The Ruby Freelancers Show 044 – Passion of the Code

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Panel Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Jim Gay (twitter github blog) Evan Light (twitter github blog) Discussion 01:16 - Keeping Passion for Work Alive Happiness vs Money Maslow’s hierarchy of needs 04:14 - Making it a Craft 08:45 - Client Fit Raising Rates 10:41 - “Safety” and Satisfaction The Ruby Freelancers Show 012 – Getting Starting as a Freelancer 13:41 - Self-Actualization Community Exposure Praise 25:04 - Practice Every Day Mastery by Robert Greene 27:08 - Having Outlets 31:31 - Change & Creating New Habits Balance Tiny Habits w/ Dr. BJ Fogg The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg 38:34 - “Serious Practitioners” Picks Functional Programming for the Object-Oriented Programmer (Jim) Multitenancy with Rails by Ryan Bigg (Jim) Writer’s block and the drip: Seth Godin (Eric) Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard (Evan) Transcript EVAN: Eric, you there? ERIC: I'm chewing... EVAN: I don't believe I've heard that particular voice before... [Are you a busy Ruby developer who wants to take their freelance business to the next level? Interested in working smarter not harder? Then check out the upcoming book “Next Level Freelancing - Developer Edition Practical Steps to Work Less, Travel and Make More Money”. It includes interviews and case studies with successful freelancers, who have made a killing by expanding their consultancy, develop passive income through informational products, build successful SaaS products, and become rockstar consultants making a minimum of $200/hour. There are all kinds of practical steps on getting started and if you sign up now, you’ll get 50% off when it’s released. You can find it at nextlevelfreelancing.com][hosting and bandwidth provided by the blue box group. check them out at bluebox.net] EVAN: Hello! And welcome to the Ruby Freelancers Podcast! Today, I am hosting -- my name is Evan Light. Normally we have Chuck Wood hosting, and I have here Eric Davis. ERIC: Hi! EVAN: Eric is only somewhat conscious, so we can only ask yes or no questions. ERIC: Yes. EVAN: [laughs] And Jim Gay! JIM: Hello! EVAN: So today we decided we are going to talk about "keeping the passion for the work alive", and the tradeoffs involved in doing work we enjoy versus doing work that pays well. This came from a Skype chat that Jim and I, I guess we're getting into undecide during other Skype chats [inaudible]. And I was explaining that I value doing client work that I enjoy more than earning a buck. And Jim was pushing and pointing that, pushing out pushing back that earning a buck is really gushed or unimportant. JIM: Yeah I think we're both kind of agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. When we were talking earlier before we started recording the show, I was thinking of Maslow's hierarchy of needs which -- if people aren't familiar with that, basically on the lowest level of hierarchy it's like "can you survive?" Are you eating? ERIC: The reap of your head? JIM: Yeah, exactly. That type of thing. And then higher up the scale is like the top self-actualization; being pleased with who you are. And I think as long as you've got enough income coming in that you can pay for your house and feed your family and things like that, then you can start going up the path that's like figuring out "okay do I actually care about the work that I'm doing?" EVAN: But there's also -- Well, yeah, okay so potentially there's (I don't know if this is a matter of potentially -- I really need to complete this sentence though), there's the boundaries where we perceived to those boundaries to be in Maslow's hierarchy. I mean this is something -- Maslow's hierarchy: self to something like consider a lot, but the question of where you perceived those boundaries to be might different from person to person. The physiological,

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EVAN: Eric, you there? ERIC : I'm chewing... EVAN: I don't believe I've heard that particular voice before...  [Are you a busy Ruby developer who wants to take their freelance business to the next level? Interested in working smarter not harder? Then check out the upcoming book “Next Level Freelancing - Developer Edition Practical Steps to Work Less, Travel and Make More Money”. It includes interviews and case studies with successful freelancers, who have made a killing by expanding their consultancy, develop passive income through informational products, build successful SaaS products, and become rockstar consultants making a minimum of $200/hour. There are all kinds of practical steps on getting started and if you sign up now, you’ll get 50% off when it’s released. You can find it at nextlevelfreelancing.com] [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net] EVAN: Hello! And welcome to the Ruby Freelancers Podcast! Today, I am hosting -- my name is Evan Light. Normally we have Chuck Wood hosting, and I have here Eric Davis. ERIC: Hi! EVAN:  Eric is only somewhat conscious, so we can only ask yes or no questions. ERIC: Yes. EVAN: [laughs] And Jim Gay! JIM: Hello! EVAN: So today we decided we are going to talk about "keeping the passion for the work alive", and the tradeoffs involved in doing work we enjoy versus doing work that pays well. This came from a Skype chat that Jim and I, I guess we're getting into undecide during other Skype chats [inaudible]. And I was explaining that I value doing client work that I enjoy more than earning a buck. And Jim was pushing and pointing that, pushing out pushing back that earning a buck is really gushed or unimportant. JIM: Yeah I think we're both kind of agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. When we were talking earlier before we started recording the show, I was thinking of Maslow's hierarchy of needs which -- if people aren't familiar with that, basically on the lowest level of hierarchy it's like "can you survive?" Are you eating? ERIC: The reap of your head? JIM: Yeah, exactly. That type of thing. And then higher up the scale is like the top self-actualization; being pleased with who you are. And I think as long as you've got enough income coming in that you can pay for your house and feed your family and things like that, then you can start going up the path that's like figuring out "okay do I actually care about the work that I'm doing?" EVAN: But there's also -- Well, yeah, okay so potentially there's (I don't know if this is a matter of potentially -- I really need to complete this sentence though), there's the boundaries where we perceived to those boundaries to be in Maslow's hierarchy. I mean this is something -- Maslow's hierarchy: self to something like consider a lot, but the question of where you perceived those boundaries to be might different from person to person. The physiological, well that one's kind of straight forward. But even safety, I'm looking at the pyramid right now, safety which is the second level up is a debatable one. Because we have -- we struggle with that need in United States all the time, where do you -- when do you consider yourself safe? Right? Because we have the TSA? JIM: Yeah that's -- I recently met somebody from Australia when I was at the Ruby Conf, and he was telling me he had apprehension about coming to the States because it was so unsafe, and I was like "Really?" And then after he said that, I started noticing like just how unsafe it is, like all the terrible things that happen and maybe -- I wonder "maybe I should move to a new country". EVAN: Yeah, that's a whole different topic and one I would love to explore because... [Jim laughs] EVAN:...in the past few years...Yeah, maybe that should be a topic [laughs]. Where to move to when the crazy Republicans get elected -- Oh, sorry I went there...Right, and Jim didn't laugh at that one [whispers]. So I guess more back on point, to some extent I think it's important to acknowledge this tends to be, at least maybe for those who also in the podcast, maybe more of a first world problem. We don't have, at least right now, we don't have much of a problem getting work that is you're getting paying work to matter of "do we want to be freelancers or do we wanna be fulltime" because you can always sacrifice some freedom and go fulltime to get the so called security of having the job. Or maybe [inaudible] you're getting a job where you might enjoy the tactical work more, but you would have to work with more constraints. Or do you hold out for a freelancing gig where the work aligns more with your values? Or do you just accept something because you want the money? JIM: Yeah for me, like I think a lot about "if I can make something a craft" -- I don't know if I told this story on this podcast before, but anytime I come into a conversation like this, I tell exact same story where I was a -- during summer break between semesters at college was painting and painting houses. My first day, we were just -- I really wasn't excited about it at all and I was just slapping paint with the paintbrush on the side of the house and there was another painter there who was a "pro". And so he was near me doing the windows and he was doing it really really well. And he just looked over me and said "You know, no matter what you do if you make it a craft, you can enjoy it". And I think I tried to do that with, especially if I'm really unhappy with something, I try to take a step back and think like "How can I make something about this enjoyable? How can I take some piece of it and make it a craft?" EVAN: And I guess that's why (I have to pause and contemplate this a little more)...I've done that for myself already not -- I mean I enjoy my career, but I enjoy it because I put effort into making myself better at it. And this goes back to a particular quotation we're saying that I think I've used to this podcast before. But the Ancient Greek definition of happiness being "Happiness is the exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope", at least that's how they would see or some of them would see it. And "excellence and the exercise of vital powers" being doing something, well, somehow important to you and were key to your life. "Along lines of excellence", something that you're very good at. "In a life affording them scope", were you are able to do what you're good at unimpeded essentially. So if you're not going to program then, well, it's going to be hard to become a crafts person because you have to get some point where you could feel good about your skill in order to want to exercise it more. And then you have to be the environment where you can. And for me, that's where I get hang up on some of my contracts. Because for me, one thing I feel like I'm very good at is cleaning up -- I should say editing. I like taking existing things and making them better. It's not just code, but I tend to do it a lot more with code. JIM: I see like I think about, in terms of making things better, like even if there's something I don't really wanna do. And as freelancers, we have to deal with it. It's not just going to work and programming, but you have to deal with the client and you have to have conversations. I think about how can I make those better; how can I focus on the conversation that I'm having with the client and making sure we're clear and setting expectations, those types of things. And so we started kind of getting off on a point about passion and we're not sort of just talking about (I don't know) something tangentially related to it. I don't really know! I think I just do my best to slow down. EVAN: When I was talking about passion, that I can't tell if this is Skype again being have to Plex or faulty Plex. This is one of the reasons I don't like Skype sometimes. Or if you will just at all ignore me, I'm just talking anyway. JIM: Yeah I think it's the problem with Skype. Everytime I turn my mic on, I can't hear you but I can hear Eric EVAN: Excuse. But, no. I believe you. That actually sound unintentional. I've had a problem with Skype where the -- you're on OS10 aren't you, Jim? This is complete sentence.. JIM: Yeah, I am. EVAN: So am I. Yes, well I was going to talk about where I've ended up leaving clients because they start having me in and preventing me from doing what I do well that they instead would want me to do things where I don't feel like I'm as capable and I can't contribute as much. And therefore I don't feel as good about the work, where they're making business decisions that they can't justify to me and therefore I'm doing work that I don't feel as valuable. So I guess both of them really are scope of problems where the clients changes the scope or the scope changes overtime such that I no longer perceived myself to be a good fit for a client. And I turn down clients also where I just don't perceived myself to be a good fit or I don't feel like I can add as much value even if they would have me. JIM: Yeah I am -- like when I think back on projects where I've been stressed out, often projects where I wasn't paid as much. And overtime as I raise my rates, I became less concerned about my immediate needs for paying bills and what not. And I felt like I was better able to concentrate on being passionate about something in particular. I think maybe I just sort of took things and thought about them more and I'd go sleep over stresses from a job or particular client when I wasn't being paid enough. And once I started trying to raise my rate and that changed. EVAN: Is being paid enough in this context that you don't feel like you're earning enough to take care of your family? Or, take the cut to the chase, or is it more of your ego is not satisfied? And I don't mean that in insulting fashion, but in a true sense if your ego is not satisfied because you feel like they're being cheap and they're not paying you what you worth. JIM: No, it was never ego for me, I think it was more less that. I wasn't at least at the time, and this was years ago, but I wasn't keeping track of my finances as well as I should have. And so when you're not doing that, you don't have a good insight into like how you manage your business and your money and your personal accounts. You realized all of a sudden your car breaks down and you've gotta pay for something and you look at your bank account and you're like "Crap! This couldn't take me forever to rebuild that!" EVAN: Yeah it's interesting. So in that case, that really does come right back to Maslow doesn't it? Because that's all about safety. You don't have that net that you feel like you need in order for you and your family to be safe. Therefore, you're not satisfied and you need something to change. JIM: Yeah, definitely. And even when I've hurted by some people and given advice from people to people about starting freelancing, it's always "decide the date that you're going to start doing it". And from here until then, start saving as much as you possibly can because you're going to need that, unless you have somebody ready to immediately sign a contract with you. You're going to need some sort of backup plan. EVAN: We did an episode pretty much about that sort of thing..."Going Into Freelancing". I wanna say that was a few months ago, but not having enough money or not having the money to feel safe is just a huge sort of stress. And that's something that I advice people who have consulted with me about becoming freelancers early on to do as well. I think...I wonder if it, maybe it's just me maybe I'm just sort of thicky but, because I haven't had much of a problem maintaining the safety net, that is I've been able to get work generally when I wanted and I've keep running in the bank, that I generally feel like I'm higher up on the pyramid that I've achieved the safety. So I'm looking for esteem and self-actualization in my work most of the time. Great at paying the bills is important, too. JIM: Yeah I think it's definitely a spectrum. I mean looking for something that pays the bills that would give you a pack toward that self-actualization where just proud of your work and you feel good about it and you don't worry about the money side, might be tough at first. But overtime as you try to find the next project, thinking about "will this be ultimately a better customer for me if I take this next project on?" will be good. Like I'm working on a project where a brand new developer is brought on. He's been studying Ruby for the last 6 months+ and this is his first contract where he's (diving into it) he's super happy. I don't know what he's getting paid, but I don't think it's that much. He's brought on as a junior developer, but he's really excited about it and he's going for it. But he also has, as far as I know, a safetey net. So -- EVAN: Yeah. So Eric, what do you think of all this? ERIC: Well I mean, I've been listening to you guys and if I remember how the hierarchy of needs works on the scenes it's -- stuff changes based on circumstances like it's no hard to find thing even for a person. And so I'm thinking like in my case having my first daughter, I might have been way of a safety because we have a safety net as savings and whole bunch of other stuffs, but after she's born I wanted to build up more savings and have a little bit of a extra cushion there. One thing I've been kind of thinking about though just as in you choose, when does this change, I mean at point in your life do you feel like "Okay I'm getting self-actualization from writing code" but when does that change to something else? And you're having like an interest change? JIM: That's a good question. Evan might have some comment on this as well, like I was writing Ruby code and doing Rail stuff pre-cautionally before I got involved with any of the Ruby groups in the area or so in going conferences. But once I started getting involved with other groups and going to conferences and then speaking at conferences, I had sort of a new perspective on things and realized that there's a lot that I could teach people and there's a lot that I could learn. And so it kind of started going beyond just to my idea they work but making it part of my lifestyle. And a lot of people say "don't choose a job because you'll get paid well; choose a job that you actually enjoy and you want to be part of your life". EVAN: Did that come true when I shouted yes? [laughter] JIM: No, it didn't. But I'm glad you did. EVAN: (Great god dark Skype!) Yes, well actually I barely came through on my side on my recording, but probably not on Eric [laughs] JIM: Yeah I'll just sound like I'm completely ignoring you for the entire podcast. ERIC: That's different hell... EVAN: Yeah. [laughter] EVAN: He was saying, and probably it didn't get recorded on Eric side because of Skype again. [sigh] Skype...So yeah I guess I could talk about that two different ways, right? When I got into Ruby, I very quickly got involved in going to the conferences because I found that going to the conferences exposed me to a lot of ideas to get me long lists of things to go research. I didn't come either to gimp judging by the number of years you can (do) programming, but I didn't come to Ruby as new programmer by any means. So it's just a matter of getting exposed to all the idioms and all the tools that are unique to Ruby, by which the idioms are really the most interesting parts of it. But the community I guess inspired me in more to do work that I like rather than just trying to use Ruby where I am or was at the time which was government contracting, and I couldn't stand it. But I guess my priority haven't changed a lot though because my wife's health has been getting progressively worst granted. But I knew my wife -- I met my wife shortly, I guess a year before maybe a year and a half before I got into Ruby. So her well-being, her health and her long-term healthcare has always been some kind of factor. JIM: Yeah I think -- I'm really curious about how your decisions affect that because as your wife's health deteriorates, it's not just, and I wouldn't think if it were me it wouldn't just be the work that I was happy with, but it would be involvement in the community. You've gone to a lot of different conferences and spoken, you've got friends all over the world. Because of it, because you've met these people, and so you have this greater community of people. Ultimately it comes down to just to friendships so when times are tough, and that lowest level of the hierarchy is in jeopardy in some manner then it's good to be well connected with people rather than just getting a paycheck somewhere. Because if you're just gone somewhere and punching a card and getting paid doing it for the cash, then in those tough times it's not really going to be there for you. EVAN: It sounds like a more utilitarian way at being involved in the community. For me it really is the love and belonging part because without the community, I don't really feel like I belong anywhere, frankly. I mean without a programming community, I shouldn't belong where I live [laughs]. No the belonging to the community has been huge for me. As far as safety and physiological well-being, I guess like so many other people I suffer from or so many other Americans are suffer from the same problem. This is a little bit of attention, but Americans have the somewhat unique cultural perspective of being very individualistic and wishing to be self-sufficient. I mean it's part of "we're self-reliant" that's why Ralph Waldo Emerson had his famous essay on that. And so it's very hard to ask for help so that's really pretty -- it's been pretty well on my taught for all things because I was like most Americans' program not to one ask for help. But it's really good to have to know I'm not alone and just to know there's other people out there who give a damn. So belonging in the community -- following my passion has given me that. If I was just did it for the money, I'd probably wouldn't have that...that's a side-effect. But that's why I so often tend to tell people that "you do what you love and share it with other people" and it tends to -- it's a form of paying it forward...it comes back to you somehow. It's not [inaudible] at all original when I got it from Seth Godin and he probably got it from a million other sources. JIM: I'm remembering one of the things that we're talking about when we have this conversation a long time ago was sort of along the lines of "What if you're really passionate about Ruby for example, but that community wasn't there?" Maybe you wanna pick up F# -- you've just love F#, the programming language, but there's just no community built around it. Will you still have that passion for it? Or would you still follow that passion? Or would you look for something like Ruby because of its community? EVAN: I can't project for other people would do. I know -- knowing me, if there's no community I'll build one. If there's no community, I should say I don't build it, I assemble one. Because community is made up of people and that's just a matter of getting people to participate. I didn't do that intentionally with Ruby DCamp, but that's what I realized I was doing. And I guess I sort of do that in other ways as well and well heck! I've been doing that in this area! That's how I got my friends in the first place, was I just go around talking people about what I like to do. And one day he said "well I wanna do that, too!" and I said "okay, I'll teach you". JIM: So you kind of like the Power Rangers where you just -- you get everybody to assemble and form a giant robot? EVAN: Hey, man that's Voltron. Heck was that! [laughter] JIM: I think I tried to be more topical, I was going to go Voltron but didn't know if it'd be good. ERIC: Yeah I wouldn't gotten it. EVAN: Yeah Eric's too young. JIM: Do you for real? ERIC: I believe I am real, let me check. [laughter] JIM: I think Eric's only what, 20? EVAN: I thought he was 15. ERIC: So the final episode of Voltron came out when I was 2. [laughter] JIM: And of course you watched it! EVAN: And I was somewhere, I think in my teens, in low teens for that. I don't even remember how old you are, Eric. I mean I don't really keep track of it. When people cross to 30, it's all kind of the same to me. JIM: Have you crossed 30 yet? ERIC: Nope. EVAN: Yup. You're [inaudible]. That's okay. JIM: So you've lost the power of interest then of course? ERIC: Oh, my brother did and that's why I have to watch him watching the Power Rangers, yeah. EVAN: So sorry, I couldn't stand that show. [laughter] JIM: Said but he was.. EVAN: I turned it on once or twice and only did squirming. It discomfort, turn off [laughs] JIM: Now that's an example of passion. Those Power Rangers and if we could be like them... EVAN: What about Captain Planet? JIM: [laughs] No, Captain Planet was lame. EVAN: In Captain Planet, there was like passion. And then there's an awesome robot chicken scoof, I have to link that. ERIC: Wow! We're really getting out there. JIM: We are. So anyway, being passionate, certainly open-source contributions. There's the Ruby hangout which is, and everybody should check out, because I know of some people who are remote, so remote that there's no community around them. Kind of like you, Evan. You had to go and build your -- create your own conference and more fences something. There's a Ruby hangout and people will get involved in that and offer to do presentations on that. But also contributing to open source, you kind of get to know people of the IRC and GitHub issues, and things like that. That's always good. EVAN: It's funny I haven't -- I've done a lot of client work but I don't tend to get roped in the open source. I don't know exactly why. I mean I've written a few gems of my own that some people actually use a little. I've submitted bug fixes to other gems that I've used, but I don't tend to get roped in the maintaining or helping maintain a project. Oh well, I suck! JIM: I think it's different for different people. I mean there's always a way to find like when you talk about esteem and self-actualization, when people do use your code and give you kudos for writing it or maintaining it and whatever, that feels good. And so some people -- if they're at a job and they're paid to do Java or something like that, and they don't really like it, but it's their job, and they might do Ruby at night and really enjoy it and be happy that somebody is using a gem that they created. That's another option of finding happiness. Sometimes, doing things like that as a hobby is a good way to manage your passions. Like if people are perfectly happy going to a job and writing code in a language that they don't prefer, but then coming home at night and doing something they really love, that's okay. I mean sure it'd be great to be paid to do what you really love, but you can at least make an open source project then hopefully find somebody who will hire you to sort of write it more or do other things. EVAN: Well, funny thing for me I got, I guess I got Ruby for a living because I decided "Working in Java makes me sad. Working for the Federal government makes me sad. Gosh! Darn it! I will only take a huge pay cut to go do what I wanna do". Then I start doing it, and did a lot of it and ended up making a whole lot more money than I could have otherwise because I was doing something I loved a lot. Every now and then though I feel like I start to get a little bored with Ruby and then I learned something else and realized "Well, that was just silly. There's so many other cool things I can do". But I guess what I start to go with this -- when I started, just a little different though, when I started doing bitly, is we're going to need practice not entirely unlike what Uncle Bob - Robert Martin suggested in maybe one of his Bob cluster, one of his books. One of his numerous numerous numerous ratings that I would have to go Google though to find the link to where he suggest that "a serious practitioner practices everyday for at least (I think he said) an hour where the practice is not in any serious application, but it's done purely for the learning". And I've been reading a book about this which I guess I will link so hey! I've got a pick! Oh my gosh! Maybe I shouldn't mentioned that it's my pick...So it's called "Mastery" and it is by in a kilo black belt and it is about how one intentionally becomes better at a skill. Not about achieving mastery because he indicates mastery as a path, it's not a destination. I've long had that view anyway, but he has a lot of very interesting perspectives on how we all learn, how we approach problems. Or how we approach learning, how a lot of us doing approach vary learning in various aspects of our life effectively and how we can try to keep that passion alive by focusing on the practice as a noun rather than practicing as a verb. JIM: That's a really good -- that's a good pick. EVAN: Someone told me better several years ago I started reading it, got distracted again. Been focusing on it more now; reading a book is actually part of my practice literally. I started halftime reading the book, and halftime of all things confronting my long-standing hatred and dislike of CSS. JIM: Now that's passion. EVAN: Yes because I really don't like CSS so trying to cope with that is passion. JIM: I certainly can talk about having those outlets like sometimes I go home, I've got 4 kids, and I'll go home and I would love to tell my wife about how things have been gone. Like she's the person who I've -- should be spending most of my time with. But honestly I'm out and working and I'll see her briefly in the morning and then at night, it's crazy and you have bedtime routine and stuff like that. Having an outlet that's none-at-work, that isn't the community and I can speak about my nerd speak, technical thing is good because I'll try and talk to my wife about what's been going on at work and try to skip over technical issues. But she does her best to listen to me and nod her head and occasionally will ask me "what does this mean?" So, that's good. EVAN: [laughs] Yeah I guess it's a little different for me now. I had that before, when Kim was healthier, where there's trying to balance the passion for work and me keeping that passion for glide with other things I need to be passion about or should be passion about like maintaining a good relationship with the wife. Now I'm more like a single Dad, so I accept there's only so much I can do with -- share with my wife. So, it's a little bit different now. But yeah, that's -- actually I've been curious to hear -- well heck! I kind of gets into a whole different area, really work-life balance. But you got 4 kids and the wife and you've got a lot of other source out there, how do you balance all that stuff? JIM: It's a question I think I'm often asked. I don't know, you just do it. My wife is super supportive. For example, when we up married she was getting her Master's so she's spent a lot of the time moving forward on her education and she was busy in going to the night school and stuff like that. She was working and so she didn't have a lot of time for a lot of things. And she got her masters, and we got to a certain point where I was like "Okay, I wanna move forward in my career or be able to do more speaking and open source contributions and other things". Now I'm trying to write a book and finish it up and it's just sort of the discussion we had like "Alright well, we're going to have some tough times, we're going to have times where I've gotta go out and do some things to kind of move that forward, but then eventually I'll be able to go back and relax a bit". You just do it. Certainly if it was troublesome for my relationship with my wife or with my kids or anything like that, then I would stop doing certain things. Radiant CMS is a big example. I love that project and I love working on it, but I started getting work where people were paying me to do other things. And I wasn't able to contribute as much. And as my family grew and my needs at home increased, I had to stop contributing. We've kind of started firing it back up, now it's stagnant for a large part because I haven't been to quit a lot of time into it. EVAN: So Eric, what about you? Other than pretty lots of interesting low gi into the chat channel.. ERIC: I'm kind of the same thing as Jim. I mean you kind of have a baseline of all the different responsibilities and keep everything there and just focus. Like recently I said I've been focusing on getting my saving built up so I can take some time off to spend time with my family. That's because in the past, whatever year so, I've taken more family time into work. And so you kind of have to balance a lot of it and free out. Also it helps with burnout. Like if you get burned out on programming, if you can just do the minimum amount of programming that you have to do whether to pay your bills or whatever, you can put your energy into something else that might kill you emotionally or whatever so that when you go back into heavier programming, you're actually enjoying it. So it's kind of like different buckets for your passion and just kind of have to balance between 'em and figure out "what am I the most passion on right now that I can work on" and hope for the best. EVAN: That's interesting point. The past few weeks, to be quite frank, I've been coping with pretty strong depression dealing with my wife's health because she had been especially bad starting a couple of months ago. And we were very concerned about her. She is where in stabilize set-up, pretty not so good place, and it affected everything including my desire to go to work. I mean it's been like it's actually 5 degrees for the past 6 months really, especially bad the past couple of months. So it affected in my desire to work, how much I work really. Because if I didn't feel the energy, the motivation, that I didn't wanna work for the client because I felt bad giving them crappy work. So ultimately then what I ended up doing is like "you change things that actually didn't relate to work". I made some changes at home that actually made me happier than work. So sometimes keeping that passion alive for the work is -- the passion, it could negatively impact -- for one thing it could be affected by another obviously. So I guess that this gets a little more into left field maybe, sort of. But that holistic approach that we have to look at ourselves not just as freelancers and developers, but were people to the 'the' and there are more things that affect us (not) just our work. ERIC: Yeah and I mean case some point like last summer when my daughter was born, I took the time off from work so I was doing almost no programming. I spent time with my daughter but I also got more heavy into eating better and healthy and exercising, all that stuff. That's going to make me feel good. And then I took on a client, cut a lot of a time away from exercising-health, to do client work, and now it's like my health, it's not suffering, but my health level is gone below where I would like it to be, but my client work's higher. And so now I'm starting to re-balance it back to start working out again, start eating a little bit better, and cut-off the client work a little bit. I've done this for years, I guess it's be balanced (on) the different aspects and if you ever get to a point where it's like homeostasis and like you're perfectly balanced everywhere, something else unless going to come out you and change everything and then you gotta re-balance again. EVAN: There's such a thing as [inaudible]. Yeah that will help things, right. That's something I'm not at all good at. And there's usually, for whatever reason, it's the [inaudible] one of the first things I always sacrifice. It's not even something I think about enough and that's part of the problem. One of the reasons I could sacrifice so quickly is it's, sacrifice, it's an unconscious decision, it just tends to or the first thing that goes. Other things I might actually think about, but taking care of myself, no. Food becomes a drug when life gets hard. Eat the food, go the other, and deal with the other hard stuff. Gotta work more? Okay fine. Gotta take care of the wife? Yeah that's hard, too, but okay fine. Yeah I can do that exercise! Yeah when I'm going to make the time, I'm on a kind of fixed schedules. So I'm going to my office and when I'm done, the caregiver's gone and exercise is harder. JIM: Yeah there's some Amy Hoy pointed out to her [inaudible], this course called "Tiny Habits", you can go to tinyhabits.com. It's a free online thing (or at least it was free when I did it), where you -- these guys have done research on how we form habits and how we can break them. Essentially it just figures out or you figure out what triggers can you use to remind yourself to do something. So if you want to eat better or exercise more, you can think of something that you do on a regular basis and then after you do that, you will immediately do something else and then celebrate that you did it. So that's a good way. I've always felt like forming habits is the best thing that you can do. And I've had done the same thing where I've sacrificed my health and well-being so that I can sort of get the freelance stuff going. But even if I just go out, walked down my street in the morning and come back, but at least I've gotten out of the house; I haven't gone for a run, but I've done something. Yeah Eric proposed that -- one of the suggestions actually is every time I pee, every time I go to the bathroom, I'll go do two push ups. ERIC: But after you're done peeing not-- [laughter] JIM: Not while you're doing it...That would be impressive though. [laughs] ERIC: It'd be messy! JIM: [laughs] So after you go to the bathroom you do two push-ups. And I thought "Oh, I'll try that!" You're supposed to pick 3 things, and I couldn't pick of the third that's [inaudible] "I'll do two push ups". And then I realized I would go work in a coffee shop and I don't wanna get down on the floor and do push ups on this nasty floor where ever it was, I don't know how clean was, I never did that. So I need to pick one that -- [laughs] Eric says after I work out I will mop the bathroom...[laughter] ERIC: Well the idea that I had like it get cut-off is that you get a squatting toilet and it's a twofer! Because you do the squats and getting wet... EVAN: So that makes it easier to be [coughs] "regular"... JIM: Anyways, so yeah Tiny Habits, I did that. It's pretty good. The point of it is I think "anything that you're going to do has to take on like a minute or two minutes". That's like if you really can't exercise for a minute, then there's a different problem and you need to fix that, I think. It's like the most minimum thing you could do. EVAN: Okay, so I guess I'm signing up for this Tiny Habits thing, like how? JIM: Yeah it's worth it. And it makes a lot of sense. You just -- I actually need to get back to doing it, but I know a lot of people have tried it and have really changed their behavior. Actually, I read (this is totally off passion, but) I read an article about how we form habits, and we seem to have a stack. So like once you stopped a habit that you've created, you'll go back to your previous habit. I don't know if it is a stack, but it's you have a basically an existing circuit in your brain of your old habit and if you fall off the horse on your new habit, your brain reverts back to that path because it's an easy one. That would (what is it), "Power of Habit" I think is the book that talks about that a lot. EVAN: One of the more recent fear is your fear about will power. Will power is the finite resource and it takes will power in order to continue to force a behavior that's not a habit. And then when you ran out of will power, then you're going to fall back on habits whatever they are. So if you're trying to adapt new habit, but you ran out of will power, well tsk! Then you're probably going to break it. That sounds like kind of a black and white approach to it and probably is more like a continuing where your will power bends and then eventually break. But, it sounds related. JIM: Yeah. Aside from that, I mean we covered a lot. Eric is probably taking a nap now after his lunch. I would actually like to -- I have a new product, "Serious Practitioners". I always hate labeling like you're not a serious practitioner unless you do this. But for a long time, I've wanted to put it and make a part of my routine practicing some thing. Like just writing code that expresses some design pattern or writing code that uses a library and throwing it away or trying to solve a small problem like the game of life implementation for coder cheats. If I did that on a daily basis or at least every other day, I think I'd be a better programmer. And I need to make a habit to do that. EVAN: So, yeah, I guess I spaced out. That sounds like a good time to go to picks doesn't it? So in that case, let's start with Jim this time! Jim, what are your picks? JIM: Alright, I've got two. Evan's probably going to be jealous that he didn't get to this first so I don't think you've got to it on previous one, but a book by Brian Marick called "Functional Programming for the Object-Oriented Programmer". It's on Leanpub and I bought it as soon as I saw that he was writing it a long time ago. I've never got a chance to read it but I just started picking that up; it's a great book and I've heard really wonderful things about it. And then there's Ryan Bigg's, I don't know if anybody follows him on Twitter or not, but I've seen him complain about the process of writing a book with Manning Publishers and he recently dropped out of his book project with them and started writing a book called "Multitenancy with Rails". And that's also on Leanpub so if you search for Multitenancy with Rails or we'll have it linked. It's a good book so far. EVAN: The incog section, it looks pretty cool, just to that. They provide a fairly simple framework for writing a book; you can just give them markdo-- Yeah, Eric doesn't like it. You give them mark down, they give you book. They just have in the app store typing, like mechanism involved? JIM: Yeah, there are -- no I come doing my book on dpd, getdpd.com. And I really like them, but I have to do all the work of creating a book. But I never really wanted to write and mark down so things like Leanpub just one that attracted to me. EVAN: So why wouldn't you wanna write and mark down? JIM: [laughs] Because I don't want to. ERIC: Why shouldn't everyone use Emax? EVAN: Well, who says that everyone should use Emax? JIM: [laughs] Eric does. EVAN: Well I guess that I will just do what Eric says then, because I'm using Emax. JIM: Right. EVAN: Yeah, okay. So Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: So I have one that's actually kind of relevant now based on I think some of the tangents we got on to. It's by Seth Godin, it's a blog post called "Writer's Block and the Drip". That's very short, but it kind of gets into what Jim was talking about about becoming a serious practitioner and doing something every day. That's pretty good read, I'll put the link on the show notes. EVAN: And yeah, I didn't mention, but I don't subscribe to the "you're not a serious practitioner if you don't practice every day for an hour" approach, but it was something that stucked with me because, frankly, I found it a little bit annoying/insulting. But it stucked with me so maybe I should link it to that way Uncle Bob can laugh at me once I go find it. I already gave my pick, "Mastery" by...(I forget his first name) Leonard. And I don't have another pick because I've been too busy running my mouth, so that's all I've got. Anyone else have any closing remarks? ERIC: Cat. [laughter] EVAN: Okay. Well, thanks and we'll see you all next week! (We hope) JIM & ERIC: Bye! EVAN: Byyeee!

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