Binge Working

A few nights ago I was working in the late evening, as I like to do, and noticed myself doing this “just one more task” kind of thing.

I’ve always thought of this as a bad thing. As something I need to overcome, or outgrow.

But now I’m not so sure.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’re all wired differently and we’re so much happier and more productive if we play to our strengths rather than try to conform to some external system.

I know some of you are thinking, “Geez, that sounds terrible. I could never live that way…”, and that’s ok. My point is that I don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” way of working anymore. And you shouldn’t either.

This is what frustrates me about so many companies and why my few experiences with employment have largely been miserable. I’m not sure I believe anymore that productivity can be forced.

I used to. I saw my lack of ability to force myself into the 9–5 as a character flaw, as laziness. I just needed to put on my big boy pants and get shit done, just like everyone other grown-up…

Not anymore. We live in an age that affords us nearly unlimited possibilities. It’s more possible than ever to create your own future and mold it however you see fit.

And that’s fucking awesome. It’s not entitlement. It’s not laziness. It’s not a problem of extended adolescence or a poor work ethic. It’s a different world. And why the hell would I not take advantage of it?

I’m so tried of always trying to conform and fit into a system that always leaves me miserable. Don’t even get me started on modern job hunting (that’s a different, much longer, and profanity-laden article).

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the term “binge working” anywhere, but it’s exactly the way I work. And it’s a completely valid, productive way of working. And, best of all, I’m … happy. Yeah, I totally am. 

Here’s the cool part. My struggle with procrastination has gotten so much better. I still procrastinate (let’s not get carried away)… But now, I don’t feel so bad about it.

Don’t feel like working? Fine. Don’t work. I know that sometime in the next 48 hours, I will feel like working, and I’ll get far more accomplished during that binge than I ever would trying to force myself to be productive right now.

I hope you’re listening, employers. If you’re so concerned about employee retention and (as you say) employee happiness, maybe start giving your employees some freedom. Treat them like, oh, I don’t know … adults? Yeah, that’s the word. Adults. If I can raise three daughters, I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to get my work done in a way that doesn’t ruin my life. And if I can’t? Fire me and hire someone who can!

Did that sound angry? Yeah, that sounded angry. Moving on…

The reason this makes so much sense to me is because I’ve noticed this pattern all over my life. Everything is a cycle of effort and recovery. I sprint and then I rest.

Think about it. Sleep, exercise, food, fun — it all follows this pattern. Well, duh, you say. But none of those things I force to happen. I eat when I’m hungry. I sleep when I’m tired. Why not work when I feel energized to work?

I know, I know. What about the guy that said “I only write when I’m inspired and I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at 9a.m.” Cool. Good for that guy. If that works for you, then do that.

But, if you’re part of the little (maybe not so little) tribe of people who like to focus on one thing at a time and milk the shit out of it (binging, I believe it’s called), then just do that and don’t feel bad about it!

This is a long way of saying, you be you. But, I think there’s actually some merit to the idea of binge-working, beyond personal preference.

Maybe it’s all semantics and I’m just rearranging the furniture. That’s possible. But, for me at least, giving it a name and embracing it, has made a big difference.

So many of our ills are self-imposed. I hereby give you permission to work how you see fit.

Now go forth and get shit done.

Also published on Medium.

Are You Trying to Build a Personal Brand?

Man, what an insane week. It's been crazy getting caught up from a short, but unexpected stay in the hospital. But on the positive side, Fall is in full bloom here in Tennessee and it's one of my favorite times of year. I hope you're having a great weekend.

Instead of the typical article I send out, I wanted to share a piece of content I heard on the #AskGaryVee Show.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a short video show (and now a podcast) where Gary answers the questions people send him.

In the latest episode he answered the question, “What would you do if you were starting all over building the “Gary Vaynerchuk brand”?

His answer hit me like a cannon. Seriously. I resonated so completely with what he said that I just couldn’t not share it with you.

If I had the ear of everyone I’m connected with online for only one second, I would tell them to stop what they’re doing and watch this five-minute clip:

In this five-minute clip Gary answers the question and it’s hands down the best advice I think I’ve ever heard related to the whole issue of “personal branding” that has consumed most of the conversations about online business.

I hope it resonates with you like it did me.

It’s Time For A Change

When I first decided to pursue a career in the web, it was because I wanted to build my own businesses and make my own things and experience the freedom of controlling my own destiny.

The web industry is a wonderful place for the entrepreneurally-minded and I definitely found those opportunities within its borders. I’ve been a freelancer now for almost five years. I built a web design and development shop from the ground up that has supported me well. I’ve had the opportunity to work with (and for) my friends, which has been truly delightful. I’ve started lots of side projects, some of which have actually turned into their own businesses (Lift Themes, WP Theory, Goodstuff), and killed even more before they ever made it out the door.

I’ve really enjoyed my time doing client work and making websites for people. But I’ve come to the realization that if I want to accomplish the things about which I’m most passionate, I can’t do it alone. And I don’t really want to, if I’m honest. The time has come to take the next step.

I’m excited to announce that, as of today, I will be joining the folks at Lift UX and UpThemes as Director of Product, which is a fancy way of saying that I’m going to be spending a lot of time doing the things I love most–brainstorming, strategizing, storytelling, breaking, fixing, building… You get the idea.

I connected with Chris Wallace and Brad Miller (the founders of Lift) over a common vision for a family of products that we’ve all been working on in various forms for some time. We’ve spent a lot of time brainstorming and sharing our ideas with each other. In the end, we decided that it made a lot more sense to join forces and make something truly great, than to go it alone.

So, what exactly is this product we’re going to build? I’m glad you asked. Coinciding with my move to Lift is the acquisition of, the first church-specific WordPress theme shop on the internet. Up until now, ChurchThemes has primarily been a provider of free and premium WordPress themes built specifically for churches. The company has seen nearly 45,000 downloads of its products in the three short years since it opened shop.

We’ve got big plans for ChurchThemes and my primary role will be overseeing and leading the charge on those plans. The long-term strategy for ChurchThemes involves a marketplace where theme sellers can offer their own church WordPress themes. The marketplace will also hook into a new hosted website solution specifically for churches. ((There are number of hosted solutions out there, but we’ve got some cards up our sleeves we’re not ready to share just yet. Think HappyTables or, but blow-your-mind-awesome!))

We’ll be releasing more information in the near future about this new venture and what we hope to accomplish with it. In the meantime, you can whet your appetite here. If you want to be among the first to see what we’re up to, get yourself on that email list.

Building a product is hard. Building a great product that changes people’s live is downright magical. But if anyone can pull it off, it’s the Lift team. They’re a group of people who really believe they can change things. And as Steve Jobs is famous for saying, it’s the people who really believe they can change the world, that actually do.