Embrace Constraints

Constraints are always with us. And that’s a good thing.

We sometimes feel like we have unlimited time, unlimited resources and unlimited energy. But that’s not how the universe works. We are constrained, all the time.


It is great to acknowledge constraints but what’s even better is to act on it.

I’m trying to balance four things these days:

  1. Employment
  2. Starting my own business
  3. The administrative chores caused by this switch
  4. Family

Even though it can all fit into my time schedule, it hits another constraint — my energy. And maintaining this state for a longer time would corrupt my health and my well being. I have too many balls in the air.

I love constraints. I love them because they push me to prioritize. And prioritization forces me to search for an answer to the ultimate question:

What makes me happy?

Someone may wonder what is so damn painful about prioritization. Well, saying no is. Letting go is hard. But in the end, it’s a healthy and delightful feeling. The empty space left by the less important stuff will give you freedom. You can focus on what’s really important to you and what makes you happy.

So, how does this apply to my situation? I had to decide:

Should I quit my regular job earlier?
Should I postpone starting my own business?
Can I skip some administrative tasks or do it smarter?
Can I spend less time with family?

Well, all of that.

I will quit by the end of May instead of mid-June. Hey, that’s less than three weeks away!

I stopped almost all activities related to Wind Freaks. It can wait. It can wait one more month.

Not all administrative tasks were really necessary. And the ones that were, I’m trying to accomplish faster without burning my limited energy on never-ending decisions.

I spend less time with my family. But when I do, they have my full attention. I love walking with my daughter in the evening. We stop every two meters to observe and explore something interesting.

This makes me happy. Thank god for the constraints!

PS: Feel free to apply this in product management: Say no = embrace constraints → focus + clever solutions instead of brute force → better product → happier customers → win-win → world-scale happiness.

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