Work | Life Balance

I have this problem.

I have 2 notebooks.

The first is one that I use during work hours to jot notes down throughout the day. I am a Product Manager by day, so there are tons of things I just can’t trust my brain to retain, so I write a lot of things down.

The second is one that is more or less a journal. It’s much more personal than just a list of task or project requirements. This is what I use when I’m taking notes during church, or while I’m reading a book.

It seems like a simple problem, but it goes deeper. I have this idea that there can be separation of work and life. Like you clock into one just after clocking out of the other. Some of this all steams from a season of gross imbalance in my life. My wife and I had just had our first baby and life was busy. I started taking on client work on the side to help cover my wife’s income that we were no longer getting because she was staying home with the baby. This ended up being about 6 months of me working nearly every night until after midnight.

The work was a blessing because it helped us get into our first home and helped provide for us financially for that time. Unfortunately, my relationship with my wife started to suffer. She was a trooper, but she was ready for me to be there…without my computer in my lap.

Fast forward a bit. I’m at an amazing company that meets our financial needs and even gives me the flexibility to work remotely a few days a week. I love what I do and the team I get to work with. I love my wife and daughter and the time I get to spend with them. It’s a pretty sweet setup. I still do little bits of side work here and there, but it’s a bonus and not necessity anymore.

I think because I worked so much before, I have become scared to work after hours. Like I’m going to fall down that hole again. Here’s the problem… I love what I do. I genuinely love it. I’m in a lead role, so sometimes that means I have to spend some time in the evenings fixing something or talking a team member off the ledge, but it’s pretty rare.

Sometimes creativity hits and it’s 8:30pm. Sometimes I just get the urge to work on something. I would typically rather be on my laptop than be playing a video game or doing the things I use to do in my free time. Sometimes that is ok.

I really don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. I guess the point is, I’m learning there must be balance, but balance doesn’t look like work from 8-5 and then shut your work brain down.

Someone I work with recently told me that there is no difference between work and life. He is probably right.

I think I just need 1 notebook.

When I’m my best self

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately. Honestly, I have felt a bit off for quite some time now. I can’t really put my finger on when this change happened, but I can clearly look back to a time in my life where I feel like I was a much better version of myself.

I don’t want to be too negative, there have been so many things that have happened in my life over the last 2 years that have stretched me beyond anything I thought I was capable of being. I am now not only a husband, but also a father. I’ve taken on more responsibility in my job. I am a homeowner. So many new things have happened the last couple of years.

For some reason though, I just feel disconnected.

I’m really trying to think through why that is and what I’m missing. I know that I’m growing. I know that there are areas in life that I am much better today than I was 2 years ago. That being said, I feel like there are some things that were present in my life then that aren’t there now.

I’m not reading or writing like I use to.

I miss the days that I read and really dug into theological topics. This is how I wrestled with God. This is how I found out who He is and who I am because of that.

I need to remember this is a process. Sometimes I get discouraged because I want results. I have become completion oriented in my way of thinking. When I have a free evening, I tend to think of things I can start and finish that night.

I’m not really sure what this looks like. I don’t even want to put some type of schedule or routine to it. I just want it to be a priority, like it was before.

Living to your full potential

The 2015 NBA Finals just finished up last week, and I caught myself seeing more than just some guys playing a game with a ball on the tv. This year, I noticed a select few individuals that really stood head and shoulders above the rest.

There is a popular video going around now that keys in on Steph Curry’s work ethic, and the fact that his success is not an accident. See, I use to think that there were just people who were destined to be great. A few years ago, I would have looked at Steph and said, ‘It’s crazy to see people who are doing what they were designed to do.’ Now, to a degree, there is truth in that. But at the end of the day, Steph wasn’t designed to be a basketball player. If he wanted too, he could of done a handful of other things with his life.

He was, however, called to follow Christ, and called to lead his family with love and humility. That is something he could have done with any career choice.

When he decided to pursue the game of basketball, he did it with everything he had. He didn’t go at it half-hearted. He trained for hours and hours to perfect a skill that would allow him to be one of the best players in the NBA.

There is something inspiring about seeing someone be the best at whatever it is they may be doing.

I wonder what it would look like if more people gave that kind of devotion to their passion. It doesn’t have to be basketball. What can I do as a web developer to push myself to be one of the best? Why am I not doing that?

Life is too short to just float by and be average. I want to be someone that people look up to and say, ‘that’s a guy thats giving it everything he has.’ More importantly, when they look at me, I want them to see me loving and leading my family, and being loved and lead by Christ.

Imposter Syndrome

As a web developer, my greatest struggle is believing in my knowledge and worth.

No matter how much my skill level may increase, it seems as though it’s never good enough. There is always someone out there that knows more than I do, or can do the things I do much better.

I have only really been in this field for about 3 years professionally, so in most cases, I’m a young gun. It seems everywhere I look I see guys that have been doing this 3 and 4 times as long as I have. There are days when I feel like I just don’t know enough and am not a real asset to my team and community.

I have been blessed with an amazing team. They have all been in this industry much longer than I have and have tons more experience. The best thing about them though, is their willingness and desire to help me grow my skill set and learn as much as I can from them.

I will admit, there are days when it’s overwhelming. It seems as though the world of development just keeps growing and growing. It seems almost impossible to keep up. I realized the other day that I’m not the only one who feels like this. I was talking with one of my coworkers the other day who has been working in the development world for over 10 years. He started talking about feeling like he didn’t know enough and that there were so many people out there that knew so much more than him.

I wonder how I will feel in 7 years…

I think there are positives and negatives to this part of our industry. I think allowing this feeling to fuel you into working hard and pushing yourself to be the best developer you can be is great! We just need to be careful about allowing this feeling to settle in thoughts of inadequacy.

Let’s make sure we are pushing each other to be better. And let’s not forget the way it felt to be the new kid on the block.

Hang the Picture

Today I did something amazing; I hung a poster I got for Christmas up in my office. It was pretty awesome.
I know it may not seem like as great an accomplishment as I’m making it out to be, but all jokes aside, it was a pretty big deal to me.
This poster is a framed posted from IKEA that I’ve wanted for a while now. It’s decently heavy, so I had to put an anchor in the wall to help support the weight. The poster has sat leaning against the wall for the last week mostly out of fear.
What if I put the anchor in and hang the poster only to need to rearrange my office?!? So I would just wait. Wait till I was 100% sure I wouldn’t be moving anything around. Wait till I had my office setup perfectly, then I would confidently drill that anchor into the drywall and hang that poster. It may not be for three or four years, but it would be perfect.
Then I stopped. I realized it would never be perfect. I had to evaluate what was holding me back from just hanging the damn poster.
I told myself even if I had to move the poster later I would just need to fill the hole I was about to make. I mean it’s not the most convenient thing in the world, but was it worth me never actually hanging this poster I’d wanted for so long?
So I did it. I hung that poster real good. And I love it!! My office looks awesome. And if I end up moving it, it’s ok. I can just patch the hole and move on with my life. I’m over a little patch work keeping me from taking chances.

Overwhelmed

I have a confession. Sometimes I get really overwhelmed with life. There are just some many freakin things to do.
Not only are there a ton of chores that need to be completed, but then theres all the other categories in life like reading, learning new things, eating healthy, working out, big projects like garage doors that have been broken for a year…the list goes on and on.
You see, I have a hard time separating these tasks. When I manage to get some free time I have a hard time checking any of these things off of my list, which is a made up thing in my head. I may have a couple hours where I don’t really have anything going on and I could knock out a couple of the things on my ‘list’, but instead I run away from the monster of uncompleted tasks.
This year I only have one resolution..

Do One Thing.

I’m going to start by making a list of all the things that are in my head. Large projects, small projects, daily tasks, they will all be written down.
Most times I don’t complete a task because in the moment I forget how badly I want to do it. I’m hoping that having these tasks written down will help me to knock them off one by one.
That is going to be the key this year- ‘One by One’
I’m not going to fix the garage today, and finish reading that book, and learn something new, and eat the healthiest meal I’ve ever eaten…but I will make it my goal to do one of those things. Just one. Then tomorrow I will tackle something new.
My list might not ever be a slate clean of tasks, and thats really ok. I’m learning life isn’t about finishing all the things, it’s about living and doing things.
So this is check mark number one. Actually sitting down and writing this out and getting it out of my head. I did the dishes earlier too…I’m kinda kickin’ ass today!

Power in Choice

Lately my wife and I have been spending a lot of time talking about our will. I’m not talking about the kind of will where you list who all your stuff is gonna go to, I’m talking about the mind/will/emotions kinda will. Specifically we have been talking about the power that lies in our will.

We are powerfully people. We have a free will, so we can choose to do or not do whatever we please. Sometimes we forfeit that power though. I’ve been pretty good at forfeiting the power of my will into the hands of others for a big chunk of my life. I am a pretty ‘go with the flow’ kinda go, so there are times were I may not do some of the things I really want to do. (more…)

Kingdom of God

Today I went to class 3 of 5 in the Foundations of Freedom series. This class is designed to help us focus on the Kingdom instead of our problems. So often we can walk into a freedom class or a church for that matter with our problem as the focus. My marriage is struggling, I have anger issues, I need some type of healing. These are all statements that are typically made when we are problem focused.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven before anything else. Before we try to fix our marriage, before we try to get rid of our anger, before we try to get some sort of healing. Jesus knew that the Kingdom of Heaven held the answers to everyones problems. Those problems don’t exist in the Kingdom, so if Jesus can get us to realize the Kingdom is at hand, our problems (more…)

Levels of Change

This week I went to the second Foundations of Freedom class, Levels of Change. This is probably my favorite class. After learning who you are in class 1, Levels of Change breaks down the way you walk out the process of changing who you are.

  1. Environment
  2. Behavior
  3. Capabilities
  4. Beliefs
  5. Identity

The first four levels are things we can control so we typically start there. The problem is thats the wrong order. The 5th level is the only one that we don’t control. Our identity is spoken to us by someone besides us.

Our identity is actually spoken to us constantly, by the systems of the world, by people around us, by our friends, family, and even by our experiences. None of those things have the authority or right to tell us what our identity is. Just like you can’t tell an artist what their piece of art is or isn’t. (more…)

A Kingdom Parable

Yesterday I went to the first Foundations of Freedom class at Gateway. It’s a familiar class for me, I’ve been a hand-full of times and read the story in Bob Hamp’s book a hand-full more.

The thing I love about that story is that I get something new from it every time.

Bob Hamp has done an amazing job painting the picture of the Gospel in the simple story of a lost acrobat. The story is about a child that was born into a  family of the greatest acrobats to ever live. Tragically the boy is lost when he is only a baby. In his teens he finally finds out the truth about who he is, and what he was put on the earth to do.

The story is about his parents finding him, but even more so about him finding himself. My words wouldn’t begin to do this story justice, so you can listen to it here, or read about it here. (more…)

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