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Interviews / Software Engineers & Developers

Balancing the Grind with Pedro Carrasco, Senior iOS Software Engineer at Doist

Pedro Carrasco is a Senior iOS Software Engineer at Doist, the fully remote company behind productivity apps like Todoist and Twist.

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1. To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’m currently working at Doist, the company behind Todoist and Twist, as a Senior Apple Software Engineer. My team is responsible for building these two apps for almost all platforms in Apple’s ecosystem, with iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS.

I’ve studied Software Engineering in Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, and during my degree, I’ve also interned as an iOS Software Engineer at ITSector. Once finished, I started working at Bliss Applications, where I built a bunch of applications for iPhones and iPads during my time there. Going forward to mid-2018, I’ve joined Farfetch and worked on their application for two years until I decided to leave and join Doist.

During my free time, I’m also co-organizing two events, SwiftAveiro and CocoaHeads Porto, and building open-source projects, frameworks, and CocoaHub.

2. What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My day starts when my body wants. Unless there’s a meeting early in the morning, I never set an alarm so my body can rest how much it needs without any interruption.

This has proven to make my mornings more productive and I don’t feel as stressed at night as I felt before – you know that feeling when you’re going to sleep, you set the alarm and you think: “I’ve to fall asleep fast or I’ll just sleep X hours”? That’s stressful and this method completely eliminated it for me.

I’ll usually spend most of time coding with little breaks to break the routine and recover energy. This usually means eating, spending some time with my loved ones, playing some game, or simply browsing through the internet.

Once my work is done for the day, I’ll usually try to do 3 activities pre and post dinner:

  • Work on personal projects
  • Play some games alone or with friends
  • Be with my girlfriend

In a perfect day, I’ll be able to these three, but that doesn’t usually happen, which is completely fine as long as I spend some time with my counterpart.

3. Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Doist is a remote-first company with years of learnings and achievements. The company has a huge focus on asynchronous communication and that leads to more flexibly and fewer interruptions as there aren’t many meetings nor there’s an expectation that someone will answer immediately.

This whole “framework” by Doist not only allows me to easily focus on any given task but also to disconnect when I’m not feeling productive and reconnect whenever I feel like.

For example, If I’m feeling stuck on a problem or simply tired, I can easily take a few hours off and reconnect later if I’m feeling better. Doist is output-oriented and so as long as I’m responsible and keep delivering, I can adapt my schedule to my needs.

4. What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

To me, work-life balance means that I’m able to do my work while still having time to chase my personal dreams and spend quality time with my loved ones.

Everything I do heavily focus on trying to achieve this, and Doist‘s framework is key to making this possible.

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5. What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I’m still learning as I go but tracking tasks and goals were definitely key to my success.

Every year starts with a definition of goals for it, every week starts with a definition and overview of every task I will have to or I would like to do, and every day starts with checking what I’ll have to do and how I’m my progress towards my goals.

However, tracking yourself and assigning you a bunch of tasks can also be very stressful if taken too seriously! This said, I don’t put too much pressure on myself and it’s completely fine if I miss something.

Now comes the best part, I celebrate every little achievement to keep myself motivated! From simply taking a few minutes off to see how far I have come to take some hours off and spend some quality time with my loved ones.

6. Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

If you’re someone who’d like to build a product, I highly recommend Charlie Chapman’s podcast Launched.

7. What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Every single day starts and might also end with a shower. Showers act not only as a transition and a refreshing activity but also allow me to think peacefully during it, I can’t live or work without taking a shower first!

8. If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Amir Salihefendic

9. Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

There’s no perfect solution or silver bullets to achieve perfect balance in one’s life. Everyone is different and everyone will react differently to any given lifestyle, methodology or mindset. Keep discovering yourself, keep learning what works and what doesn’t work for you, and you’ll be fine.

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.