Work Life Balance

How 7 Software Engineers & Developers Achieve Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is an interesting conversation topic for software engineers and developers, ranging from remote work and distributed teams to long hours and tight deadlines.

We had the opportunity to talk to engineers and developers from around the world, some of them from leading remote companies such as Buffer and Automattic, to get insights into what work-life balance looks like for them.

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Victoria Gonda // Android Engineer at Buffer

I try to keep work and life as separate as possible. By doing so, I can leave work thinking at work and fully relax and enjoy life afterward.

To help with this, I try to have a clear ending to my day and not work in the evenings. Sometimes this is signaled by dinner will my partner, or maybe by heading out the door to attend a meetup. In almost all cases, what’s going on at work can wait until the next day.

Evelyn Chan // Software Engineer at Square

Work life balance means setting yourself up for success. It means listening to your mind and body about what you need to function effectively. Even if you love something, over indexing on it can lead to burnout.

For me, it means taking time to focus on myself and doing things that help me recharge. That includes a mixture of spending time with family and friends, disconnecting, staying healthy, and knowing that it’s okay to indulge yourself once in a while.

Work life balance can include finding meaning in the work you do, but knowing that your work does not define you.

Artur Piszek // Cognitive Engineer at Automattic

I prefer “work-life synergy.” I try to structure my life in a way that one supports the other, instead of continually having to choose.

  • Thanks to asynchronous communication, I can respond on Slack while waiting in a queue at the post office.
  • Being able to do the shopping when everybody is at work saves me from rush hour crowds.
  • Taking a break to walk in the middle of the day makes my thinking clearer and my work better.
  • Pretty often, I take my laptop to work from a park or a cafe. Change of scenery helps me to focus, and I can sit in a beautiful place. Nature always helps.

Instead of treating work-life as a dichotomy, I am always on the lookout for win-win solutions.

Marcus Wermuth // Engineering Manager at Buffer

Something I am thinking about a lot. On one hand I am not sure if there is something as a clear line between work and life. Both things influence the other and that makes it difficult to understand or see the line in between them.

In my opinion if you do like your job it becomes even harder to see or cope with as you start to think about your passion or work also in the life part. For me work-life balance means that I have a flexible schedule to be around my family, to travel with them and to allow us to focus on life when we need to.

Paul Tune // Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Canva

Machine learning and data science in general is still a nascent, fast growing field with a torrent of developments each day, so maintaining a work-life balance can be a challenge, since I’d have to devote a portion of my time to keeping pace with current developments.

That being said, my life outside of work is reserved for reading, photography, other side projects, catching up with friends, and more recently, volunteering as an editor for The Gradient. I could also do with a bit more travelling, which is a personal goal of mine!

Corey Ginnivan // Product Designer & Front-end Developer at Appbot

It’s pretty simple really: to not feel like shit, keep growing personally and professionally, and to enjoy it on the way. My friend actually sat me down and we mapped out what makes me happy and what I want to avoid, then I designed my life around that. It’s taken a lot of trial and error (still working on it), but once you acknowledge you want a change it’s easy enough to focus on what you enjoy and hate and to build on that.

Miguel San Román // Senior Product Engineer at Buffer

Work is a very important part of my life. I am privileged to get paid doing what I love, and being part of projects and teams with a shared vision and inspire me both personally and professionally.

So instead of a balance, where it feels like I’m either living or working, I choose to see it as integration: I live, and part of my life is working, and a big focus for my life is working on the right things for me.

That being said, one can have too much of a good thing, too! So it is essential to be mindful of that. If I get too involved in a task or a project and work excessively long hours, I can feel burnt up, and I might not be able to keep up the pace for too long.


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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.