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Lance A. Brown
Works at INetU, Inc.
Attended Univ. of TN, Knoxville
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VERY cool new bee hive technology.  Harvest honey without removing frames!  Super fast massive funding on IndieGogo!
It is so much easier on the beekeeper and so much easier on the bees. | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!
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Hope my Bostonian friends are safe and sound!
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My nexus 7 2012 got the 5.0.2 update. Waiting for it to install. Should be interesting to see how it works.
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Oh my good lord... My N7 is so slow now it's nearly useless.
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Awesomely good practical advice on work/life balance
 
On Work / Life Balance

I originally wrote this document in response to a recurring question from my team: some variant of "How do you keep work/life balance given your role?"  It has turned out to be a very popular document, and after review I am sharing it with a broader audience: everyone.
-----
On Work / Life Balance
Or, how I learned to maintain balance while running 24x7 at Google

by btreynor@google.com et.al., Jan. 2015

Human effort is a finite resource. When you’re surrounded by outstanding peers, it’s easy to feel like you constantly need to work harder, do better, produce more. But, like it or not, each of us has a throughput limit: the amount of work we can get done, on average, in a given timeframe.

Realizing that I had a throughput limit was key to my understanding work/life balance: how to live up to my work commitments without feeling I was shortchanging my family, my friends, my health, or myself. Once I calculated my throughput limit, I got rid of the fantasy that I could do everything — or, some idealized quantity of work that always seems to be greater than what I actually did this week — and started getting realistic about how to allocate my time. Work/life balance went from being an ego problem (I’m not good enough, I should be able to do more) to being a personal math problem:

((Work hours per week) - (essential meetings))
multiplied by (email or project throughput)
equals: How much work I can do in a week

Work Hours
In order to draw boundaries between work and non-work, I first needed to decide how much I am really willing to work. Through my career, I noticed that I would start feeling burned out when I consistently worked more than X hours per week, and X has been fairly constant over the last 20 years. Therefore, I set my average work hours target a bit below X, and ensure that I do not exceed my target most weeks. In practice, that translates into ‘normal’ hours in the office, some email in the evenings, and a few hours of email/project work on the weekends. This allows time for my other priorities — family, exercise, hobbies, etc. — and it’s a pace I can sustain indefinitely.

From what I have observed, the sustainable work hours number varies considerably by person. For some folks at Google the number is lower than my own. I also work with several for whom it is significantly higher. I also see no correlation between work hours and level; the vast majority of senior folks I work with maintain normal work hours and few unused vacation days.  Your work hours target is ultimately a personal choice and one which, made deliberately, optimizes personal productivity over extended periods of time.

Once I had established my work hours target, I looked harder at where I was spending my time.

Meetings
Every hour spent in a meeting is an hour not spent doing something else. Yes, meetings are sometimes an important part of work, but often they’re not personally productive. Meetings also tend to accumulate over time, like luggage. I have repeatedly had the experience of waking up one day and realizing I don’t have time to review design docs, answer email, etc., because my work hours are chock-full of meetings.

My solution is a form of garbage collection: Every quarter, I review my calendar and for each meeting ask, “What will happen to Google, and to me, if I stop attending this meeting?” The goal is to reduce my schedule to only high-value events — meetings that can’t happen without me. Many meetings produce results I need to follow, but don’t require my input in realtime; I skip those meetings, read the slides and meeting minutes, and save 80% of the time. Finally, in my quarterly meeting review I apply exponential backoff to many recurring meetings: monthly meetings become quarterly, weekly meetings become bi-weekly or monthly, etc. If the new frequency is sufficient to accomplish the meeting’s goals, the change sticks.

Email, Project, et. al. Throughput
Much of my work is reading and responding to email. A while back I decided to measure how quickly I process email, and it turned out to be a fairly consistent rate when averaged over many mails: although some take more time and some less, I can on average answer 13 emails per hour. Knowing this means I can look at my inbox on any given day and know whether or not I can get through it all in time. I can also look at the rate of email inflow and the amount of free time on my calendar, and know whether I’m going to be able to clear a backlog, keep pace, or fall behind.  The same logic applies to pages of design doc review, function points of code, etc.

When I notice I’m consistently getting more email volume than my throughput rate will accommodate, I know that I’m either about to drop the ball, or work too much. Again, rather than feeling like I should somehow magically stretch my time or energy to encompass whatever gets thrown at me, I recognize that it’s just a math problem and I need to alter one of the variables. That realization in turn prompts me to make a change to remove engagements and obligations — which may mean delegating where I previously was personally involved, declining an activity, triaging my calendar, etc.

A Note on Being Essential
It feels flattering to be essential to a particular project. But that usually also means that project won’t make rapid progress without me, which often is not a good thing. What happens if I get sick? Or take a vacation? Or there’s a big outage I must be personally involved in? Further, if I’m critical to every project I’m involved in, there’s no slack left for anything new or urgent, so what flexes are my working hours. And maintaining work/life balance won’t succeed by preventing new things from showing up — they will, you may count on it. Rather, it’s about being able to deal with things as they do show up without becoming overloaded. I do this by always having some of my project time spent in a nonessential role, so that I can dial back or end my involvement without damaging the project when something more important arises. Whenever I find I’m essential to all the projects I’m working on, it is once again time to make a change.

So, How Can You Balance Your Work With Life Outside of Work?
It’s straightforward, although not particularly easy: Do the Math.
Identify the value of each piece of the equation in your own life: how many hours/week you’re willing to work, how many of those hours need to go to meetings, and how much work you can produce in the remaining hours. Then adjust one or more of the variables until the equation balances. You are a finite resource, and wishing it were otherwise is not going to help you or Google. By being realistic about how much time you choose to devote to work, by being deliberate about where you choose to spend your working time, and by making effective changes when you become overloaded, you’ll do a better job of meeting both your work commitments and your own personal goals.

Finally, an Important Note For Managers:
Your team relies on you to help maintain their work/life balance, and they can’t read your mind. In addition to the obvious points (i.e., help them do everything described above), you have the ability to help or disrupt their work/life balance through your communication practices. For example, if you send emails to your team outside of their working hours, they will probably feel the obligation to read and respond to them outside of working hours — whether that is your intent or not. For this reason, I consciously avoid sending off-hours emails to much of my team unless the issue is urgent. Another approach is to mark time-sensitive emails with “URGENT” in the subject, so recipients know which ones they may defer until the next business day. Seemingly small changes like this can have a large impact on your team’s work/life balance and their stress level. Consider them when you communicate.

-Benjamin Treynor Sloss, January 2015
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First night impersonating Darth Vader!  Got my Autoset 10 PAP machine today along with fitting and training.  Darn thing has AT&T cellular wireless and phones home.  No cheating for me!
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Note to self: don't inhale through your nose when sprinkling on your food the dried chiles you just ground up in a mortar and pestle. It leads to a whole new experience in nasal fire and watering eyes.
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Interesting.... Very interesting....
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There are no new stories. There's only a bunch of bad (and one or two good) retellings of the old stories. 
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Of course, this is what's going on.

Mainstream journalists need to screw up their courage and ask some hard questions ANYWAY.
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"Don't read the comments."  I know.  It's the mantra for surviving on the Internet.

Today I saw the story about the Vanderbilt woman who didn't know she was raped until she saw the video.  http://gawker.com/vanderbilt-student-didnt-know-shed-been-raped-until-she-1681264534

Then I read the comments.

Oh. My. Good. Lord.

What the hell is this person thinking? :
http://gawker.com/vanderbilt-student-didnt-know-shed-been-raped-until-she-1681264534

Not only do the men who committed the rape deserving of a KITN; 'Marusame' needs to be taken out back and whooped until his brain engages reality.
The Vanderbilt University student who was allegedly raped by several football players last year testified Thursday that she didn't believe she had been sexually assaulted until investigators showed her video of the incident.
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"I'm just a Bug"

Boy: Woof! You sure got to google a lot of packages to get to this Repo here in Github. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is?

Bug: I'm just a bug
Yes, I'm only a bug
And I'm sitting here on Github
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the release branch
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in queues
But I know I'll be a patch someday
At least I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still just a bug

Boy: Gee, Biug, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage

Bug: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn't even a bug, I was just an
error. Some folks back home decided they wanted a fix released, so they called
their local hacker and he said, "You're right, there ought to be a fix."
Then he sat down and hacked me out and introduced me to Github. And I became
a bug, and I'll remain a bug until they decide to make me a patch.

I'm just a bug
Yes, I'm only a bug,
And I got as far as Github
Well, now I'm stuck in queues
And I'll sit here and wait
While a few key Committers discuss and debate
Whether they should let me be a fix
How I hope and pray that they will
But today I am still just a bug

Boy: Listen to those committers arguing! Is all that discussion and debate
about you?

Bug: Yeah, I'm one of the lucky ones. Most bugs never even get this far. I
hope they decide to report on me favorably, otherwise I may die.

Boy: Die?

Bug: Yeah, die in queue. Oh, but it looks like I'm going to live! Now I go to the QA branch, and they vote on me.

Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?

Bug: Then I go to the upstream branch and the whole thing starts all over again.

Boy: Oh no!

Bug: Oh yes!

I'm just a bug
Yes, I'm only a bug
And if they vote for me on Github
Well, then I'm off to the Upstream Repo
Where I'll wait in a line
With a lot of other bugs
For the Repo Owner to sign
And if he signs me, then I'll be a fix
How I hope and pray that he will
But today I am still just a bug

Boy: You mean even if the all the committers says you should be a fox, the owners can still say no?

Bug: Yes, that's called a veto. If the Repo Owner vetoes me, I have to go back to the Committers and they vote on me again, and by that time you're so old . . .

Boy: By that time it's very unlikely that you'll become a fix. It's not easy to become a fix, is it?

Bug: No!

But how I hope and I pray that I will
But today I am still just a bug

Committer: He signed you, bug! Now you're a fix!

Bug: Oh yes!
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Wow flashbacks of sesame street
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Awesome clear explanation of vaccination information
 
This is a great summary of the state of vaccinations and the information / misinformation being spread around.
The risks, the misinformation, and the science behind history’s greatest life saver
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People
Have him in circles
146 people
David Pollard's profile photo
Barbara Green's profile photo
T Rod's profile photo
Rachel Walden's profile photo
Mark DeLong's profile photo
lizy mama's profile photo
Sonja Dake's profile photo
Ben Cordes's profile photo
Troy Chirpich's profile photo
Education
  • Univ. of TN, Knoxville
    Computer Science, 1990 - 1991
  • Gustavus Adolpus College
    B.A. Computer Science, 1985 - 1990
  • Wells-Easton High School
    1981 - 1985
  • St. Casimir's Elementary
    1981
Work
Occupation
System Administrator
Employment
  • INetU, Inc.
    Linux Systems Engineer, 2013 - present
  • Duke University
    Linux System Administrator, 2005 - 2013
Basic Information
Gender
Male