Nathan came to me, talking about how he was going to try altering his sleep patterns to give himself more time in the day. He’d read that “polyphasic sleep” (where you take short naps at regular intervals instead of one long kip at night) meant you could gain an extra two or three hours in your working day. This sounded very familiar to me; years earlier I remember trying the exact same experiment.
It didn’t work.
Nathan and I sat down and went through his workload. Projects were running late, clients weren’t happy and money was tight.
Stage one was to deal with the overwhelm. We divided the work up by urgency and financial impact. These projects are the priority, these ones are the second phase, these will have to wait. Let your clients know the score and keep in touch with them and they will be fine – they already know you’re struggling, this will show them that you’ve got it in hand.
This bought Nathan some time. But the real problem was why the projects were running late in the first place.
We instituted a system of “story points” so we could estimate each piece of work (notoriously hard to do in the tech world) and then measure the accuracy of those predictions.
The results were shocking.
Nathan was literally a 10x programmer. Tasks that took him an hour would take the other three developers on his team 10 hours. Every time a task was assigned to the staff, Nathan was literally losing money. Yet the developers got paid, without fail, every month while Nathan went without.
No wonder his stress and anxiety levels were through the roof.
The hardest part was yet to come. Dealing with the productivity gap needed some difficult conversations. Things came to a head and two of the developers left of their own accord. The third one agreed to change how they worked and learn from Nathan’s best practice.
“I’d like to give a shoutout to Baz for taking the time … to help me plan and organise a strategy to tackle the ever increasing workload we’re experiencing. He’s definitely the man with the plan … how to make more profit and become a more effective business” – Nathan Thomas
Things aren’t perfect now – it’s still a struggle at times and not every project comes in on time. But getting an outside perspective and targeting higher value clients has meant that the business has survived and Nathan now gets enough sleep. In fact, he doesn’t work after 6pm and takes every weekend off to spend with his partner.
From overwhelmed to relaxed, from rushed off his feet to living a good life.