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Work | Life Balance

April 21, 2016

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.

All posts written by Jaymes Downer who is VP of Product at F&M. Follow him on Twitter or learn about his work history on LinkedIn

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