Work/Life Balance

I return to my place of work today. Our Regional Director decided I would be one of the few staff allowed in the building to keep things running.  We have had multiple staff quit to join the private sector in the past few months, and at this point I am one of the few clinical staff left who can do things like sign commitment papers.  I am glad we have quite a few applicants for the vacant positions,  but the virus slowed down the hiring process.

Working in the office is just fine as far as I am concerned.  I really dislike working from home.  I need a separation  between work and home for my own sanity, a reasonable  “work/life balance” not possible when I am at home.  This way I can turn off my computer at the end of the day and drive home and leave work at work.

How do you (or did you) maintain a reasonable  work/life balance?  What happens if you don’t?

25 thoughts on “Work/Life Balance”

  1. because years ago i started doing budiness with china and europe i have never been able to shut off the biz end of life
    i do a 24/7 click and have had meeting at 3am if needed and regularly have discussions that are 8 or 12 hours ahead of me
    maintaining sanity… i wouldn’t know about that

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve been fortunate enough to see it more as a “life/work” balance thanks to my wife’s career, which allowed us to easily pay the bills and do some traveling and recreating at the same time.

    Now as a more or less full-time writer, it’s a bit different because there’s always another book to write, another blog post to put up, another session of social media to remind folks that Chris the Author is still out there, another tweak can be made to the website, another ad can be developed and paid for. I could probably work 16 hours per day and still feel like I should be doing more.

    And with writing, even my downtime isn’t always “down.” For example, watching TV at night should be relaxing, mindless entertainment. But when I’m working on a book (which is most of the time) I’m always turning ideas over in my head, solving plot problems, wondering if I have enough character development or too much or can I spice up the dialogue, etc. So relaxing isn’t as relaxing as it was in my pre-author career. It’s stressful but in a positive way–I hope.

    One of the aspects of a writing career that surprised me is the deep sense of obligation and pressure(?) I feel to get that next book published all because I’ve had enough customers buy my books, enjoy them, and then say, “I can’t wait to read your next book!” I now have an idea of why so many authors crank out a book every year or so–maybe they feel that sense of obligation even more than I do. 🙂

    A nice problem to have, I guess. Especially in the brave new world we are living in.

    Chris in Owatonna
    (working diligently on the sequel to Castle Danger!) 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m reluctant to complain about anything because I’ve been lucky and have little to complain about personally. But I just see so many ways we can make the world better if the massive amounts of human potential and ability combined with the world’s financial capital and resources were put to better use than they are now and not wasted for short term gain and massaging egos.

        Chris

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    To be so out of my regular routine of work and personal life, is difficult lately. I feel like my gears are one cog off. This week I am going into the office to work, to try to get back to a routine that is more familiar. We are an essential service, there has been no one there for 2 weeks because we all worked from home, and we had the entire place so sanitized that no germ had a chance. I will still primarily be doing Telehealth, just at the office. Similar to Renee, I just need that separation between work and home. Several clients who are having difficulty with anxiety and who want in-person sessions will come in, as long as they have been Sheltered in Place. They will have to wear a mask, as will I.

    Usually things are fairly balanced, but this entire Shelter in Place experience is just surreal. I have been getting cabin fever. Saturday the Easter Bunny, Lou, and I went to visit my son and his fiancee to deliver some masks and Easter treats, and to go for a socially distanced walk together. I had not seen him in person since before Christmas, and I just needed to lay my eyes on the man. Like I said, I am one cog off the gear.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The part of my life that I consider my “work” has been a moving target the past few years – being one of the organizers for various singing groups, and doing what is required for my mom and our friend W. Almost all of that is gone at present, and I get easily burned out on sewing masks. I find that, if left on my own, I am not a self-starter as much as I thought. I need some outside force, a deadline, to get me motivated.

    So I just realized: I need a new project. I’m gong to check in with our other Song Circle leader and see if we can figure out a way to do a Zoom version of Song Circle for our monthly Third Thursday, which is this week. I’ll keep you posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For seven years I was the editor for a regional outdoors magazine. The magazine was severely under-financed and run by total amateurs, including myself. I couldn’t afford to hire good writers, so I worked with bad writers and rewrote their copy. I wrote about a third of the magazine myself, sometimes under other names. I took photographs for the magazine several times a week, and when we needed black and white darkroom work, I did that. For the first three years on the job I even worked four days a month laying out the next issue, gluing strips of copy to big cardboard panels.

    The only “play” time I took in those years was some form of hunting and fishing, and even that was done for the magazine because I was always desperate for new things to photograph and write about. Any time I was doing something basic, like driving car, I was writing articles in my head.

    I used to say I worked 60 hours a week at that job, but that is a silly and arbitrary number. Apart from time spent sleeping and eating and showering, just about every minute was spent doing my job. There was no line between work and life then, and there sure was no balance.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I understand, BiR. That period of passionate involvement with my job was the sort of thing only a young person can do, and then for only so many years. By the time I was forced out of that job at a time I was obviously burned out and losing the ability to produce magic month after month.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I am happily at work today, catching up and joyfully printing things I couldn’t print at home. I dislike reading things on screens, and the State doesn’t allow us to connect our work laptops to our home printers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. tell the state that rule goes away when a world pandemic forces self imposed seclusion

      they don’t need to give you a twenty dollar god piece when they release you from jail any more either

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s been twelve years since I retired. While I still held that last job, because of my proximity to the school, I was the one who’d receive the emergency calls when the school’s fire alarm would go off at all hours of night and day. I never got used to being called at 11 PM or 2 AM because some power outage had set off the alarm. Fortunately, I hadn’t received any such call in a couple of years, but I received one yesterday shortly before 6 AM. At this point I don’t even know who they should call, but I did tell them to please remove my name and number from their list of contacts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Daughter is so much happier now that she isn’t on call 24/7 for the families she was working with. She is very grateful for all the experience and knowledge she gained in the 2.5 years she did the intensive in-home family work, but is very happy to have her nights and weekends back.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. PJ, as Office manager, I shared that on call task with the Manager at Birchbark Books. For a while there, we were getting calls way too often, and it’s a long story, but we finally figured out what was causing it. I am SO fuzzy headed at 2 a.m. I could barely function.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. One can look at work/life balance both on a daily basis and also in a meta sense. When I was young and my girls were just toddlers and I was working in advertising, headhunters would tell me that I couldn’t advance my career unless I was willing to move to a bigger city, which would have meant Chicago, New York or the west coast. Both sets of grandparents were here, all our oldest friends were here, and I wasn’t convinced enough that advertising was my life’s work to uproot our stable and comfortable lives for the sake of the possibility of career advancement. In the balance, my jobs here were enough.

    A little later, in addition to full time jobs, Robin and I had what the kids today call side hustles. I made custom props for professional photo studios. The nature of that sort of prop making requires you to commit to making something you have never made before using materials you may or may not be familiar with and within a time frame and budget set ahead of time. Needless to say, it can be stressful. I would work on those props after the kids went to bed, starting at 9:00 or so and working often until 2 AM. Later, I developed some prop products that photographers frequently needed and that Robin could help me make and moved away from the custom made-to-order props. We still ended up working ’til 2, but the stress was less. That, I would say, was too much work and not enough life, but we were young and willing.

    My last 20+ years as a freelancer, I had to learn how to balance work and home life while keeping my employment viable. The thing about the work I was doing—graphic design, illustration and copywriting—is that I understood that what clients needed from me, more than fantastic creative work, was utter reliability. When I took an assignment, the client never had to wonder if it would be done on time or what it would cost. My product was peace of mind. As might be expected, that sometimes meant that clients would get to the end of the week with an unfinished project they needed to present on Monday and they would call me. As a freelancer, you have to expect work/life balance to follow a different rhythm from 9 to 5 workdays. When I would get a project larger than I could do in a day or two, I would divide it into a series of daily goals and then my work for any given day would consist of meeting that day’s goal. If I met it early in the day, I could choose to keep working, which meant that the next day’s goal would be easier and I had a little protection against unforeseen interruption. If I finished the project days earlier than I had promised, I often held on to it for a day or two so the client wouldn’t ask for shorter turnaround in the future. No two jobs were the same and a little cushion was always welcome. I still sometimes found myself working late into the night in order to meet my day’s goal but I also had days completely free.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Like Chris, I have decided to not complain (too much) about working from home. I still don’t like it but compared to the millions and millions of people who are now out of work I am going to shut up on the topic. But suffice it to say that I turn off the computer, shut the laptop, put it away when the worktime is done. I’ve also gotten better at taking regular breaks, so every hour or so I get up even if it’s just put some more ice in my cup or go downstairs and let the dog out. This seems to help a lot.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. i was always surprised when at 459 my right hand would pack his laptop and go home to arrive at 901 the next day

    he left for two years and i found that a guy working with focus doesn’t need vision to be great
    i miss him and i’ll bet he misses working here

    i really need someone to do my to do list
    i use up works and fiver today and have an organized analytics savant as a partner today

    masks and container homes are current focus. my best ideas get fine tuned while i’m sleeping
    i can’t sit behind a desk, never have been able to. i get up and walk around to talk think give dictations d do most everything
    i became lower case because typing is such a challenge ideas flow fingers don’t .

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My daughter forwarded a link to me for a long magazine article about my nephew, Steve. The magazine is new to me. It’s called Lake Minnetonka Magazine. The article is well written. It describes Steve’s history of creative business enterprises. The ending, however, mentions his divorce a number of years ago. Here’s the last paragraph:

    “I will not sacrifice my time with my children. Ever,” he says of his 5- and 8-year-old. “And I don’t work at home. I was a guy who spent his 20s and 30s developing business. Those years are gone. I have different priorities. Because at the end of the day, that all doesn’t matter. What matters are these little humans with hearts that are going to develop into something that makes the world better. It’s my most important job. Everything else is secondary.”

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’ve been hoping the flower shop will figure out a telework option. Doesn’t seem to be happening so far. Nothing I do really has to be done from the shop, so it’s conceptually possible.

    I’ve worked from home before, and I don’t really have a problem just shutting it down when it’s appropriate. I like working from home.
    My bias is always to lend more weight to the life side of the equation. Work when there’s no other option.

    Liked by 1 person

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