Obsessed with work-life balance

What it takes to truly bring harmony between personal and professional lives.

There’s a lot of talk about the notion of work-life balance in the news recently. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so elusive, or perhaps that it’s actually a misplace notion of wanting to “have it all”.

For us here at LaunchByte who talk about startups and startup life, it’s a conversation that we have and never really come to a straight answer.

Let’s get one thing clear: you won’t get “work-life balance” copying someone else’s formula. Our lives are unique, intertwined with the equally unique lives of the people around us; together we bring an emotional and practical complexity that defies any notion of a standard equation for work-life balance. (Remember: Darth Vader’s version of “balance” was a mass slaughter of light-side Jedis.)

So yes, general principles, top-ten tips, best practices are probably nice suggestions, at best.

See, when it comes to harmonising your career aspirations with a deeper sense of purpose/fulfilment, you’re better off figuring it out on your own through trial and error. There are lessons – often painful – that you’ll have to experience and pay for in sweat and tears until you find the answer. This doesn’t preclude you sitting a friend down or reading a good book on the matter. It just means you shouldn’t be looking to apply a template.

So instead of advice, Here are three things I have personally learnt to do, that I think might help you make that process of finding your way through work and life more sweet than sour:

(1) Figure out who the most important people are in your life and make sure you’re building relationships with them. These are the keepers and stayers who won’t quit on you just because you decide to crank up the time on your career. Which means it’s even more vital that you know what they think and feel about you new venture/adventure.

(2) Think about your values. Or at least, think about what you are unwilling to compromise. When you’re out there making a difference, or saving the world, you’ll be faced with stuff that will compete for your time, your attention, and most of all, your integrity. Don’t knowingly do something that you’ll hate yourself for. Trust me on this: it isn’t worth it.

(3) Over time, consider if you’re actually getting happier. I’ll be first to say that happiness isn’t the most important thing all the time, but it’s a good indicator to whether you’re getting #1 and #2 right. If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied and unhappy overall, it’s time to go back to the first two things.

All said and done, I’d like to say that work-life harmony is definitely within reach; you’ll just need to be willing to experiment and trudge on.

Happy trailblazing!

Image Credit

Insights from a 10-Year Productivity Journey


(image credit: Sean MacEntee)

This post is a guest post from Launchbyte fan and recovering productivity geek Adrian Koh. Here, he shares what a productive life means to him like after 10 years of GTD-ing, and how he found the answer in an unexpected place.

The Productive Me Ten Years Ago
Like most people, I blame David Allen.

His book, Getting Things Done (GTD), changed my perspective to work when I first read it in 2004. The promise was — in a sense — that it was possible to install the GTD brainware directly into my mind and become this productivity superman at work.

Ten years on, this much I know. It’s not that simple.

Go ahead. Ask the best people in personal productivity circles. If they’re honest, they’ll tell you how easy it is to fall off the bandwagon. This is spite of their best efforts to get the best apps, the best devices, and their best efforts to do/delegate/defer.

On falling off the bandwagon:
Sometimes, it’s not even your fault: I have some @waitingfor tasks that feel more like @waitingforever.

Personally, there have been times that I’ve struggled with maintaining consistent peak level performance. Some days, getting into the state of flow is impossible, no matter how much you brain dump and put everything into contextual lists. Sometimes, it’s not even your fault: I have some @waitingfor tasks that feel more like @waitingforever.

I decided last year that I would change the way I approached stuff.

My Post-GTD Realizations: The Real Crisis of Work
I realised last year that the real issue to work isn’t just that there’s a lot of it. That’s not the primary source of stress. The real issue to the crisis of work is that people have an ongoing antagonistic relationship to their jobs.

Simply put, people hate their jobs. No productivity system is going to solve that.

Let me clarify. There will inevitably be things at your jobs that you’ll hate doing, that you’ll need to do anyway. I, for example, hated the long monthly excel reports that I used to have to do. Yet, I liked my work at my company and recognized reporting as an acceptable part of the largely engaging whole.

Hating your work means you detest the essence of what you’re doing at your job, and that you are dissatisfied with what your company hopes to achieve (or sometimes, doesn’t achieve). Doing work that lacks meaning puts you in a negative state of mind. So that was my realization: I’ve found in my life that I’m the least productive when I start feeling bad about work.

On finding the root cause of a lack of productivity:
So that was my realization: I’ve found in my life that I’m the least productive when I start feeling bad about work.

And I think this negative association to work starts with saying “yes” to too many things that don’t fit with your personal value system.

So that I’m clear, I want to say that I didn’t drop GTD. On the contrary, I’ve come to rely on it a lot more. What changed, though, is that I’ve overlaid it with my personal values. This means I’m thinking over the things I do a lot more before I decide to do them. This means when I’m doing stuff, it’s stuff that I know is meaningful.

Much makes now a good time to ask: what’s stopping you from doing something with meaning? (Hint: it might just be that start up idea that you’ve been keeping in the back burner all this time…)

The result? I’m doing less stuff, but doing them better. Productivity then, is almost by accident.

Find meaning first, and productivity will follow.

Free SSL To Improve Your SEO

CloudFlare a San Francisco-based Internet security provider is implementing Universal SSL for all customers, including those in the free tiers. If you are running a site and is looking to improve your SEO, this free service might just help you.

So what is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. When you are surfing around on the Internet, data packets are transmitted between the browser to the sites. If the site has a SSL certificate available, this means that transmission is encrypted. For sites without SSL, it runs a risk for the data to be intercepted. For example, DBS has a SSL cert too.

How it help SEO?

Beside the benefit of having a security layer, It is now also important to the site’s SEO. Months ago, Google Webmaster shared that they will be using SSL as a form of ranking signal. This means that if you have SSL on your blog or your site you will be rank higher.

We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web. via Link

Unless you were running a e-commerce site or a site that requires important and sensitive information, it is highly unlikely that you would get an SSL cert. Depending on the type of the SSL cert you are looking for, it cost from $9 a year to $248 a year. For a personal blog, I don’t think there is a need for a paid SSL. The best is to get it free.

Free SSL from CloudFlare

The team at CloudFlare is excited to announce the release of Universal SSL™. Beginning today, we will support SSL connections to every CloudFlare customer, including the 2 million sites that have signed up for the free version of our service. via link

CloudFlare protect sites from abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources.

If you sign up for the service, it will act like a middle layer to get rid of unwanted traffic.

According to Ars Technica, there are some limitation to SSL.

The complexity of SSL has been a major impediment to its adoption by many website operators, but it isn’t the only one. Sites that rely on advertising for revenue, for example (such as Ars), are hindered by the lack of adoption of SSL by those operations and their resulting requirement for both the presentation of unencrypted content and referral data. In the past, SSL has also been an issue for sites that use content caching, though this would not be an issue for sites front-ended by CloudFlare. via Link

Also you have to take note that since CloudFlare act as the middle layer, it will intercept your data. If your site is dealing with sensitive information, it is still better to get a paid SSL.

However Launchbyte has signed up with Cloudflare, we believe there is nothing to lose and everything to gain with SSL and maybe a plus in ranking signal.