A place for me to think
There are a number of experts who say something along the lines of the following:
To be truly happy and to avoid burnout be sure to have a strong work-life balance.
I’m pretty sure this is bullshit. I say that because it’s not something I’ve ever been close to achieving. It seems that if you’re seriously passionate about what you’re doing in life, your work life blends with your non-work life to a point that it’s impossible to detangle them. This isn’t some “rah-rah look how hard I work” post, it’s really me venting about how frustrating this can be at times and maybe if I share the few ways I’ve found to cope with it, then it’ll help someone else out there.
One thing I absolutely love is waking up early on a Sunday morning, before the sun is up, and reading quietly to myself. It’s really the only time I take to myself and spending it with all the long-form pieces that I didn’t get to read throughout the week is one of the best ways I can spend it. It’s nice because not only am I not getting/checking new emails or tweets, I’m also not being interrupted by a phone call or someone walking in. It truly is the alone time my introverted self craves.
Meditation was another thing that I found that really helped me focus. I haven’t done it for a while now and that may be something I need to change… I’m not even sure if I’m doing it right, basically it’s me sitting there and counting my breaths, but something really cool happens around 9-10 min in where this weight that’s been over me just seems to disappear. I’ve only had that sensation last for a few min but it’s damn addictive.
Finally, here’s a relationship one that worked amazingly when Meghan and I needed it. Life dinners. A once-a-month check-in where we laid out everything good or bad that was going on and how we could help one another work through it. Most of this revolved around ways that we were inadvertently letting our relationship take a back seat to work and ways we could remedy that. It’s definitely not an original idea and came from Brad Feld and his wife, Amy Batchelor’s book Startup Life.
So taking some me-time, meditating, and spending dedicated time with my wife are really all I’ve got, which brings me back to my initial statement, work-life balance is bullshit. Even with these tools I’m still thinking about whatever my project of the week is when I’m driving to work, or during dinner, or while we’re watching Westworld at night. It’s not something I can just turn off and say “nope this is life-time, not work-time” and I’d guess that anyone who’s legitimately passionate about what they’re doing experiences something similar.
I’m not saying it’s not important to take time for self care and things other than work, but way too much time is spent on trying to optimize the work-life balance and not enough is spent on pursuing what you love.