The Programmer’s Guide
to a
Sane Workweek

Before you can get to a sane workweek, you need to know what a crazy workweek looks like.

Are you stuck at work after 5PM, worrying about the code you need to deliver the next day? Is your life consumed by your job? Do your evenings and weekends belong to your boss, not to you? Do you find yourself constantly on-call: answering emails late at night, fixing bugs that could’ve been avoided if someone had consulted you before setting your deadlines?

That’s not a sane workweek.

Are you spending hours commuting to work every day? Are you wasting your life stuck in traffic, going forward and stopping, going forward and stopping, over and over again, producing nothing, doing nothing, just slowly in inching forward, every morning and every evening?

That’s not a sane workweek.

When you do have spare time do you find yourself worried about keeping your skills competitive? Are you constantly worried that you need to spend what little time you have left to yourself learning the latest web framework or programming language? Writing software for a living can, if you’re not careful, turn into a life consumed by work by you hate.

That’s not a sane workweek.

You can have a sane workweek

There is an alternative. You can have a life and a job. You can have more time: time for your friends and family, time for hobbies, time to just run errands without eating up your whole weekend.

I say this because I’ve done it. At different points in my career I’ve been:

It’s not just me. Other software engineers I’ve met and interviewed have also reached a sane workweek; some with many years of experience, some just a few years out of school.

And if you want to achieve a sane workweek, you can do it too. And to help you get there, I’ve written a book: The Programmer’s Guide to a Sane Workweek.

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If you’re ready to get started on your journey to a sane workweek, you can buy the book now for $29.

Some paths to a sane workweek

A sane workweek means different things to different people. Depending on what it means to you there are different ways to reach your goal:

The Programmer’s Guide to a Sane Workweek devotes a full chapter to each path, covering:

For some paths I have personal experience I can rely on. When I didn’t I have tried to find the best advice possible from relevant experts, and to interview other programmers who have gone down that path.

Read a free excerpt from the book

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If you’re ready to get started on your journey to a sane workweek, you can buy the book now for $29.

The skills you’ll need

Depending on your particular goal and the path you choose you will need different skills, but at a bare minimum you will need:

The Programmer’s Guide to a Sane Workweek has a full chapter on each set of skills, with practical ideas to get you started, and pointers to further resources.

Read a free excerpt from the book

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If you’re ready to get started on your journey to a sane workweek, you can buy the book now for $29.

Who this book is for

The book is aimed at programmers like you who want to work a sane workweek. And in particular, the book is aimed at programmers with a few years of work experience.

With less experience that that, if you’re just getting started at your first job, some of the advice will be harder to execute or to understand. But it will provide some helpful suggestions, and prove even more useful as time goes on.

And if you’ve got many years of work experience, and have already negotiated a higher salary or a shorter workweek, then this book might not teach you anything new.

About the author

Hi! I’m Itamar. I’ve been writing software since 1995 or so. As an employee I’ve worked for companies small and big, ranging from 8 person startups to a year at Google as a product manager (my previous employer got acquired). And as a consultant I’ve written software for a similarly broad range of companies.

As far as I can remember, certainly in the past 10 years, I’ve never worked more than 40 hours a week. Sometimes I’ve worked remotely, more often in person. But regardless of where and how, I’ve not needed to work long hours: my employers and clients have always been happy with the work I produce.

Now, you could argue that the causality goes from happy employer to ability to work shorter hours. And there’s something to that. But a lot of my shorter workweeks were not something I switched to, but something I started with. For example, at one point I suffered from a repetitive strain injury which meant I couldn’t work long hours even if I wanted to. And I also spent a few years as the primary caretaker for my kid when she wasn’t in daycare, limiting how many hours I could work.

As a result, I think the causality goes the other direction: working shorter hours forced me to become a more effective programmer. Based on my own experience, which happens to be backed up by over a century of research, I believe long hours are bad for everyone, workers and employers. So I wrote this book, in the hopes of helping you and other programmers get to a sane workweek just like I have.

What you’ll get

When you buy the book you’ll get:

Here’s the table of contents:

Read a free excerpt from the book

Enter your email and you’ll get a free excerpt from The Programmer’s Guide to a Sane Workweek.

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If you’re ready to get started on your journey to a sane workweek, you can buy the book now for $29.

Still on the fence?

If you’ve got more questions, email me and I’ll do my best to answer.

And if you’re not interested in buying the book, here’s something else that might interest you: you can join more than 1900 other programmers and start learning from my free weekly Software Clown email, covering my two decades’ worth of programming and career mistakes.