Monthly Archives: October 2009

What Gives – Smiffy’s Corollary

Feather asks “What Gives?”

What Gives? – a blog post by Derek Featherstone – gets my classification of “essential read” for all those struggling with the work/life balance – and losing.

Chronic ill health impacted my ability to work severely for the last 6+ years, as I have mentioned elsewhere in this journal. Even now, when relatively better (for a given value of “better,”) I am only able to work what most would regard as part-time hours. What I have learned from this experience gives me:

Lesson 1

Productivity is very much a case of quality of work over quantity of work.

I am now chugging away steadily, getting far more done than I did in the frenetic days when I was first self-employed.

When work time is increased beyond a certain point, greater quantity will lead inevitably to lesser quality. (In my line of work, this means making mistakes and this gobbles up even more precious time as debugging generally takes considerably longer than the original coding.)

The other thing that my experience has taught me is:

Lesson 2

Prioritisation (even when you spell it with a z) – of all aspects of life – has to be the first task in the quest for normality, productivity, and Quality of Life.


In my case, it was not work that caused the deterioration in my health (although I am sure that it contributed,) but vice-versa. However, when people are “freaking killing themselves,” to paraphrase Derek, health collapse is likely on the cards. It would be nice to think that people might be able to learn some of the lessons that I have without having sickness as a teacher.