Work-work balance?


The world is coming to realize that working too many hours is counterproductive. You can’t do your best work if you’re always exhausted, or win friends and influence people if you’re always grumpy.

We all need time off. Which is why folks are talking about and starting to implement a shorter work-week.

That might be a problem for those who bill by the hour, which is why I stopped doing that years ago and have urged you to do the same. A lawyer’s value is (should be) measured by the value you create for your clients, not the time it takes you to create it. If you can create that value in a four-day week instead of five (or more), why wouldn’t you?

But there’s more to work-life balance than the number of hours worked. Creating balance can also be achieved by changing how you do what you do.

The CEO of Doist, creator of the Todoist app, manages his time a bit differently:

Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Doist, prides himself on having a nearly empty calendar. “Being in meetings all day long, resolving things via meetings, that’s not really an effective way to scale and grow,” he said. Instead, he’s become a loud evangelist over the last year of the idea that remote and asynchronous work — or async — are the future. Async boils down to this, Salihefendic said: “When you send a message, you don’t expect a response right away.”

So what does a truly async day look like? For Salihefendic:

A couple of hours with his kids in the morning before walking over to a co-working space.

He tries to do deep work all morning, take time in the middle of the day to recharge and then spends the afternoon catching up on messages and the rest.

If there’s something hugely time-sensitive — which Salihefendic bets is true less often than you think — he turns to Telegram, or (gasp) a phone call.

Since nobody expects Salihefendic to be around every second, he said, nothing bad happens when he’s not.


A non-traditional approach may work for some (enlightened) corporations, but would it work for lawyers?

Show of hands: Who wants to find out?