Beau 00:14 Hi, and welcome to another episode of That Podcast. I'm Beau, and Dave won't be joining us today. Instead we are joined by Eileen Webb. Eileen, would you like to introduce yourself?
Eileen Webb 00:31 Hello everyone. My name's Eileen Webb. I am a content strategist, also sort of a recovering back end developer. I live on a small farm in Northern New Hampshire. There are chickens outside my window. Very excited to be here.
Beau 00:45 Nice. Well, welcome. Yeah, I saw a call out from you on Twitter a while back, saying that you'd love to be on some more podcasts. So both Dave and I agreed that a lot of the stuff that you talk about, or a lot of the stuff that you've at least discussed on Twitter seem like they'd be a good fit for us. Hopefully we will have you on again to talk about some of the other things as well. But today I kinda wanted to talk a little bit about self care. It sounds like you have a lot of opinions on self care, and working from home, and working with teams. Would you like to just start of with a little bit of a discussion on that?
Eileen Webb 01:18 Sure. Absolutely. Yeah, I do have a lot of opinions about everything, frankly, but self care is definitely one of them. I have worked for myself at home, like out of my own office really since 2003 maybe. I've been very self directed in all of my work. I have chronic migraines, and so 14 or 15 days a month I will have a migraine at some point. They were for all of the day, and it has made me very, very conscious of sort of the ways I take care of myself, and the ways I shape my workday, and literally the way I shape my office. Everything from the way I schedule myself, to long term contracts and all kinds of things.
Eileen Webb 02:10 Because if I push myself too hard, I will get even more migraines. So yeah, I have lots of different things that I pay attention to that I think that ... I feel like there's a larger conversation around self care, right now happening in tech. It's becoming a thing that people are talking about more. I have been thinking about it and paying attention to it for a very long time. Which is not to say I have better ideas than other people, but just I have a lot of them.
Beau 02:42 You have a lot of real world experience in trying to implement some of these things, as opposed to people just having ideas of, "Hey, we should try this."
Eileen Webb 02:49 Yes.
Beau 02:49 Whereas you know things that work well for you.
Eileen Webb 02:52 Yes.
Beau 02:53 Have you worked with other people as well, that have benefited from working through some of these things, or is it mostly just your own experiences that you've had?
Eileen Webb 03:04 I do a lot of work in teams. As a content strategist I'm a person who ... Not very much of my work is in isolation. Most of it's in combination with UX people, and developers, and business managers, and all kinds of folks. I do do a lot of work with teams. I think one of the things that's interesting is, working in teams is like finding things, especially structural things you can do in your team that support everyone's need for self care, and the ability to organize their days in ways that work best for them. I'm thinking in particular because I was just working on it with a client just last week. The move towards agile and sprint based project shapes, is something that I think about a lot, because the default sort of way to work in sprints is that you go from sprint, to sprint, to sprint, to sprint. That doesn't leave any downtime, and that doesn't leave any time for ... Unless you explicitly decide to schedule it in. Decide to schedule a down sprint, a week off every four sprints or something like that.
Eileen Webb 04:20 It's really easy to just have that feel like a relentless slog. It's not that people aren't necessarily excited about it, and it's not even necessarily people moving towards something as severe as getting burned out, although that's obviously a risk also. But just the little bit of sort of taking up people's reserve essentially, and just wearing down the kind of extra bit of flexibility that we have like when we're well rested and when we have has enough down time and enough breathing room. Also just the boring practicalities of ... Maybe at some point you're like, "You know what? I would like to switch the tool that I'm using to manage my repos."
Eileen Webb 05:05 But you need a day or two do that. If the reason you wanted to move is because you were having an annoyance with the old tool, and you found a new tool, but you haven't had time to just literally do the logistical switch, and get all your config settings correct. That, that ends up being something that feels like a drain, right? And that feels kind of exhausting, and eats away at you in tiny ways. It limits your ability to be kind and generous with the people you work with.
Beau 05:35 Right. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. What kind of strategies do you have for this? Like fixing these structural things on teams?
Eileen Webb 05:46 The hugest thing of course, is having a team leader, if you are in a hierarchical team, having a team leader who believes that this is important. If you're in a team of colleagues. If you are you and three other people working on some projects and maybe no one is the boss of anyone else. Coming to a shared understanding about what is important. I work on some teams that I have worked on for a number of years, and we have come to a very explicit understanding where we will tell each other to, "Turn off your computer. Don't be here anymore." If someone's getting frustrated with something, and they express across Slack. They're like, "Oh, I just can't figure this thing out. We're like, "Go for a walk. It's beautiful outside." Just making a culture. It's like a tiny little organizational culture, but maybe just with your team of three or four pals that you're working on a project with. Creating a culture where no one is grumpy if you're like, "You know what? I'm not gonna come in until 11AM on Tuesday morning, because I really wanna go outside, because it's beautiful." Or whatever.
Eileen Webb 06:57 And really just making a space where that's okay, and where there's no questioning of, "I have a doctor's appointment Thursday at 3PM. I won't be able to make that meeting." And that no one is like, "Oh, can you move the appointment, or could you call in from the car?" Any of that kind of stuff. In some ways actually prioritizing your friend's health can be a good stepping stone to taking a step to prioritize your own health and wellbeing. Sometimes it's easier to be like, "Well, of course I want you to feel good. If you have a flu, do not work from home. Don't call into this meeting when you're all sneezy and whatever. Just take the day off. It's fine." We do that for each other, and then it bleeds over, eventually, into being able to make that same statement for yourself.
Beau 07:49 Yeah. I think in many ways it's easier to look at problems or issues in other people's lives, than it is to look at your own. I think there's a lot to be said about that of being able to help other people realize that they don't always have to be on ... For example, one of the things that I did, I think toward the end of last year, was I bought a second phone to put my main clients, everything on. So that I wasn't always on. But yeah, sometimes I've gotten weird looks when I will show someone that I have a second phone. Not that I'm showing off, "Hey look, I've got two phones." More like, if I take my phone out of my pocket, and I take both out at the same time, they roll their eyes like, "Oh, why do you have two phones?" But it's made a huge difference to me. Most of the people that I work with are actually in France. I have a lot of remote team issues to deal with. One of them is that they would wake up at four o'clock my time, and start emailing.
Beau 08:56 Maybe not necessarily to me, but their schedule was so far off that, if I would wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason, and make the mistake of picking up my phone, I'd have six new messages to look at from the French team that didn't even impact me, before I could get to anything else. That's made a huge difference to me to have a phone that if I'm on call during the day or whatever, I'll bring that phone with me, but otherwise I don't. Because I don't need to see the chatter from them, unless I'm actually working. So that's been a huge thing for me. Just the whole idea of working with the team that's that remote has had its really strange scheduling problems for us. They were having a traditional stand up style meeting at 8AM or 10AM. It was 10AM their time, which was four my time.
Beau 09:53 I started to miss out on a lot of details, because I wouldn't know what's going on, then I'll find out second hand from someone that somebody else was having an issue that I could've really helped on that I just wouldn't know about because I wasn't on any of those meetings. We tried to switch those to, at the boundary of what was acceptable for both of us. We were doing 7AM meetings my time, U.S. Central Time. I worked well for about a week. Then pretty much for two months straight I was crawling out of bed and putting my contacts in, just in time to click connect on the meeting. That just wasn't working, and I was feeling pretty down on myself. I was feeling pretty bad about how useless my contribution to the meeting was, because I was barely awake, much less knew what I was gonna work on that day or remember what kind of problems I had the day before.
Beau 10:51 I just went through that process of asking them to ... I said, "We need to either not have me at these meetings, or push it back. I know you've already pushed it back pretty late into your day, but it would really help me out a lot." Everyone was super on board, which was awesome. We actually had, pushing it back to 10AM my time, which was toward the end of their day. But just today now someone was saying, "Can we push if forward just a little bit?" We're still tweaking it. I like the fact that we can go back and forth on trying to make these things better for everybody, because right now it's at five o'clock their time, which is really close to the end of the day, but not everybody always goes all the way to five. I don't want people to feel like they have to stay until five just so they could talk for two minutes. If they have other things they need to do or whatever. We're still in the process of changing that.
Beau 11:39 That's one of those structural things that we're trying to work on, on one of the teams that I'm working with, to try and make people's lives a little better, including my own. I felt so much better for the last week on those meetings, just because I'm actually awake, and I can actually contribute to the discussions in a more meaningful way.
Eileen Webb 12:01 Yeah. It reminds me a little bit of the accessibility principle, that when you design something to work well for a less abled audience, that you almost universally are gonna create something that is better, than if you design something that works generically well for the average person. Thinking about shifting a morning stand up to an afternoon, or eventually even, if it makes sense because of the wackiness of time zones and stuff, shifting to a space where you do stand ups in Slack, or in whatever chat App you're using. If they're only gonna be a couple of sentences per person ... I've even seen Slack bots that prompt and facilitate that kind of, just a little bit of a stand up meeting for you. That's the kind of thing that, that doesn't work for every team, but the teams that it can work for, all of a sudden it's easier for people to join if they're traveling. It easier for them if they need to leave and pick up kids at daycare. There are a whole bunch of things that maybe the generic ... One size fits all doesn't really fit anyone.
Beau 13:10 Right. Yeah. Exactly. I think for me. We do have a lot of automated tools to handle some things. We've a support rotation, which was doing some weird system before. We got out of it, because we replaced one of the mail servers or something else, and everything broke. We have a new Slack bot that manages the support rotation. So people can pause themselves, un-pause themselves. It notifies everybody in the morning who's on support that day, that sort of thing, which has been really nice. But with the stand up, even if it wasn't a stand up ... That was one of the things that I proposed was, I like to talk to everybody every day. Even if it's just for two minutes, being able to do some sort of face-to-face visual thing helps me feel more part of the team. Even if it's not ticking a box like, "Oh, we had our daily stand up." Have your own stand up in the mornings, if that's better, but then let's just say hi to each other once a day, throughout the day.
Beau 14:14 It's kind of almost more important to me, because the back and forth of being able to do something more than just read what people have said. I've seen a lot of people being quite successful with automated stand ups like you're talking about, but for me, I was missing the human connection. I was really only talking to one person on the team, and the team is only like six or seven people. I felt like I was very distant from everybody else, except this one person. At least being on these sorts of meetings helped me feel more involved and raised my morale a bit. When I would hear that someone was upset, it was no longer just that other person on the team that was upset. I actually knew who they were, and we'd actually talk to each other. It helps me quite a bit, to be able to do those sorts of things.
Eileen Webb 15:00 Yeah. I think one of the interesting things about looking especially at structures and process, is looking at what people are actually getting out of them. Because what you're getting out of those meetings, it sounds like, is the update of what tickets someone finished yesterday is like, "Yeah, whatever." It's not really that big a deal, but the connection and the creation of an organizational culture, that's really important. Once you identify that, "Oh, that's the important part." Then you can tackle the problem differently. You can say, "Okay, in place of what we did today, we can do this instead." Then for the thing where I want to see the people who I work with all the time, and have a human conversation with them, there are lots of different ways you can tackle that once you realize that it doesn't have to be tied to the stand up in the morning.
Beau 15:54 Yeah exactly. You mentioned agile earlier, and I feel like, for a little while I saw a lot of people pushing for agile. More and more I'm seeing more people pushing back against agile. I think some of it comes back to what you're saying, where there's no downtime people look at ... Or people have started to look at sprints as sort of being an ongoing thing where people see it as a mini waterfall where they have to keep working. They have to keep working on it, and it's a back and forth. People just keep working on the same thing. Then it's done, and quick you gotta work on the next thing. Then it's done, you have a quick work on the next thing. There's no real, like you were saying, there's no real downtime. I feel like part of that is how people are actually trying to implement it, but also I feel like the ... In some of the teams where poker planning or whatever it is. The poker planing parties.
Beau 17:02 I always thought point of those were to talk about the work that you need to do, but all of the assumed extra work was suppose to have been just that, it's assumed extra work. I don't think you were suppose to be planning every hour of your day during those poker planning parties. If that's what people were doing, of course they're going to be on a grind, where they just keep going and going and going. Never having time to do other things, like bug fixes or having research things where they're trying to look into something new to see if they can upgrade to a different version of react, or whatever it is that they need to do. I don't know. Is that something you've run into before, where people ... Either the individuals or the management side are looking at this as, this is all the work you have to do and you're not suppose to work on anything but that.
Eileen Webb 17:54 Yeah. Absolutely. There's two things I think. One is definitely that idea that somehow the backlog represents everything that exists, when running a team and staying up to date in our industry, which obviously changes really quickly, and there's new versions of things, and security fixes and all that kinds of stuff. That is a job unto itself. That's a big thing that there's a lot of literal just kind of like ... I think of it as being overhead. There's a lot of overhead that just comes with being a present and aware person in this industry, and your backlogs, and your tickets and whatever, can't account for that. I suppose they could, but people don't make them. Then the other piece of it, which is the same thing but in a different place in the world is, is that being a human at work also is something that takes time. Having the time and the space to have good discussions with people, and to make sure that you are coming to the right conclusion, not just the conclusion that will get you finished by Friday.
Eileen Webb 19:04 All of the kind of work that goes into working with each other. If you're working on a team of ... Let's say you're on a team of six or eight people, you're not gonna get along equally well with all of them. Some people you'll be able to breeze through what you're working on together. You'll be like, "Oh, this is great." Other people, it's gonna take more time. Just literal time for you to communicate back and forth, and to make sure you're on the same page about how you're gonna approach the fix, and all that kind of stuff. That feels very normal to me. That's what it's like to work with humans. Humans are weird, and we are fickle, and we change a lot, and we all have lives outside of our office space. You don't know what's going on in someone's life on this Wednesday, and maybe it's really hot where they are, and maybe their air conditioning broke. That is going to affect how effective they are as a problem solver. I say this as I look outside and it's a hundred billion degrees, and sunny, and gross at my house.
Eileen Webb 20:11 Those are the kinds of things that, if your schedule is rigid, and if your planning process is very strict and regimented, that there's just not enough flexibility. There's not enough leeway for people to be like, "Oh, I slept really badly last night. I'm just gonna do a bunch catch up stuff today. I'm not gonna be able to do any deep brain work on this major problem we're working on." I feel like that's a normal ... Those kinds of ebbs and flows are normal and appropriate, and they don't indicate anything about anyone's skill level. Those are very normal things, but we build these structures that don't really accommodate that, and that sort of pretend that those kinds of ebbs and flows aren't part of our normal healthy person's workday.
Beau 21:02 Right. Or even, I don't know, fourth of July falling on a Wednesday, and now you have two two day weeks sort of. When schedules are too fixed, it definitely becomes more tricky to try to make those things work. Something just fell in the background. I just moved. I don't think we've talked about it too much on the podcast yet, but I'm sure I'll probably be talking about it more. Kind of like you were talking, we had an air conditioning replaced earlier this week. We had a issue with the car dealership, where we had to go do some things with the tires to get those fixed.
Beau 21:47 Those things were a lot easier to manage when I could actually get ahead of them, and tell people at 10AM, "Hey, either tell them I'm gonna be busy for half the day, or be able to email them before the meeting." Or first thing in the morning, "Hey, this thing came up. I can't do it right now." It's really nice to be able to have some flexibility there. Working from home sometimes feels like it has too much flexibility for me though. Is that something you've ever run into?
Eileen Webb 22:16 Not really. I'm not one of those people ... There are definitely people in friends and colleagues, who are like, "Oh, I wanna go to an office every day. I really like the transition." People who are like, even if they work from home, they wanna have a very distinct office space, and at the end of the day they close the door on their office, and leave that part of the house. My rule is that I cannot work in pajamas. But that's only because when I wear pajamas all day I kind of feel like I'm a little sick, because that's what I do when I'm a little sick. I leave my soft pants on all day, and wear a big poofy sweatshirt or whatever. That's my only thing is, I have to put on real clothes. But yeah, I am a person who really ... I thrive in having the ability to just go and sit on the couch for 10 minutes and do nothing, or laptop to a different part of the house. The downstairs part of my house is cooler than the upstairs right now.
Eileen Webb 23:16 The ability to go sprawl on the tile floor downstairs, because it's 12 degrees cooler than the carpeted upstairs. That kind of stuff, for me is, I don't have any sort of decision paralysis around that. But I definitely know people for whom ... They're like, it's too much. I have a friend who ended up starting a local co-working space, because he was like, "Working from home doesn't work for me. I need enough structure." Which I think is a thing that, as long as you're in a ... If you're privileged enough to be in a job position where you get to find what works best for you, it's really lovely to figure out what works for you, and to be able to set up a structure that works best for your brain, for the kind of work that you need to do in a day. Maybe even setting it up so that ... Because I work with clients in a way where I get to ... I'm usually the driver of when meetings are scheduled. I usually schedule my meetings and calls for the afternoon, because my focus is sharpest in the morning.
Eileen Webb 24:27 When I need to produce deliverables, or really think through some kind of complex problem, go really deep on something. That three or four hour chunk between breakfast and lunchtime, that's a really sweet spot for me to get stuff done. I try to not schedule any calls and meetings during that time, because I can do calls and meetings in the afternoon. But I can't write really great strategic documents in the afternoon for the most part. Figuring out things and finding what works for you ... It's a funny thing, because A, it makes my work better, which feels a little weird, because I'm like, "Yeah, I'm a more efficient cog in the capitalist machine." That's not generally my goal, but part of doing that also is that it makes me healthier. It means that at the end of the day I'd usually have a good day. I haven't had that stress of trying to do work in the wrong brain space.
Eileen Webb 25:28 Having to do deep work at a time when I'm just really distracted or vice versa. So yeah, it's a lovely thing to be able to figure out what works for you, and then to make your day fit that as much as possible. It's not always, can't do everything all the time perfect, but even just to have a sense of like, "Oh, if I could keep my Thursday mornings free." And then all of a sudden you're Thursday mornings become something different for you than just any other day.
Beau 26:03 Yeah. The closest thing I've done to that would be, for a little while I was doing a lot of onboarding sessions for Blackfire. They were getting scheduled any time of the day. Usually pretty early in the morning, but any day of the week. Things got a lot better for me when I started to realize, "I can direct them to certain days." It started to become a lot easier, because I would direct people to Tuesday or Thursday. I didn't get a lot of pushback from people. You know, of course sometimes there's edge case where it may not work, but all of a sudden I would have three back-to-back meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, and then I was done for the day.
Eileen Webb 26:47 Yeah.
Beau 26:47 That was awesome, because I didn't have to try to figure out, "Okay well, what am I gonna work on now, because I have a meeting in an hour and a half."
Eileen Webb 26:58 Yeah. Yeah.
Beau 26:59 Sometimes there was nothing. Sometimes I just wouldn't work on anything, because I knew I'd be interrupted at some random time on a Monday morning. So yeah, I think that's kind of cool too, is making sure that ... It might not always be what you expect either when you're looking at the thing, trying to find things that work for you. The other thing I've been doing more, that we've actually talked quite a bit on the podcast. I've been trying to do bullet journaling as much as I can. That does a lot for me, just because I can be a little more organized about what's coming up, but being able to see that, "Yes, I actually did stuff today." Especially working from home, working with multiple clients sometimes, and doing a bunch of really diverse things. At the end of the day it can feel like you did nothing, because there's nothing substantial. Maybe there was two meetings, and I totally don't think of those as work, but I spent four hours discussing stuff with people.
Beau 27:55 If I actually write that down, when I look at the end of day, or the next day, I can feel a little better about them. I'm like, "Oh yeah, well actually I did quite a bit yesterday." Even if it wasn't what I would normally consider as getting things done as far as tasks. I didn't write any code yesterday, but that's okay because I did all of this other stuff.
Eileen Webb 28:10 Yeah. It's really important, I think, especially if your role shifts over time. Especially if you have been doing code and you're moving a little bit more into a management space, or you're doing team leadership. So much of your work becomes communication, and ceases to be working in a text editor. You have to take some time to sort of reframe like, the thing that counts as real work is different than what it used to be. It used to be wasted time. It wasn't ever, but you know being in meetings, but sometime it felt like your productivity was measured on that as job role shift, your productivity, your markers for success have to shift also. It's sort of a perennial thing that people complain about. Those stupid little charts on Get Hub, that say like, "How much code did you contribute to open source project?" It's like, only in one particular situation is that actually a decent measure of anything. There are so many valid reasons why people would be great coders, and good contributors to open source, and not have any pretty Get Hub graph.
Beau 29:26 Exactly. That's actually more or less exactly what happened to me. I switched from being a individual contributor at the code level, to doing more product management, more customer success, client facing things. It was really difficult for me for the first six months, to really feel good about what I was doing. I felt very much like, "What's the point? I'm not contributing anything. I'm not doing anything." Then once I started paying better attention to what I was actually doing, things got a lot better for me. Where I started to realize, "Okay, I'm actually accomplishing stuff. People are happy with the work that I'm doing." It's not a bad thing if I'm not actually committing code, or I'm not actually looking at doing real work, if you will.
Eileen Webb 30:13 Yeah. Helping other people do their best work is a really noble and beautiful thing that you can do when you're working in teams in a community. We sometimes don't really recognize the value of that, unless it's a very obvious, like, this person is a COO, or something. But helping other people figure stuff out and organizing their days, and making their own space better. It's a very noble and lovely thing.
Beau 30:39 Mm-hmm (affirmative). I know that you have a hard stop coming up. Is there anything that you wanna make sure and talk about on this topic, or any other topics?
Eileen Webb 30:51 Well, I was gonna share a tweet, which I don't remember the author of. But when you were talking about looking at the end of your day and seeing what you had done. I read a tweet a couple, I think it was probably two weeks ago at this point, that said something like ... It was a person who said that they had shifted the way planned their week so that they started ... And they did this on Friday afternoon, but basically the first thing they did in the week, or the very last thing they did planning for next week, was that they figured out what would be one thing that if I got this done by the end of week I would feel awesome. They just had one thing, or maybe two small things. I started doing that, because I love playing with things like that and see how they feel. It was really neat. It's been a really neat experiment to sort of ... It's so easy, especially if you're working on lots of different projects, to have something come up, and to have a meeting pop up.
Eileen Webb 31:51 A Slack conversation that is great, and it was important that I was a part of it, but it also took 32 minutes that I thought I was gonna be able to tack onto this other hour and half, and so then it turns out that I don't have enough time left. Blah blah blah. All that kind of stuff that ends up feeling like a really fractured kind of week. So starting by saying, "Okay, my top priority this week is to get this one particular deliverable done." Or to finish filling out this audit spreadsheet or whatever it is that I'm working on, has been really neat. It's like when you find 10 minutes here and there, you can actually use them towards that ... Instead of having to figure out a new what your priorities are at any given time. There's a woman whose work I really like. Her name is Christa Scott Dickson. She works at a company called Precision Nutrition. She is a nutritionist, and also a personal trainer.
Eileen Webb 32:49 I know. It's kind of random. She also writes a lot of posts on women's weight lifting, which is how I found her in the first place. She writes these really great blog posts on the nutrition, physical trainer's blog. If you just switch the nouns out, it's about project management in tech. They're really profound and interesting about the ways that we schedule our time, and how we push through things that are difficult. They're really great. But one of the things she said at one point was the idea that your willpower is an overdrawn bank account. Willpower is what keeps you from slapping someone in the grocery store, or driving over the curb when you're frustrated on a commute or something like that. We shouldn't depend on willpower to make good decisions as we're going through our day. If you can, if it's anything ... And I think when she was writing it she was writing about food choices, about making healthy snacking choices, but I feel like it applies to everything.
Eileen Webb 33:59 Is that, if you have the ability to take some time at a time when you're not stressed out, and set up structures, so that you can just fall back on the structures, and you don't have to use willpower, then you will make better decisions. The example she gives in the snacking of snacks that aren't good for you in your house. Have healthy snacks in your house. Whatever the healthy snack is for you, have those around, and don't also have a bag of peanuts M&Ms, because then you have to use willpower to decide to eat carrots or a nectarine, or whatever, instead of peanut M&Ms, which is hard right? At the end of the day you're tired. There's all kinds of interesting brain research that shows that people actually have what amounts to a piece of their brain that acts like a muscle that you can use up willpower. If you used up your willpower doing things through the course of the day, you just literally don't have any left at the end of stressful day.
Eileen Webb 35:02 I think about that when I'm talking about scheduling and the way that I set up my office. It's like setting up rules and guidelines and structures about when I'm allowed to have meetings, and what kinds of things I have at my desk. I never ever work on weekends. That's just a thing. When I was first starting out as an independent freelancer consultant person, I definitely worked on weekends sometimes, because it's a thing you have to do when you're new, and you're not great at estimating your time schedules and things. Basically as soon as I could get away with it, I just made a rule for myself.
Eileen Webb 35:42 I was like, "I don't work on weekend." Having that rule, and having made it and decided that, meant that it was easier to stick with it. I didn't have to debate whether one particular client was worth it, or not worth it. I was like, this is just a hard rule that I made at a time when I was making sound decisions, and now I get to just rely on it all the time. I don't have to re-decide and use willpower, I just get to use the rules that I set up instead.
Beau 36:12 The thing that we always talk about with my wife and I is, the worst thing that you can ever do is to go grocery shopping when you're hungry. Sort of along the lines of willpower, because I end up getting everything that looks ever remotely delicious right then and there, and it's right in front of you so you get it. I like that idea of not relying on willpower.
Eileen Webb 36:36 Yes.
Beau 36:36 Especially when it comes to snack foods and whatnot. For my desk, something that I've been doing since last fall, is I found these amazing air plants. It's something that I haven't really ... Yeah, I haven't really been a plant person, and it always seemed that it was gonna be a lot of work. They're gonna die, that sort of thing. But these things are actually really robust, and hard to kill, although I did kill one already. It makes me smile, it makes me happy yo have these living things around me. That's one of the things that I've been doing, is paying more attention to that kind of thing. My wife and son give me a hard time, because I went on a buying spree of [inaudible 00:37:23] lights. Just because I wanted it to be nice and bright and pretty in my office. Between that and then these green plants, that's the kind of thing that I've been doing to my desk to make it more appealing or just bring me a little more peace, and less anxious. What kind of things are you doing to your desk? What things make you happy about your desk?
Eileen Webb 37:49 I have many plants. Although it's summer, so we moved them all outside. But in the winter time, especially it's even more important. We buy a lot of house plants at IKEA, because they're cheap. If you live near an IKEA, they're easy to find. If they've survived in the basement warehouse, the three months that they've been there before they got sold, then they'll do pretty well at my house. I can keep plants alive, but I feel like a plant needs to stay alive with the kind of care that I give it. I can't be fussy with it. So yeah, I love having plants around my desk. We recently rearranged the way our office spaces work, so we finally put up art that had been not up for ever and ever and ever. It's such a funny thing, because it's like, I bought this print or I was given this print as a present or whatever, because I liked it. Then of course when I walk towards my desk I'm like, "Oh, there's that lovely bird, or whatever." That's such a great thing. It's such a funny small thing, but I spend all day at my desk.
Eileen Webb 39:00 Having a nice view from it, and having curtains that I actually like, instead of just whatever random sheet we pinned up when we moved into this house 13 years ago, has made a big difference. It's worth it, assuming that it fits within your budget and your space and stuff. It's worth it to make your work space a little nicer.
Beau 39:22 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Cool. All right. Unless you have anything else, I think we might call this one done for now. Did you have anything?
Eileen Webb 39:35 No. This has been a lovely conversation.
Beau 39:37 Awesome. Well, thank you for joining us. Hopefully we can get you on again to talk about something when Dave is able to peel his eyes away from hockey. We can do a little more discussion on maybe some more techie angle things, although I think that the self care stuff is super important.
Eileen Webb 39:57 Sure.
Beau 39:59 I think we just, we haven't released it yet, but we've also done an episode on some mental health related things. All of that stuff's super important.
Eileen Webb 40:08 Nice.
Beau 40:08 Any time we get to talk about those sorts of things makes me happy. Yeah. Thank you for joining us, and we'll call this one a wrap.
Beau 40:33 You've been listening to That Podcast with Beau and Dave. You can find Beau on Twitter, and Google Plus @beausimensen, and Dave on Twitter @davedevelopment. You can subscribe to this podcast, or review it on iTunes. If you'd like to review us, but don't feel like we've earned five stars, email us so that we can talk about your issues. You can also subscribe to this podcast with RSS from our website, thatpodcast.io. From our website you can also sign up for our newsletter to get super secret extra content from Beau and Dave sent directly to your inbox. Like the music? You can thank Grillo for allowing us to sample the track Dusk Came Down for our into and outro. You can find Dusk Came Down and other track by Grillo at grillo.bandcamp.com. Spelt G-R-I-L-L-O.