Disagree 100%. The author’s premise is that we should accept not working all the time as a “failing” and that if we didn’t, we would be “ideal human beings.”
And in such moments of my life I know that I am 9-17 developer. And deeply inside I hate myself for that.
No, no, no.
A healthy work-life balance is critical to both productivity and success. Some of the best developers and entrepreneurs I know are 8-5 people. One of them has successfully built and sold 4 companies back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
Living only in technology puts blinders on you.
This is why I enjoy working for a European company in the USA. Work/Life balance is excellent compared to other tech companies.
I’ve dealt with this.
This is the dark side of the “personal brand” meme: you’re put on a treadmill that eats away at you more and more as you try to run faster. You’re supposed to cultivate and increase your “influence” through open source, blog posts, conference talks, etc. Except, if you adopt the default values, it’s a losing proposition: there’s only a finite amount of attention to go around. Additionally, there’s always someone smarter, younger, cheaper, more personable, and with more free time than you.
The way off is to realize it’s all bullshit and do things that are interesting to you. People may like them, they may not. It needs to be an intrinsic motivation that guides you; otherwise you can be tricked into doing things you don’t actually want to do in your free time.
And for heaven’s sake, accept the fact that you’re a human and have a life outside of programming. It doesn’t make you weak.
I’d actually go a step further than the author: sometimes time spent not thinking about work can be the most productive possible use of your time. Programming is not an end unto itself, unless you’re writing development tools (and even then, your domain is usually not actually programming; instead, you’re writing tools to make writing some kind of software easier), and the projects that will be most useful to other people are likely to be the projects that you come up with while you aren’t actively programming.
I can relate to this. I spend a lot of time on video games - especially stuff like wow and guild wars - and struggled with feeling like I was wasting so much time.
Eventually I just accepted that sometimes we waste time, and that’s alright. I play a lot fewer video games now because of general business, but I don’t feel bad about those I do play. When I play, I’m relaxing, socializing (sometimes) and challenging myself in new ways by ramping up the difficulty or applying my own set of rules on top of those inbuilt.
Am I wasting time? Yea, but I’d rather waste time and be happy than spend all my time productively and be perpetually focused and stressed. Been there, done that, never again.
I tend to think of it as that having fun is not wasting time. Fun is really important for people’s mental health; if you don’t have any of it, you’ll almost certainly get depressed and burned out.
So while video games likely aren’t directly applicable to your day job, they’re not a “waste of time”. For that matter, neither is reading a book, playing baseball, cooking a fancy meal, etc., none of which are considered time wasters but all of which aren’t work related.