As many other software engineers, I tend to have some strategies and opinions on how to manage my time. My habits allow me to have high-impact output while not runing my mental health.

Still, it feels like our collective grind culture could do with some makeovers. Even if we manage time (and let’s not talk about the irony of calling our time-spending time “management”), we’re doing it with heavily limiting constraints: from outside pressure to internal expectations on our productivity. It doesn‘t feel easy to change what seems set in stone.

We all know that working 40 hours per week leaves us with almost no actual free-time. I‘m not talking about the time you need to recover from work, but actual time where you don‘t feel any pressure of productivity. Care work also eats up tremendous amounts of time, often not fairly divided amongst partners, communities and other human living arrangements.

But I feel that there is a way to break out of that cycle, since it‘s a cycle that is not sustainable and often costs precious energy and even our health. 2023 is still fresh, and for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the winter months and their dark days provide a great reason to read some books.

To start re-thinking about how we spend our time, I have a set of books that I often recommend to friends: