Like most everyone who works hard in our industry, I’ve run into more than a few conflicts trying to balance work and life. Personally, the further I progress in my career, the blurrier the lines become between work time, family/me time, and just plain lazy downtime. It’s quite easy to say that you’re going to spend X hours at work, and the rest of the time is mine, but the reality is that that this rarely occurs as planned. Systems break down, executives create last-minute projects, direct reports need attention, and a thousand other things have a way of derailing your plans to be home in time for The Office. Further, it’s terribly easy to keep working even while physically separated from the workplace; VPN and mobile connectivity are great tools but make it very easy to forget you’re actually at home.
To help me make sure that I get a sufficient amount of downtime, and frankly, to keep myself out of the doghouse at home, we’ve set up two family nights a week. Wednesday and Saturday nights are now sacred, reserved for the members of my real “core team”. We have agreed, barring any real work emergencies, to disconnect completely on those nights and spend time together playing games, going out for the evening, or just hanging out. This is a new approach for us, one that I am optimistic about, and I’ll be glad to share the results in a few months.
I’d be interested to hear any other strategies to deal with this. How do you keep your bills paid and your career moving forward while reserving enough time for yourself and your family?