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Balancing Work, Another Job and a Life

As many of you know, I am big into work/life balance. I have also been lucky enough to work for employers that have valued that as well. Now though, it seems that I am running into a little conundrum because that work/life balance has turned into work/work/life balance and I didn’t even take on a second job! At least not deliberately. Let’s list the issues:

  • I have a day job. It runs 8–5pm with little (if any) overtime. Some travel involved but not enough to really get excited over. No the job isn’t super sexy. But yes, lucky me: I have a life.
  • I am now essentially moonlighting as a blogger. Two independent sites going (this one and HRM Today), a blog on Vault.com, as well as exclusive sponsorship of a social network (HR Bloggers). My monthly income from blogging is roughly half that of my day job. It could be more if I worked harder at it (sponsorships, advertising, etc) but again, work/life balance.
  • Then life. My routine has been to come home and spend the first couple of hours focused on my wife, have dinner and talk about what is going on. Then she wants to watch a little TV or read and I get online and do my blogging. Until when? Sometimes 1am. Then to bed and up again at 6:30. The good? Weekends are intact. I rarely touch the computer on the weekend and if I do, it isn’t usually more than an hour.

How do I resist the urge to check my blog stats every five minutes or stay on my cell phone? How does my wife not want to kill me every night (she still may want to on occasion)? I think I do it by following some easy steps:

  1. Set your computer boundaries — I want to be either on the computer being productive or off it doing something else. No computer games, not much in the way of personal blogging, no chat, no twitter.
  2. Set your phone boundaries — I check my emails on my phone in the morning before work and after work on the way home. I can worry less about email when I want to spend time with my wife.
  3. Set your hours — I don’t want to be blogging at 1am but sometimes I am. I do very well on the weekends but I need to do a better job on work days.
  4. Set up an end game — Is there a breaking point with having essentially two jobs? I know there is because I’ve worked with employees who have dealt with it. It is critical to understand where your break point is and to have a plan to go one way or the other.

This post started out as a gripe post but I realized that it would seem silly to gripe about the opportunities I have and to complain about coping with it. I am grateful that I have abundant opportunities and I do get tired of people saying “Agh, I am so busy and life isn’t fair.” So turn it into a positive: being busy is either a function of having lots of opportunites (yay!) or inefficiency (something that can be easily fixed!).

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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