I put quiet hours on my mobile phone for my business emails.

When my mind gets into this “think about work” loop, I try to immediately cut it out. I remind myself that rest and relaxation are important to be productive.

I try to engage socially as much as I can, avoiding screen time after work.

The important thing is that you don’t fall victim to the demands of work or “the hyperactive hive mind.”

There’s always more than I could share but, as stated, these are three habits I’d like to have implemented day one of my career. It definitely makes things easier now.

One reason we find it so hard to disconnect from work is because we’re always connected.

Disconnect From Your Job

This is you disconnecting from your job.

Programming is one of those jobs where, whenever we’re stuck on a problem, our mind tends to wander back to it when we’re not at a computer. And, in some – or many – cases, we end up deriving a solution when we’re not available.

I can’t speak to those who are entering into the field after changing careers, but I can speak to what it’s like to be entering into this field at the start of your career.

Some Initial Thoughts


Bees from the hive delivering mail. As they do.

I don’t know if this is the eureka effect or something tangentially related, but that’s how it feels.

I tend to mix up my fitness during the week but I work out a minimum of four times during the week and tend to spend some time during a quiet time in the workday. I like being able to take a break in the middle of the day to disconnect for a bit, move a bit, then get back at it.
A World Without Email, Cal Newport

Absolutely. Not only do I have quiet hours for work, but I make liberal use of Slack statuses, iOS focus modes, keep as many notifications off as possible (save for urgent ones that may come from family), and more.

For me, it’s not so much about the device as it is having a dedicated place for work that I can step away from after a certain time of day.

This is good because it doesn’t have to be difficult to disconnect from your job. In fact, it shouldn’t be difficult to disconnect from your job.


This is the new old me, now.

So I publicly admit, that I have a hard time disconnecting from work.

If you’re someone new to the industry – be it someone who’s up and coming from high school or university or if you’re someone who’s switched careers – comments like this can make it seem daunting.

  1. Turn off non-essential notifications. We didn’t have Focus Modes on our phone in the early 2000s, but we did have notifications. The thing I absolutely loathe about smart phones is the banner that comes down from the top of the screen and/or the red bubbles that inform me of where I need to direct my attention. I do not want my device telling me what I need to do (this is like a push system). I’ll get to what I need to do when I have the time blocked to do it (this is like a pull system).
  2. If you can ask someone without digital communication, do it. We don’t often hear someone say “I love having a full inbox.” Yet it’s something with which most of us deal. We have a question, comment, or statement, then we draft a text or an email and send it away from us and into someone else’s inbox (likely adding to their backlog of notifications). But this begets more email. As much as possible, if I have the ability to ask someone directly about something – even if I need to wait until our next scheduled meeting – then I will. It saves their inbox and, by the nature of communication, my inbox, and it keeps whatever it is I need to discuss as the reasonable level of urgency.
  3. Stay in control of your calendar. I know we all of our own struggles with time management and some of us are are better at it than others. But one thing that’s reasonable, perhaps even necessary, to implement is time blocking. If you don’t protect your time, others will pull you into however many different directions are possible. You don’t have to say “yes” to every task immediately. Further, you don’t have to accept a meeting invite – unless it’s of necessary urgency – just because someone sends it to you. Don’t only block off time in your personal calendar, but do it on your work calendar and make it publicly available so people can see when you’re available. This way, you’re guaranteeing yourself the ability to work on things when you want and to meet and discuss things when you can.

In A World Without Email, Cal Newport defined the environment many of us find ourselves ensconced as the hyperactive hive mind.

Is It Impossible To Disconnect?

This dude is a bit too connected to work.

I pause Slack notifications after working hours. I disable them on weekends.

Same as above.

I think fitness is essential. Whether it be walking, playing some type of sport, or just doing something on your own, I’ve found that exercise to be one of the most effective activities that improve my overall disposition (and health, of course).

In the penultimate note from What Do You Expect From Being a Software Developer?, Mensur makes the following claim:

Yes and no. I have a dedicated office in my house so when I’m done with work, I close the laptop, shut the door, and I’m done until the next day.

The eureka effect (also known as the Aha! moment or eureka moment) refers to the common human experience of suddenly understanding a previously incomprehensible problem or concept.

Breaking away from this type of work can be hard, but it’s not impossible.

Granted, working remotely and exercising at home saves time and it’s one of the benefits that come with the job. Regardless, I’m a big fan of this.

A workflow centered around ongoing conversation fueled by unstructured and unscheduled messages delivered through digital communication tools like email and instant messenger services. 

I turn off my laptop after I am done with the work.

It will be almost impossible to disconnect from your job

However, I still use my iPad certain things I may want to do (such as watch a show, read something via RSS, or jam along with some music).

Of course, this is something that I like and, yes, there are plenty of other parents around with whom to socialize, but in terms of “hanging out with friends,” this stage of life isn’t as conducive to that.

This is going to vary from person to person but during the week, I don’t socialize with my own group of friends very much mainly because of our stage of life. That is, my wife and I have three kids each of whom we’re highly invested in and each of whom are involved in their own activities.

This may be the toughest one for me (and I’m apt to believe it comes with the territory of the job).

That’s not a good thing.

I take long walks after work. On some days I do sports like padel or football.

If I’m going to need to be available during non-standard working hours, then that’s something we decide at work and I adjust my phone accordingly.

Before commentating on each of the points in the article, I do not believe this is something unique to working in software. If you have a phone and are willing to reply through any form of communication, then you can always be available when someone needs you.

Remember, none of these are meant to say the author is wrong or that I’m right; it’s more of “this is how he works, this is how I work.” There are some similarities, there are some differences. You’ll have your own, too.

As I did in the previous article, I’ll take each of these points one by one and share my thoughts.

Because I know that this sometimes comes with the job and sometimes tends to work itself out overtime, I’ll let my mind wander so long as it doesn’t interfere with the time I’m spending with my family, friends, or whatever I’m doing at the moment.

In place of that, though, I spend time playing with the kids and the dogs outside, I spent time playing Smash Bros. with them (among other games), and I spend a good amount of time reading and the rest of the time on the guitar.

That’s not a bad thing, though, it’s just different.

It shouldn’t be the modus operandi for how we get stuff done. If you work in an organization that operates this way, it shouldn’t be a badge of honor nor should it be something that’s glorified.

It’s Possible (But You’ve Gotta Work At It)

Instead, control your calendar, set healthy boundaries, decrease digital communication, and relentlessly try stick to that.

Note, however, he also states:

I’ve been working in the industry for just shy of 17 years at the time of this writing. If I could go back and tell younger me three things that would help increase the quality of work and decrease the level of stress when I wasn’t at my computer, it would be this (in no particular order):

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