David van Beveren

Founder & President @ Vegan Hacktivists
436 karmaJoined May 2021


David van Beveren is Founder and President of Vegan Hacktivists. In 2019, he created the organization to address gaps in technology & data for the animal protection movement. Since founding, VH has supported over 200 organizations with its services. Prior to Vegan Hacktivists, David ran a software company for K-12 and higher education institutions across the U.S. David is passionate about technology and capacity building. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching anime, and playing handpan.

How I can help others

Feel free to reach out to me at anytime if you're working in animal advocacy of of any kind and I'd be glad to offer support.


I'm not the OP but according to this post, that should be perfectly fine— especially if you don't mention voting what-so-ever. The idea is that upvotes and downvotes occur naturally and internally by the reader with no outside influence (or as little as there can be).

Sharing is simply sharing, and we should encourage it.

Love the questions! I'll give it a go because I love discussions on productivity and workload like these.

  • How many hours is your standard workweek? Why do you work that many hours rather than fewer or greater?
    • I work around 60 to 80 hour workweeks, depending on social events, my sleep quality, and the weather. I only reach 80 hours on crunch time with certain projects I want to prioritize at work.
    • I love the work I do and the people I work with so much so that it doesn't feel like "work" for me. I wouldn't work fewer because I wouldn't know what to do with the free time that would give me as much pleasure or sense of accomplishment as it does.
  • How do you stagger your working hours across a day or week?
    • I use Pomodoro apps/extensions at 2 hour intervals, with 15 to 30 minute breaks in-between. My shorter breaks involve snacking, watching youtube, chatting with friends. Longer breaks include taking a walk outside (which helps me think about my tasks for the day), or watching a show on Netflix.
    • I take a 1 hour lunch break and 1 hour dinner break, and usually pass out on 12 on-the-dot and give myself 30 minutes of sleep opportunity, usually getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep.
    • I'll take at least one day a week completely off and do something entirely different from work, such as volunteering somewhere for the day or practicing playing music or some other skill.
  • Of your working hours, how many do you feel are actually productive versus, say, time spent scrolling Twitter or getting more coffee?
    • I block most apps and have a focus mode on my computer and phone, so this helps me stay productive - but I'd say I'm only truly productive about 70% of the time, where the other 30% I'm still productive, but the speed of my work decreases. My productivity and focus are very much attached to how well I slept, and if there's sunshine out (I have seasonal affective disorder which requires me to travel a lot if I want to maintain productivity and just general mental health).
  • Does your employer have policies in place around how many hours you must work, the maximum number of hours you are permitted to work, and/or time tracking systems?
    • I set my own hours/tracking systems, thankfully!
  • How has this changed for you over time?
    • Productivity is a skill that I'm constantly honing and improving, the minute I think I have a system down, I find a new and better way. I think productivity isn't just tied to your ability to do direct work, but also your ability to automate tasks, delegate tasks to others, and choose the tasks that bring the most value for buck.
      • 3 years ago I worked around 30-40 hours a week, and I've slowly over time increased that through the above.
    • I read books, blogs, watch videos, and constantly experiment with new tools, apps, extensions.
    • I'd say the two largest changes over time for me was when I used to separate work from both my social and romantic life.
      • People told me that as a general rule of life, you require balance between social groups, and that I needed to separate my social life and work social life— this I've found later to be completely untrue, at least for myself. I've increased my productivity at minimum 3x from combining.
      • Most say that dating anyone you work with can be messy. I actually do find that to be true, that there is a much larger potential for conflict in work. That said, I do think that the benefits of dating people that you also work with is greatly undervalued because most are not willing to take on the effort to maintain healthy boundaries and communication during work, or lack the ability to separate it.
        • Note: This doesn't mean I think you should be hitting on your co-workers, in-fact, the very opposite, please don't— this is only for very specific circumstances.

I would generally never recommend working more than 60 hours, let alone 80. I think the conditions for me as an individual line up well, but for most, do not— and the burnout can be catastrophic. For example:

  • My social life is my work life. Social lives separated from work have the potential to take a lot of time out of your day, not just physical time, but also mentally. Mine is all the same, and so we tend to chat about work, which makes me more productive and focused.
  • You have to have optimal health and sleep. Working long hours will take a toll on your mental and physical health. Good, consistent and deep sleep will do wonders on your mental health and ability to work throughout the day. Good exercise and nutrition will give you the physical and mental energy to take on tasks as-well.
  • I truly love my work, and I'm truly passionate about it. The old trope "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." rings very true for myself and I suspect it will for others. It takes less energy away from you if you want to do something, or feel satisfaction from your work, and thus you can work more.
    • Bonus points if the work you do gives you a sense of belonging to a community, meaning to your life, and impact on others.

Anyways, those are my thoughts! Keen to see what other people post or think about this. I agree that we should be more open to talk about this, and to not make this a shame or competition— we all have different brains, mental and physical health, and external factors that can change how productive we are, or even what we consider productive.

For anyone interested, here's a great blog post (from one of our own here) Marius Hobbhahn titled "Guide for Productivity" that I think is a fantastic guide for anyone looking to increase their hours without burning out. For those wondering how sleeping more can actually give you more hours in the day to work, check out Matthew Walker's "Why We Sleep". Lastly, Atomic Habbits is a life-changing book for productivity trill seekers.

I would also suggest that if you can work less hours but increase your productivity, to go for it. Hours ≠ productivity. Cheers!

You guys are doing fantastic work, thanks for posting a detailed look at your programs, funding gap, and the organization itself. I'm especially excited about the capacity building potential your Regranting programme will have in Africa, I hope your team will be able to raise the funds.

On that same note, Vegan Hacktivists may be able to offer free websites, branding and advisory support for organizations and advocates you run across or work with in Africa . If you'd like, shoot us a message and let's have a chat about where we might be able to support your mission.

Thanks again for posting, and good luck!

Great post, thanks for highlighting the issue here and for the fantastic references.

Hi Joe,

Thanks so much for this amazing feedback!

I see you solved the issue with Donorbox, thanks for the donation! We'll look into if our name might be causing issues, appreciate the note.

I'll try to respond to all of your feedback below:

  • Promising directions: This sounds like a really important addition to add, agreed! Not sure if we can do a whole page (we really have to be careful to not make the site too large, there's so many pages that could be added) but we could add this in an existing page for sure.
  • Vivid picture: Can't agree more. We're really trying to strike a balance of what we show, but I think what you've outlined makes a lot of sense. Appreciate the link to the videos, I'm going to bring this back to the team to see how we can accomplish this.
  • Worms / insects: Interesting point. This sounds like a larger discussion to be had with the folks who researched the content and strategy, I'll bring this back to them - thanks!
  • Even worse page: We fully agree! We'll ask our illustrator to update this in our next round of updates, nice catch.
  • Video player: We just fixed this, let me know if you still have to click twice! This was a bug that wasn't intended to happen but was happening on Chromium based browsers.
  • Other resources: Agree! We're going to make the tabs on the desktop format sticky so no matter how low you scroll, you'll notice that there's other sections. We want to avoid using the mobile format for desktop in order to keep the page a reasonable length. Hopefully this is a good middle-ground solution!

We can't thank you enough for the really detailed feedback, appreciate it! I'm sending over all of these notes to the team, and if you have any more comments, feel free to message me directly!

Hi Ariel,

Thanks for the compliment and feedback!

We do have an internal discovery process that our projects go through that includes project hypothesis, investigation on use-cases, validation, prioritization, markcomms strategy, guerrilla testing, etc. You can get a peak of the process here, although it's not a complete view.

We concluded that we wanted our two target audiences to be folks who care about wild animal welfare/suffering, and advocates in vegan spaces focused on factory farming— so we built the website with that in mind. That said, we hope it appeals to EA/rationalists and normal folks in some way, but we're always looking to improve if we're missing that target.

I'll send this feedback back to the team for review, appreciate the question! 

Hey JP,

Thanks so much— I've forwarded your feedback to Kate, I'm sure she'll appreciate it!

I noticed you're a software engineer here, if you'd ever like to jump on a call with me to just chat and pick each others brains, feel free to message me. I run a tech based capacity building organization called Vegan Hacktivists and our work often intersects with EA-aligned orgs working in the farmed animal space.

Thanks again, cheers!

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