Relax, Chill and maybe Blog


Cloudy Day In Miami. Miami Beach View

The blogosphere’s reaction to the attention-grabbing headline in The New York Times is equally attention-grabbing. Having lived through a health scare, I have a different perspective on not only this whole blog thing but on life, some of which I have shared in the past with the readers of this blog.

Suffice to say the problems in my case were brought on by a combination of factors, including the 24/7 lifestyle, bad health choices and yes, a desire to do everything. My doctors told me that if you are going to spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a computer screen at night, you might have a tough time going to sleep. The screen flicker makes your eyes, and your mind, think it’s daytime, hence you have trouble sleeping.

If you drink too much coffee, you are going to have trouble sleeping. If you don’t sleep your heart works longer hours and has to pump more blood and is under stress. Problems get compounded when you are a smoker, are overweight, lead a sedentary life (phone/computer) and/or are on a plane constantly.

Those were my issues, and I think are some of the same issues experienced by fellow bloggers, startup founders, journalists, corporate lawyers, cab drivers, Wall Street analysts and presidential candidates. They’re also issues many people in Silicon Valley deal with on a day-in, day-out basis but refuse to acknowledge. Do yourself a favor: Get yourself checked out by a doctor.

Having walked away alive from my health problems, I have learned a few lessons, some of them I have shared with friends, who reminded me about why I really started to blog in the first place. One of those truths in the words of my blogging guru, Doc Searls, one is about chilling out. Blogging doesn’t need to be a race. Really.” Sometimes you need to learn these lessons the hard way. I certainly have.

That is why I am in Miami this weekend — little bit for work, but mostly to sit in the Sun. Too bad, the Sun god isn’t cooperating today.


tiny digit

Hi there! This is a good piecing reminder on the need to maintain work-life balance, opps should be blog-life balance.
You take care and have fun in life.
It is so very often that we want to blog about everything and anything, even more the more thematic ones, they would want to blog about everything and hope that they can share, tell others, instruct, generate traffic, publicize and so on. Its all about balance fo the sake of long term sustainability and identitiy.

Michael @ seog

The article definitely highlights the need for all technology workers and those intent on a 24/7 lifestyle to take breaks and reset. Meditation and yoga are a great way to do that, as well as exercise and breaks for rest. There is more scientific evidence that a program of meditation can decrease stress in the body and actually change brain structure, leading to a calmer and less stressful existence. Even just 15 minute breaks twice a day are enough to produce lasting impact and change the quality of your life.


Om Malik

@ Roger Jennings

Maybe tomorrow night. today was too mellow to do anything.

@ SRK, you have a very valid point. I just think despite the challenges, some minor behavior modifications can help go a long way.

@ Trevor: Spot on brother.

@ Sean: I just needed a HA to get that message through to me again.

Doc Searls


Thanks for the kind words. I do remember when you were starting out, and asked me for advice and stuff. It’s been gratifying to watch your growing success in life. And I’m extremely pleased that you lived through your recent “lesson”, and are doing fine.

I’m also glad you’re chilling out. Even if it’s in Miami. (Which has been blistering hot every time I’ve been there.)

Anyway, so here I am, overweight, 60, and watching the flickering screen too late at night, getting ready to take advice from both of us. :-)


Easier said than done!!! When the CIO’s and CEO’s are only too happy to sign on the dotted line of outsourcing agreement and the average IT guy here in the USA has been under the gun for the last few years – and their are mortgages and college fees to pay – how exactly you propose us to lead a stress free life? Enough of this preaching!!

Trevor Speirs

I am glad you are doing much better. I am a big fan of the insight you bring to this area.
My 2 cents:
Blogging is not a race. If all you bring to the discussion is being the first to talk about a topic, then you deliver little value to the community. As long as you bring real insight when the topic is fresh (say within the last 24 hours), that delivers real value to me.


For one of my sites we dropped from posting several times a day to only several times a week…and traffic went UP.

Explain that.

My guess: quality over quantity. And I’m much less stressed while I’m at it.


I’m just a blog reader and I find it exhausting keeping up. I can’t imagine the pressure. I’m a writer who works at home but my deadlines are months away, not hours or minutes. My sleep patterns are all out of whack. I felt a LOT better when I took daily 45 minute walks and I think I’m going to start that up again…it’s not only good for your body but it clears out your brain from information overload. Just too much damn stimulation.

Eric Rice

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about my own health because of all of the above. And I’m not even 40.

Thanks for the post, Om, and helping us to chill.

Jeff Bean


Thanks for the sanity check. One NYT headline and three blogger heart attacks (including yours) does not make an alarming industry trend. Plenty of stress in the world to go around in all types of professions as you rightfully point out.


Jay Gould

Hey brother! Wow, this post is an eye opener. I’m definitely going to book an appointment for an annual checkup, which I haven’t done in about 3 years. Like may founders, I sit behind my computer screen or am on the phone over 10 hours a day – everyday. My life has become very sedentary over the last 7 years. For the next 7 days I am going to be down in Southwest Florida though, I need a little R&R before my doctor’s visit. Take care!


So computers or better computer networks triggered an industrial revolution after all. Only it’s a reverse one. Instead of letting people work less and get better heath, it’s the opposite. People work more and it might kill them earlier, guess we will know in another decade.


I think spending all day in front of a computer is possible – and getting to sleep can still be very easy, but you have to get a significant amount of exercise during the day – as much exercise as you would get if you had a meaningful job that included some kind of actual labor.


Hi Om:
Interesting points. Hope you have fun in Miami. Away from all the Silicon Valley noise. Having started blogging myself for couple of months now, I can definitely say it takes a toll on your life big time. I guess the race to become popular or the lucrative money that comes with blogging makes it even more difficult to go slow. So, what do u think is the solution to this big problem that is slowly becoming the silent killer? Is being an entrepreneur bad or it’s just that you pay for what you want. My point is, if you want to be successful in any of these arena you mentioned, it needs enormous amount of hard work, dedication, energy and time. Does it mean, u have to decide whether u are cut out for this before you take a plunge. Would love to hear your insights on this.


Om Malik

@ charles cooper,

sun’s out, sitting by the pool, look at the ocean (gorgeous ladies) and getting ready to fall asleep reading a book. perfect. you guys debate, joost-microsoft-yahoo and everything else. i am out for the day!

charles cooper

true words, brother om. hope the weather turns better for you. i shouldn’t tell you this, but it’s gonna be another gorgeous day in the bay :)

Om Malik

@ Jackson West,

Amen to that. In fact Cardian-related diseases are becoming the silent killer not only in the US but also in new emergent economies like India as well. Reason: globalization is making too-much-work mentality as pervasive as Big Macs, Nokias and Coca Colas.

Om Malik

@ Hanz I feel you. I have to always remind myself of the truism of the statement you just made

Hans-G. Hinz

hi Om,

at first sorry about my bad “german”-english. OK: i had an heart attack too, in the last year, i was six month ill and it was very strong. So i can understand you very well. I hope, your don´t will forget jour good plans (relax, chill and mybe blog). Life ist so short … sometimes. Best regards. HGH

Jackson West

What the article fails to mention is that heart disease is endemic in America generally. Pretty specious to cite three cases (including yours) and suggest that the blog business is to blame. I think the level of stress in American life is going up across the board thanks to changes in employment practices. Say what you will about organized labor, but you can thank unions for the 40 hour work week, health care and workplace safety laws.


You are absolutely right. Blogging is fun, and can be lucrative, but shouldn’t be one’s life — or cost someone their life. Thanks for the perspective.

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