Balancing Work and Work

How’s your balance these days?

I’m not talking about the balance between work and life. There are enough people covering the subject of working too hard and compromising your personal life. They’re right, too.

But they also don’t discuss balance within each of these areas. They talk about work/life balance, but not balancing work within work or life within life. They treat work and life as two half-circles that form a whole.

You can’t form a whole if one of the half-circles is broken.

I learned that recently – or maybe I always knew it and just forgot. “People miss you, James.” My friend said the words as gently as she could, but she also made them clear and direct so that I would get the point. “You give the impression that you’ve become too busy for them.”

I felt guilty.

She wasn’t quite done yet with me, either. “You’ve gone from being happy boys who showed up everywhere to comment, really thoughtfully, to becoming extremely… selective.”

Alright. Point made, and I knew in my deepest heart that my friend was dead-on right. My instinctive reaction? “I’ve been busy.” Her answer, “Yes, yes, I know.”

And the few days that followed had me thinking an awful lot about how the balance of my work life has skewed. I also see the same situation happening to others, which makes it worthwhile enough for a blog post.

We tend to focus on what’s important to us at the time. Need money? You focus on making money. Need to finish a project? You focus on that project.

That means that other areas take a hit. While you’re writing hard to make money, your marketing suffers. While you’re working to finish that project, the ebook you were developing gets set aside.

And then it becomes easy to forget what mattered most in the first place.

Some time later, when the work is done and the money is coming in again, you come up for air. “Whew! Thank god that’s over!” Yes indeed – but now you have to pick up the pieces where you left off.

The Cost of Focus

Every choice we make comes at a cost. We choose to do something, but that means we’re also choosing not to do something else.

If you set aside that ebook, the cost may be your interest in its completion when you come back to it. You might have forgotten some points you wanted to cover. Maybe the ebook doesn’t even seem like such a good idea anymore.

If you stopped marketing, the cost is clients. Now you have to find them and spend extra time trying to get customers to your door. You probably also aren’t working while you’re doing that, so you take an income hit, too.

That’s why balance in business is important. Your focus needs to touch on all areas that need attention and in proper proportions to make sure everything runs smoothly. Spend too much time on one area, and the other suffers.

Revisiting the Past

The wake-up call my friend gave me was long overdue, and it gave me pause. I sat back and thought for a long while about what I believed in, where my values lay, what parts of the business I loved and what was important to me.

I thought about balance, and how I’d skewed it in the area of work. I’d put all my energy into a project and forgot there was a cost: interaction with people.

People are a big part of why I love what I do, and why we maintain a blog. People fuel my day, keeping me company and discussing in emails. People share conversation with me while I have my morning coffee.

No people? James is one unhappy puppy.

Now I’m returning balance to where it should be, and I’m very thankful that I have friends and readers who were patient enough to stick around until I found my way back to what matters most.

Will I get busy again and need to make choices on where I have to focus? Sure. There are certainly going to be days where I can’t be as present as others, and there are going to be times when I need to put all my energy here or there.

But I’ll be much more careful maintaining balance and distributing my focus across what really matters, like people, communication, interaction and conversation. Putting all my energy into one place isn’t healthy.

Now I’m curious about your experiences. Pick one area, work or life. Have you ever skewed the balance within that single area? What were the consequences? Did you need to correct the situation? Was it tough?

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. James,

    That’s it. I’m putting a blogability indicator into my private murmurings from now on. πŸ˜‰ This was a big surprise on a definite no-balance day in my life.

    (How, when it’s only 7am? Carryover from an oof! yesterday.)

    Work-work balance is a long-term thing unless you want to set yourself up for failure. So my wacky day yesterday will be fine, as long as I get back on track over the course of the week.

    In my years of staring at companies and the people inside them for what works, I can tell you this: people hate planning for that balance. It’s like writing down, “Kiss your wife,” if you know she needs more affection than you remember to give. Icky, right?

    Write it down. Anything, from a reminder-note to a formal plan, is better than not writing it down. (Or wait until someone emails you. Then they can write it down!)

    Without a written plan and a lot of checking that document to be sure of your progress, you won’t know until the customers are long gone and the birds are tweeting in your empty parking lot, that your work-work balance has been funky for a while.

    Like wives, balance is a lot easier to keep than to get back.

    Well-written, James. Good luck finding that balance.

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  2. Boy, did I ever..

    Set the time machine back to 1986. My billing rate was $35 an hour, which was neither low nor high for the time. In that year, I invoiced over $100,000.00.

    Of course not all of that was hours. Some was equipment sales and the like, but when I caught my breath and looked around, I had been doing nothing but work, work, work for a solid year.

    I was exhausted. I was bitchy, unhappy – plenty of money in my pocket, but no joy in my heart.

    I sat myself down and had a long talk. “We” decided that this was beyond stupid and I began a new attititude toward work.

    The phrase I’m about to use actually originated with a partner in a much earlier business and in an entirely different context – he used it to describe a discount policy. I used it in the context of how many hours I should work in a week. Here it is:

    Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty.

    Now, I don’t mean I only work twenty hours a week. I do mean that I look at twenty hours of billable work as enough. There’s always enough to do to fill up the rest of the week: accounting, prospecting, cleaning the office.. but twenty is plenty on the billable hours side.

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Lego Mindstorms NXT One-Kit Wonders by Anthony Lawrence

  3. Brett Legree says:

    @James,

    Good on you to do this – you’re a good guy, and we wouldn’t want you to disappear completely under a pile of work!

    (@Kelly – you’re a good friend to look out for your friends – I know, because you help me too…)

    @Tony,

    We’ve chatted about this before – joy in your heart is worth more than the money in your pocket.

    Believe me, I’m keeping this at the front of my brain while I do my own thing – I may be busy, but it’s all good stuff and fun. And my wife & kids still know who I am too!!!

    Brett Legree´s last blog post…viking fridays – the system is broken.

  4. This happens to me all the time at work.

    Usually, it comes about when there is one particular area that needs my deep focus. I dive in and quickly begin to shut everything else out, which becomes a self-feeding process.

    It’s hard to extract myself from that cycle. Usually, I just break down and crash – take off for a few days. Then I write a long entry in my journal vowing never to do it again… 0_o

    Jamie Grove – How Not To Write´s last blog post…Best Little Christmas Story

  5. @ Jamie – Oh, that rings familiar with me, too. I swear at least once a month not to do something ever again. Then sure enough, I’m back in the saddle before I realize it. You’re right, too. It is a cycle – tough to break!

    @ Brett – I think the biggest challenge for me is that I go hide to work hard so I can come back out and play assuming that people can see me and read my mind. I forget that no one sees what’s going on at central headquarters!

    @ Tony – I’m totally going to rip off that saying and use it. And that’s very true; there are often many things that I could ditch easily that wouldn’t affect my life. People aren’t one of them πŸ™‚

    @ Kelly – To continue your analogy, to keep a marriage happy you have to work at it continually for the rest of your life. We should never take it for granted that a pause won’t cause a breakdown.

    And thank you for poking me. Next time, do it sooner πŸ™‚

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s last blog post…Balancing Work and Work

  6. Brett Legree says:

    @James,

    That’s a damned good point – for any work at home freelancer. Whether I like my day job or not on the whole, there is a really great thing I like about it – real, live interaction with folks all day long.

    I think I might “borrow” Tony’s saying too… πŸ™‚

    Brett Legree´s last blog post…viking fridays – the system is broken.

  7. This is something I struggle with often. I just wrote a post on my personal blog about how I decided to take a break from Twitter so that I could purposefully explore other social arenas I had neglected. It was a very successful experiment, teaching me that I needed to divide my time more intentionally.

  8. James,

    With pleasure.

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  9. Contact me privately for licensing terms on “Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty”.

    I can arrange bulk terms, casual use charges, derivative works payments.. I’m very flexible about this stuff πŸ™‚

    Maybe I should have named my “Psst – wanna work for yourself” e-book “Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty”?

    Naaahh – though I did use that in there too, so it’s part of a copyrighted work and trust me you WILL HEAR FROM MY LAWYERS (the august Boston firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe) if you “borrow”, “rip off” or even allude to this phrase with written permission.

    Which is hereby granted in this comment πŸ™‚

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Creating E-Books with Open Office by Anthony Lawrence

  10. Wendy Sullivan says:

    The worst of it for me was two years ago, as a corporate whore for Major Canadian Telecom. I worked my ample bottom off for 70 hours a week for months. I came home to a totally estranged husband. My coworkers hated me because dedication to the Great Big Deal mean they got my overspill work in other areas. And when it was all over, what did I get in return? Nada. In fact, if any of you have followed the news lately, you’ll find that those 70 hour weeks were all for naught anyway, and the Great Big Deal I was busting my ass for has tanked.

    I decided that if I could work half as hard for myself, I would succeed. And I’m getting there, slowly. But I’m sure as hell not going to do it at the expense of anyone or anything else that’s important to me.

    Wendy Sullivan´s last blog post…Yeah, IÒ€ℒm a Consultant

  11. Tony,

    Did you not steal Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe from Click and Clack?

    Cool. πŸ™‚

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  12. Reminds me that I haven’t commented here in a while…

    I second Kelly’s idea of writing down the important stuff. I like to distill a list of the 5 or so things in an area I really have to do each day or week.

    The items sometimes seem ridiculous but without them I focus and forget too easily. Of course, I have to remember to look at the list often.

    As for wives, seems some are harder to balance than others… πŸ™‚

    Gary Fletcher´s last blog post…How to Never Lose Your Place In a Guitar Solo

  13. I had a lot of problems with this when I first started writing. I’m better now, but know myself well enough to know I need to stay mindful. Between family and work there’s no problem. My wife and children are constant reminders and have no difficulty articulating their needs, work takes a lot more mental precision.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…Sliding Doors

  14. @Kelly:

    Of course I did. Just because I steal from other people doesn’t mean I’m going to let you steal from me.

    What kind of a person do you think I am??

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Lego Mindstorms NXT One-Kit Wonders by Anthony Lawrence

  15. @ Tony – Stealing is great only if it’s mutually beneficial, right?

    @ Writer Dad – It becomes increasingly important to keep this in mind as your venture grows. Growth is the trickiest stage of a business and something to be mindful of.

    @ Gary – Hey! Good to have you back! I’m with you on the list thing. I have TONS. I forget to look at them. I need a reminder to look at my reminders. Sucks. πŸ™

  16. @ Wendi – Ahh, I missed you… That’s the thing. Sometimes I look back on a week and think, “90 hours… Jeez, what for? And I didn’t even touch on what really mattered.” No more. Time to get that game plan working for me.

  17. Let me just say welcome back, King James. πŸ˜‰

    Nicole Brunet´s last blog post…A Place in My Mind

  18. @James:

    “Stealing is great only if it’s mutually beneficial, right?”

    Right πŸ™‚

    I just “stole” from you. Or rather, your post inspired me to post “Fifty is nifty” this morning. Who knows what drivel I might have writ had I not read you first?

    Yes, I gave credit (and a link) back to you..

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Lego Mindstorms NXT One-Kit Wonders by Anthony Lawrence

  19. Yes, Sir.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…Sliding Doors

  20. @James – Yep, we need to find a work-life-list balance πŸ˜‰

    Gary Fletcher´s last blog post…How to Never Lose Your Place In a Guitar Solo

  21. As someone who is new to Freelance Writing, finding balance in all areas of life is definitely a challenge. My business took off a little too fast when I received a high acceptance rate on my first month of proposals. I threw myself behind every project, neglected hubby and the kids, and had a horrible month that ended with fainting at my day job. Of those first few proposals I had, the one I worked hardest on and sacrificed the most for ended up dissatisfied with my work and I had to discount deeply in order to receive any compensation for that project. It was my second month of “being a freelance writer” and boy do I have some hard lessons learned from that experience.

    I think, for people who are starting out, that lack of balance may be what causes new freelance writers to close up shop. Not enough marketing, too much work, lack of realization of the big life/work picture and the smaller work/work and life/life balance.

    Emma´s last blog post…Give Thanks to a Blogger

  22. @ Emma – I hear you. We hope for success, but when it comes – and comes fast – it’s very overwhelming. Then suddenly nothing is going according to plan and it’s too much to bear for many people. It takes one step back to go two steps forward at that point.

    Good on you for hanging in!

  23. Stephan Miller says:

    Whenever I start a new project, everything else suffers including posting and visiting other blogs. I write code when I must and it has a tendency to put me in the wrong mindset for blogging. Still working on that issue.

    Stephan Miller´s last blog post…TidyFavorites: Bookmarks and More

  24. I’ve been busy writing a WordPress plugin for the past while, and because of my focus on it I’ve not written anything besides code. My writing has suffered, and now it’s hard to get back into. Like you say, it’s picking up the pieces, and it makes me wonder if that intense focus was worth it. It was fun while it lasted, but was it worth it? Probably not.

  25. Thank you, James (and MwP community) for letting me know that I’m not alone and giving me more to think about. I think my biggest issue with work/work is balancing work/slack. I tend to focus on one area too much and then deny myself break time until everything is caught up. Stay in the work space until all the work is done. I’ve even found myself “slipping” and reading other blog posts (some that I can consider work related, so they’re okay) but not commenting because I haven’t updated my own blog. Business before interpersonal seems to be the balance I’m working with right now.

    I’m trying to change that because friends and family (physical and virtual) are vital to “business” whether or not they increase my income. I am my business; my overall well-being is critical to my bottom line. I’m still haven’t found any virtual friend to poke me with a stick and remind me that I’m mortal. I have found one who will call and get me out of the office on occasion. Baby steps are still steps, right? (If you disagree with that last, please don’t tell me :)). Feel free to poke me with a virtual stick. I’m ticklish. πŸ™‚

  26. I think I’m worse than James is. If I’m stuck deep in a design project, writing is the last thing on my mind. Another thing too is that James and I work so closely the moods tend to spill from one to the other. I guess I depend a lot on his enthusiasm to keep me up and going. You have to admit, it’s not easy to fight that tide once is rolls in.

    Can I get an “ALL HAIL” for the King of the Enthusiasm Rip Tides?

    Kelly’s poking was a big wake up call and we both had to admit she was right. Good job, Kelly. Keep sticking those pins in Little Pen. πŸ˜‰

  27. Oh I’m horrible about this. I’ll get so busy coding and writing test cases and working on my databases and blah blah blah, and then oh-would-you-look-at-that two weeks have gone by and I haven’t posted on Sushi Day, OR responded to comments! Crud.

    Or sometimes I’ll get really gung ho about posting on Sushi Day and Fridgg, responding to all the comments and emails, and so on and so forth but then go back to my code and have to spend a bunch of time re-familiarizing myself with the logic and whatever it was I was trying to do with this class or that method. (Although sometimes it’s good to step away for a bit, because then I’ll come back and think, “why on earth did I do it that way? That was stupid. It’s so much easier to do it like this. Time to refactor!”)

    Ugh, yes. Do I EVER need to figure out a work-work balance! (As for life-life balance, erm, I’ve got ER and my boyfriend. It isn’t much of a life I’ve got, but it works for me, and I’ve managed to balance those two quite nicely. πŸ˜€ )

    @Harry – ALL HAIL!

    Allison Day´s last blog post…A Hug Rolled up with Salmon and Seaweed

  28. I’m always yadda, yadda, yaddaing on my life/work balance soapbox.

    I’d never considered the balance within. Very wise post, Grasshopper.

    I’ve got something to chew on for a while now. (assumes Lotus position, Ohms and contemplates)

    Good stuff, James.

    Cheers

    George

    Tumblemoose´s last blog post…WriterÒ€ℒs best of, a poll and a prize

  29. Harry,

    LOL. I love you dudes. All hail the King of Steady Focus. He has his place in the brilliant firmament, too.

    What I can’t believe is that you didn’t feel all the ones I was sticking in Little Pen before I wrote.

    You want more email? First, get me hopping mad…

    There are better ways, probably.

    Back on topic?

    I’m working with someone who’s just woken up (out of a coma? I dunno) to discover that his business is down 70% (go ahead and re-read that, yes, 70%) over the last 18 months, all due to utter neglect of work-work balance. He ended our last meeting with “I’m excited about what we’re going to do for the company now! Thanks! I guess we’ll have to do marketing for a while, huh?”

    No. You have to make it part of the balance forever, man. Not for a freaking while, unless you want to call again when your wife is sick of turning the heat down in the house to squeeze 30 bucks out of the budget. *bangs head on wall*

    Tony,

    I have no doubt they’d approve.

    Gary,

    High-maintenance folks come in both genders. πŸ˜‰

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  30. James, you KNOW this is a subject near and dear. The phrase work-life balance is just about as overworked as WE are, true enough. Perhaps the angle, and certainly what my biz is all about, is “it’s your whole life, baby.” When you successfully navigate a shift in balance in one are of your life, it leaks (in a good way) into all other areas of your life.

    So, work-work balance is “making choices that work for work” but ultimately it all re-sets the whole. The cool thing is that when you get cuckoo busy and capsize at work and life starts breaking down all around you, it’s just information for re-setting, not making yourself wrong. We’ll forever be balancing…

    Lisa Gates´s last blog post…When it comes to worn out perspectives, the "Oh Really?" Factor may be worth repeating

  31. @ Kelly – And you’ve touched on the freelance roller coaster. WORK! No clients, MARKET! WORK! No clients, MARKET! Um, no.

    @ Tumble – *pats quietly* You’re welcome.

    @ Allison – I hear you, LOL. Thank god for ER!

    @ Harry – LOL, thank you. And thank you to you for providing the balance I need at times.

    @ April – If you do a search on this site for baby steps, I believe you’ll be happy to know we’re big proponents of that theory. You’re not alone. Chin up.

    @ Ryan – Same thing here. The project seemed worth it. Looking back? No. The cost was too high. Thankfully, we can correct things by lifting our heads and making a quick spotcheck every now and then, eh?

    @ Stephan – Ahh, I hear you on that. It’s easy to do good work when our focus is in one place, and it’s a bit of a challenge to change our focus to something completely unrelated. Then again, that can be very refreshing.

  32. @ Lisa – Harry would agree with you. His “whole” encompasses everything and when one area is right, it’s easier for him to be happier in other areas. I tend to section my “whole” more, but that also makes it easier for me to forget certain areas exist, because each little piece becomes its own whole and I hyperfocus.

    “We’ll forever be balancing…”

    Oh god… Can I say that sounds discouraging? πŸ˜‰

  33. “Kelly – And you’ve touched on the freelance roller coaster. WORK! No clients, MARKET! WORK! No clients, MARKET! Um, no.”

    No indeed. You must never, never, never engage so much work that you stop marketing and prospecting. In my time, I’ve seen many a would be self-employed person make that mistake and so may times it has been that.

    In my field (‘puter support/programming) what often happens is that they get some great client who wants more and more hours – at a great rate to boot – and of course they give this company everything they can.. but that means they start turning away other customers because they are so busy servicing MegaCorp.. and then one fine day MegaCorp drops them flat and I get a call “Gee, Tony, do you have any extra work?”. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t but often I’m thinking “Yeah, but where were you when I needed somebody last summer? Too busy with MegaCorp.. and now you come begging? Hmmm.”

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty by Anthony Lawrence

  34. James,

    It’s a roller coaster for all sizes of businesses, from the littlest until you get to the huge ones where the right hand forgot that the left hand hired an ad agency and a marketing firm and goodness knows what-all, and it runs without a real human having to think about it.

    Pride and too much belief in endless word-of-mouth goeth before a 70% drop in revenues, I always say.

    ONLY thought in my head when we got to that part of the discussion: What were you thinking about at 40%? 50? Aaaargh!

    Later,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post…Mail Bag: Are Holiday Cards OUT?

  35. potential roller coaster…

    Thought I typed that.

    Kelly´s last blog post…Mail Bag: Are Holiday Cards OUT?

  36. @kelly: “What were you thinking about at 40%? 50? Aaaargh!”

    He (she?) was thinking “Bad slump.. but it will turn around soon.. it always turns around..”

    Also remember the frog in the pan on the stove: raise the heat slowly and it will die before it will jump out..

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Failure by Anthony Lawrence

  37. Tony,

    Where I come from (Waltham) it’s the lobstah in the pawt.

    My favorite analogy, BTW.

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  38. @kelly: it’s lobstah in tha pawt down he-yah, too.

    Waltham.. I hope the Men won’t mind if I share a little story from 25 years ago.. it’s not so little actually but sharing it is one way I honor the memory of a dear friend who worked in Waltham all those years ago:

    http://aplawrence.com/Misc/ed_k.html

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Failure by Anthony Lawrence

  39. “Frog in the Pan: The Canadian Lobstah Effect”

    hehehe

    I’ve read that one before. It’s such a lovely story, it was nice to revisit. There aren’t enough Eds in the world.

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  40. By the way, it’s not true that New Englanders drop their “R”‘s.

    We simply export them to the South where they always need extras for their drawls..

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Failure by Anthony Lawrence

  41. Balancing…definitely something everyone struggles with. We get so involved in one project or one aspect of the business that we let the rest slide. Something new I’m trying is to always have a reminder list within easy reach. Basically I’ve put up what you could call a vision board, something that is almost like a slap in the face using post it notes….asking me… Did you remember to do this today? Did you spend at least a half hour on networking today? So on and so forth. And also on my board is a list of my weekly goals. I’ll let you know how it works….hmmm I think I’ll blog about my vision board…thanks for the idea James!

  42. Oh gawdddd, your post has clearly hit a nerve. I swear (repeatedly) it’s the issue of our time.

    Litmus test question: Is this action connected to what I value?

    Makes me want to pen the editing squiggle for “delete.”

    Lisa Gates´s last blog post…When it comes to worn out perspectives, the "Oh Really?" Factor may be worth repeating

  43. @ Lisa – Good test. Tough one to answer, though. When you’re talking about areas of work, it’s hard to say, “Yes! Cleaning my books for taxes IS connected to… Hey. Wait a minute. No, it’s not. Now what?”

    You can’t dump it. Or marketing. Or projects. Or email and communication. Or anything. Business is sketchily connected to values in such a way that answering that question becomes easy.

    Next litmus test question choice?

    @ Deb – Hehe… People tell me to put up post-it notes to remember. Um, you should see my desk. Then I get ad blindness, the post-it notes become ineffective and we’re back to the beginning!

    @ Tony – Everyone south of me has wicked accents. Drawls, drops, murmurs, funny pronunciations… You guys are a hoot.

  44. James,

    “Everyone south of ME” LOL. You, sir, are French Canadian. If you don’t have an accent I’ll eat my hat.

    Mm-hm. People do suggest post-its. People might think Vision boards were a good idea, had post-its not been shot down so thoroughly. A slap in the face, on the other hand… but I don’t think I can reach. πŸ™‚

    Later,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post…Ambition vs. Stability: Which Would You Choose?

  45. @ Kelly – Do you want ketchup with that hat?

    The beauty of growing up fully bilingual – no accent in either language. And NONE when talking to Americans. πŸ˜‰

  46. No “aboat”? No “tomourrow”? (I caught “tomourrow” when I lived on the other side of Lake Ontario, where a few words have an Canadian accent, and I can’t shake it.)

    Someday you can prove it to me, dear Pen Man. Until then, I don’t believe you. Nope, nope.

    Kelly´s last blog post…Ambition vs. Stability: Which Would You Choose?

  47. Oh, gawd, do not talk to me about Post-Its.

    My wife has them EVERYWHERE. Hundreds of them. On her computer, all over the fridge, plastered around the island in the kitchen, on the bathroom mirrors, in her pocketbook – sheafs of them in her wallet, in the jackets of her coats. I go out to the car and find them on the rear view mirror and blocking the radio..

    We must buy more Post-Its than General Motors!

    I HATE Post-Its!

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Failure by Anthony Lawrence

  48. @Kelly:

    I don’t believe it either. If I weren’t already late getting my butt in gear this morning I’d call him up just to see if he’s lying πŸ™‚

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty by Anthony Lawrence

  49. LOL apparently post it’s don’t work for many people….it’ll be interesting to see if they work for me! I’ll let you know, of course if you don’t hear from me it probably means I’m buried in them!

    @Kelly how about a virtual slap every so often?

    @Tony do they work for your wife, even though they drive you crazy?

  50. Who, me? Virtually slap my dear James? Never…

    Kelly´s last blog post…Ambition vs. Stability: Which Would You Choose?

  51. *wonders if he truly believes that…*

  52. Think we could all use one on occasion….my daughter and boyfriend are very good at texting me mine…and they are usually sitting in the same room!! But I suppose thats better then getting up to do so LOL

  53. Wow, I arrived way late to the party on this one…

    I’m feeling that work/work balance issue right now and what’s suffering is the development side. While I work to market, the product development isn’t happening, which delays the launch of things, which kind of gives less impact to my marketing efforts.

    Oh, if only I didn’t have to go out and make money while building up this business. Anyone feel like being a patron to a Someday Mentor? πŸ˜‰

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post…Do You Know How Happy You Are?

  54. Alex – Stay tuned for Friday’s post. You may just find what you’re looking for.

  55. @James. Please. You do too have an accent. *swipes the hat and ketchup*

    @Kelly: Trust me, the accent is there. I told him he had one the very first time we talked on the phone. πŸ˜‰

  56. @Deb: re PostIts

    She’d say they work, but I have reservations..

    I go to the other extreme: I refuse to write anything down. No notes, no crib sheets – I rely on my memory. It’s not perfect, but it does work better than notes – for me. YMMV.

    @James: I knew you were lying. Thanks, Harry.

    Tony Lawrence´s last blog post…Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty by Anthony Lawrence

  57. I’m sure it’s a handsome accent, to match his lovely elbow.

    Hehehe, my hat is safe. Thanks, Harry.

    Kelly´s last blog post…Inspiration Points: Hang In There!

  58. @Tony & Kelly: Just doin’ my job πŸ˜‰

  59. Boy, good thoughts, James, and right on. Annoying, though, that not only do I need to worry about work-life balance, but work-work balance!

    I went through a sort of similar thing last week…realized I had dropped way off in communicating on my chosen range of communities, sites, blogs, etc. Thought about it…figured out that it wasn’t about “busy” — I’m always busy, and still have had time to stay present with my peeps. No, it was about mood. I was going through a really tough time mindwise — series of Murphy-related issues had come crashing down en masse — was feeling out of control of things, whiny, insufficient, and so on. Couldn’t contextualize it all in an upbeat, so I chose to not say anything at all.

    Should I have pushed to communicate? Perhaps…in making myself sit down and talk, I probably would have risen to the occasion and either ignored what was going on with (to put my attention on the others I’m conversing with), or naturally found the humor and the pony in the pile of shit sitting in my living room, and written about it.

    I’ll try that next time the mood intervenes with my participation….

    Thanks for the thought food,

    Trish

  60. Trish,

    I sympathize with how unanticipated workload can interfere with mood which can interfere with productivity and communication. It seems that work-work balance is really a whole bunch of little circles of balance that overlap to compensate for the chanigng big picture. Communication balance, marketing balance, development balance, etc. It would be interesting to see how each of us realigns our “Work Balance Scale” when things get out of whack. Anyone willing to share?

    πŸ™‚

    Emma

    Emma´s last blog post…Give Thanks to a Blogger

  61. @ Emma – I agree. It’s all little circles within a whole. When I find myself out of whack and once circle is bigger than the other, then I try to distribute my efforts more evenly so that all circles are of the same size again. At first it feels like work, and then a few days later, I think, “Ahhhh… that feels right.”

    @ Trish – Murphy’s Law:

    Me: “Today, I will be a rock star. Watch me go.”

    Murphy: “Yeah? Well, watch THIS, suckah!!”

  62. There’s been times, I had to cancel plans with friends and family because I had to work on a project. It hurts because I do want to have fun and enjoy myself but my assignment has to be completed. Once in a while I’m happy I am working so I don’t have to show up for some engagements that I don’t want to be involved with. My goal is to spend more time with family and friends. I have to make it work and I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life. Just working and not having fun isn’t a good thing. Just recently I was working so much I had to take a break. I went to two parties and enjoyed myself. It felt good. James, thanks for the article.

  63. Carving out time for yourself on a weekly basis is very important…whats that old saying….all work and no play? But seriously, make it a point to take at least a couple hours off a week just for you….schedule it into your calendar if you have to…but do it! Life is not all about work…….

  64. @ Omar and Deb – Finding time, and often making time even when we feel we don’t have any, are the best gifts we can give ourselves.

    And man! Can we ever get a lot done when we’re happy!

  65. This is so true, James. I’ve fallen victim to the same thing in the last few months and have been so focused on work that I have sort of dropped out of site. Apart from the cost to me in terms of loss of personal interactions with other writers, there’s a potential business cost as well. My goal for next year is more balance – love the new design, by the way.

    Sharon Hurley Hall´s last blog post…What To Do When You Have Said It All

  66. @ Sharon – Hey!! Welcome back, and yeah, your absence was noted – you were missed!

    I also see why, too: “… so focused on work that I dropped out of site.” Yep. Those websites can eat us up and spit us out, eh?

    Want to know something funny? Recently, I find myself using “write” instead of “right.” Freudian slip?

  67. Oops – didn’t even notice that, but it works too – my blog has been sorely neglected in the past two months. I do the write/right thing sometimes too. I’m getting back to a more balanced existence, so I hope to be more present from January.

    Sharon Hurley Hall´s last blog post…What To Do When You Have Said It All

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