There’s an entire movement that promotes “life after work”…as if your life stops at 9 AM and begins again at 6 PM. What, you don’t breathe, eat, think, feel or talk while you’re at work? I think you actually do it more than in your free time.
As a project manager, my work days are never between 9 to 6, but more between 11 AM and 11 PM, with small breaks in between. I work with:
- early birds developers that start coding at 8 AM — hence I try to get their tasks ready 1 day earlier, not to loose valuable time
- nigh owls designers that are creative when midnight strikes — hence I plan deliveries 1 day later, to avoid staying up really late waiting for them
- clients from the USA that go to sleep when I wake up — hence I try to plan calls during their morning time (my evening)
So my schedule is somewhat between their schedules. Not to mention week-ends during critical projects, or vacation time (I can’t stay away from email more than 2 days in a row!). Planning in advance and being super organised might bring you 2-3 normal working days, but the rest are unpredictable, leading to this chaotic 12h/day schedule. I am really curious on how you manage your time – looking forward to your comments.
Anyway, the point is that an 11 to 11 work day won’t let in more space for “life after work”…and honestly I don’t even believe in this movement. I’ve always tried to do what I like, to be passionate about my work and improve each day. So even if I don’t have a full day, I still read blogs, listen to interesting talks or browse books related to my work interests. I believe management skills are like a muscle that needs constant training to stay fit.
I love what this lady says: “in the corporate world I used to be called a workaholic […] and that used to be considered a bad thing […] but now I’m an entrepreneur and they say it’s OK, so I finally became socially acceptable about the fact that my work and personal life have a blurry line”. I am not an entrepreneur, but I do feel like one for each and every project I take on board. I think that if you are not passionate, interested and dedicated to a project, you can’t really put yourself in the client’s shoes, and you can’t honestly help him/her. And also you team will feel your indifference and carry it on in the work they produce.
But sometimes I stop and wonder “how much work is too much work?”…and if this unbalanced schedule is really (mentally and physically) healthy on the long run. What about “me”, family or hobby time? Do I limit myself just because my hobbies are so related to my work? Am I living the dream or a nightmare? 🙂