Curious what it means – because everyone I talk to has their own take, whether they have it, and in defining it, if it exists at all.
Balance? … not sure I can define that for me
This Christmas week, when 99% of non-retail workforce is taking time off to shop, chop, slice and prepare.
Meanwhile 99% of retail workforce is staffing stores, emptying their shelves while emptying our pockets.
Easy to say – just take a day.
Take a day off.
Work a day.
Work all year.
What do these terms mean?
Writing, thinking about writing, doing the writing, keeping track of the writing work, editing the work, storing and archiving the work is this relentless 24/365¼ task-manager with little separation in that for where work ends and pleasure beyond this space where all dreams take place takes over. Love it.
Working in commercial real estate seems like a Monday to Friday civilized exercise. It easily stretches to seven-days. As does the residential side. The challenge for everyone in the industry is to work fewer hours, earn more per hour, work with clients who do larger value transactions and take more time off. Love the thought. Love the reality – when it happens!
While reality of this bordering-insanity writing life (possibly true also for painters, sculptors, composers, photographers, performers) is that we want to get the drudgy-parts of our work out of the way so we can have more time for the create-more parts.
Not about finding more leisure time but far more concentrated on finding more isolated creative time. The work of it, the play of it, doesn’t seem to fit 24 X 7 worlds very well.
But at its root, it isn’t a math problem, is it?
I’ve changed my life and expectations on this front many times – as the world around me has changes its approach to work/life balance too. When I was a kid, my dad worked Monday to Friday and Saturdays till 1:00PM. Most of my life has been in a five-day week work world.
For many, work is morphing toward four-day weeks. If you don’t believe me, just try reaching anyone or scheduling a meeting for a casual-Friday. Good luck. I hear that Vancouver folks don’t even try. Those who can, are on their boat – with everyone else wishing they had a boat …
Yet isn’t everyone connected to their devices – and responsive to them 24/365¼?
For many years I’ve worked from a home-office which I assure you is no leisure hideaway boat equivalent.
Working from home arrangements seems to not have an ‘hours of work’ clause or ‘we’re closed sign’ for my office door – though I’m thinking of getting one. When your work and play are so closely aligned, when they happen in the same place – I suppose writers are like piano players, we can work anywhere we can find a keyboard.
This week will be a one-day work week for me. If you don’t count yesterday. If you don’t count checking emails, organizing some things for next week and catching up on calls from the highway, then YES, this will be a one-day work week. Just today. Sure, tomorrow morning very early I’ll polish, finish and publish my weekly FACILITYCalgary newsletter – but that is between 4AM and 6AM, so really that’s part of Monday, right? Oh, and there is that interview I’m doing in Edmonton on Tuesday afternoon. Not really work – a joy to meet him and we’ll do it in a casual place … so that’s not really work, is it?
This day will be for working, writing, packing, taking Gusta to the kennel, loading the car and preparing for six days away … where work, writing, play, family and holiday cheer will dominate in a fresh landscape for a few days.
For me – there is joy my work, my business, my real estate practice, my writing, my play, my friends and my family – so as long as I get to spend any day or week focused on any or all of those it is a full idyllic week.
What else could I possibly wish for?
OK, it would be nice if there was a lovely woman/partner/lover/confidante/friend wrapped up, waiting for me under the tree (and I don’t mean the inflatable kind).
Maybe I should have written to Santa.
I’ve been asked by many friends if I’m really prepared to have a woman enter my life, my home, my space. For the living part, I easily answer yes. For the writing/work part … not so fast. I’ve grown so accustomed to solitude, flexibility and freedom to work whenever I want – or not. I’m torn about whether that is completely selfish or completely dedicated. Both? Or a delusion that is neither.
A fellow who sky-dives told me, most people jumping out of an airplane shout some version of ‘I love my life’ as they leap.
I don’t leap out of planes, but I do love my life.
To everyone this week, if you are working or playing or both – be happy, be well, be relaxed in being who you are and enjoying the life you lead. In that regard, you are the leader. You will always be the leader. And your life will follow.
column written/ published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: -7C/20F, mostly clear (and dark … hey, it’s the 2nd longest night of the year), no deer encounters this morning, Gusta trotting normally. Off to the gym now …