Finding work life balance: How I worked nearly 60 hours this week and still spent quality time with family and friends. - The Personal Growth Channel

Finding work life balance: How I worked nearly 60 hours this week and still spent quality time with family and friends.

Work life balance, that's the catch phrase these days, right?

You hear phrases like "Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."

Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, said "There is no such thing as work-life balance.  There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences."

Sounds a little harsh at first.

Frankly, I couldn't agree more with Jack!

I've worked 80 hours in a 4 day stretch before, pausing only to catch a few hours of sleep in a hotel room, and 36 hours straight only pausing long enough to go to the bathroom.

Choosing to give it my all was incredible for my career!

I now run the company that I demonstrated that sort of work ethic to!

My ex-wife might tell you those choices were not such a good decision for my family.

In the past when I pulled long hours, I did it because I wanted to provide for my family, and because I took pride in a job well done.

I still pull long hours at times for the same reasons.

These days, I have learned how to balance things a little better.

I worked somewhere around 60 hours this week, nearly half of which was on Monday and Tuesday, pulling 13+ hour days.

While a bit exhausted from the long week, I actually really enjoyed it.

I even got to catch up with an old friend, a lady that was like a second mom to me.

Don & Mama
How have I learned to enjoy these things without pissing off all my friends and family, or hurting my career?

In a nutshell, I've learned to integrate things a little better, and I know what my priorities are.

What does that look like?

Monday afternoon I had to travel across the state to be ready to go Tuesday morning.

We had 5 sites to survey in 5 different counties then a drive back home the next day, so I knew it would be a long couple of days.

I spent the morning and early afternoon Monday taking care of random things at work so that I could be gone for a couple days.

I then headed out.  I wouldn't be arriving at the hotel until around 8 that night if I drove straight there.

Thinking back to my priorities, I realized that I would be passing close to an old friend, my mama.

This lady had babysat me from 15 months to late elementary and was like a second mom to me.

I hadn't seen her in years.

With the death of a good friend who I wrote about last week in my article 3 Life Lessons I Learned from Leighton still fresh on my mind, I knew I had to stop.

I stopped and visited for a few hours.

Did that hurt my job at all?

Absolutely not!

The visit renewed our friendship, and I walked away re-energized.

The sun was starting to set by now, and I remembered another priority that I had set which I mentioned in my article Enjoy the Detours in Life.

I saw a sign for a lake, and pulled off the road to enjoy the sunset, this time a very intentional detour.

Sunset on an intentional detour
It was worth it.

I arrived at the hotel around 10 that night, a little road weary, but happy.  

I caught up with my wife, and crashed for the night.

The next morning, I got up, and went to visit our potential clients.

It quickly became obvious that their existing recording vendor (we install 911 recording systems) was not giving them anywhere near the service they would receive from us.  

I love feeling like I am helping others, and got to catch up with a coworker on the drives between sites, so enjoyed my day.  

I gave it all I had, and then turned around and headed home to focus on an even bigger priority, my family.

That night, I came home to a wife and children who were glad to see me.  

Even the dog was jumping up, glad to get to go on our nightly walk again.  

I spent some time with each, catching up from the previous day, and spent some quality time with my wife.

I have made it a habit to take walks each night, and my wife and kids often join me.  

These walks have become a great source of joy for me, and as often happens my daughter and I got into a pretty deep discussion.

We walked, jogged, and talked for an hour on Wednesday and Thursday.  

These talks made for some more great days in my week.

I've taken my wife along on business trips when appropriate, being extra careful not to let her being there interfere with the business I needed to get done or run up any additional charges for the company.  

Those trips have provided a welcome vacation from the kids, and she has gotten to explore some interesting cities while I work.  

We've also been able to catch up at the end of the day for some quality time together.

That's what true work-life balance looks like.   

Choose what your priorities are, and then make them a priority.  

Make work a priority when you are at work, and work hard if you want to advance in your career.  

Make family and friends a priority as well, and look for ways to include them in your day to day life whenever possible, but don't let them interfere with getting the important things done at work.  

Be careful to also not let your work interfere with the really important things at home.

At times you will have to choose if you have really important things going on at home and at work at the same time.  

My best advice when that happens is to weigh your options and consequences, and then make a choice.

As Jack Welch said, it is not work-life balance, it is work-life choices.  

Choose wisely my friend.

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Have a wonderful week!
Finding work life balance: How I worked nearly 60 hours this week and still spent quality time with family and friends. Finding work life balance:  How I worked nearly 60 hours this week and still spent quality time with family and friends. Reviewed by Don Smith on 8/05/2016 Rating: 5
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