to say in the least. In an ideal world, the quality of the work is all that should matter & not how many hours went into producing that work. I’ve seen people do great work in 2 hours & I’ve seen people do mediocre-at-best work in 23 hours. Shouldn’t VC’s, employers or anyone really, be focussed on the quality of the work thats coming out of a person instead of cheap value signals about how hard they’re hustling?
Resting, taking care of yourself & optimising for joy in your life is not only recommended, but a necessary part of the human experience. The fact that it improves our work is just a bonus.