Dr. Heidi Seibold

What is enough? - a reflection ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Published about 1 year agoย โ€ขย 4 min read


What is enough? Enough money? Enough impact? Enough free time? These are questions I am asking myself these days and I hope to spark some ideas for you by telling you about my situation. Because I believe that always focusing on "more" can be dangerous, but "enough" is our calming friend.

Money ๐Ÿ’ถ

I just made a list of all the work projects I have lined up for this year to assess if I will earn enough money. As an Open Science Freelancer I make money through trainings, development of learning material (e.g. videos), consulting, event organization and event moderation.

I don't need a lot: My husband and I share a small 50sqm apartment, don't have a car, get around by bike most of the time. My most expensive hobby is skiing and otherwise I enjoy hanging out with friends, cycling, gardening and just generally things that have to do with nature and don't cost a lot. So money-wise my "enough-number" is pretty low and with the projects I have lined up now, I am already reaching my goal. Wow! Feels pretty good ๐Ÿ˜Œ.

Impact ๐Ÿ“

But making enough money is just one goal I have for my business. I have this business, because I want to have an impact on the way we do research. I want to help researchers achieve their goals. So, do I make enough impact?

There is no "enough-number" with impact for me. It is not a number or a set of criteria. It's more of a gut feeling at the moment, which I think is fine. At the moment I am fully content with the impact I am having.

Almost 1000 people subscribe to my newsletter and some posts get a lot of traction even beyond my subscribers (e.g. "Why leaving academia helped me do more for science" led to lots of important conversations). I get to teach lots of researchers in my trainings and have filled all seats in the Open Science Retreat I am organizing.

I can have even more impact and create more lasting, positive change in science and even tough I am happy with my impact right now, I feel that with just a little risk taking I could help more people. I am currently trying to figure out which steps to take in order to help even more people even better. Currently all signs hint that it will involve hiring people, which is really scary to me and which is why I am struggling with taking the next steps towards more impact. I am struggling to figure out for myself to know "enough" with impact, but I am trying to allow myself the time I need to take the steps at my own pace. Or at least I am trying to find a balance between my wanting to help everyone who asks for help and the other things that matter, like my stress level and my free time.

Free time ๐Ÿ•

My friends and family, hobbies and holidays are really important to me. I take rest and sleep seriously not only because they help me to do a better job, but because they help me lead a good life. Do I have enough free time? I think so. I am taking time for holidays, I have only worked on one weekend thus far (and only because I was going on holidays right after ๐Ÿ”๏ธ) and I am working less hours than I used to as a researcher. Feels good. Feels enough.

In the summer I will take 7 weeks in which I will not work on other people's projects. I need time to look at what I've achieved so far and where I want to go next with my business. So far everything has been going really well but also really fast and I need time to reflect. But I also want time to go on bike tours, hang out in the garden, spend time with loved ones.

I know that I am extremely privileged to have an "enough free time" section in this post. At the same time I think a lot of my readers could afford more free time if they'd be willing to think in terms of "enough" rather than in terms of "more".

How about you?

Could you reduce your working hours and still have enough money? Could you have more leisure time and still have enough impact at work? Maybe even more, because your mental and physical health improves? Especially in research we do a lot of mentally strenuous work and it helps to ensure enough rest in order to do good work.

Enough vs More

I worry about the climate crisis. Thinking about the climate crisis and my own role in the world, I have spent time learning about veganism, tiny living, slow travel, transition towns, frugalism and more. To me it feels like a good future is possible if we think in terms of "enough": enough living space, enough consumption, enough mobility. But having a simpler lifestyle than a lot of my peers also allows me to have other things: freedom to take risks, headspace to try the unconventional, contentment with my footprint that I will leave behind.

"More" on the other hand is starting to feel to me like a danger: When I think "more", I think burnout, loss of friendships, loss of trust (in research and beyond). And like in research I think quality is better than quantity and enough is better than more. For some things, more is great! But it's usually the things that aren't measured by productivity and success, such as family time.


I hope you enjoyed my pondering of the week.

All the best,


P.S. If you're enjoying this newsletter, please consider supporting my work by leaving a tip.


Heidi Seibold, MUCBOOK Clubhouse, Elsenheimerstr. 48, Munich, 81375
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Dr. Heidi Seibold

All things open and reproducible data science.

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