Tara and I have always been proud of the fact that we’re not total workaholics. Even coming from an advertising agency background we’ve always believed that if you can’t get it done in 40 hours a week then you’re doing something wrong.
As creative entrepreneurs it can be hard to it shut down. The lines between work and life are blurred when you’re passionate about growing your business. And as of two weeks ago daylight savings has sprung us forward an hour - completely jacking with our internal circadian rhythm that tells us when to wake up, begin work, and more importantly shut down the computer, eat dinner and go to bed.
Here is how we try to maintain that work / life balance and clues for when we’re overextending ourselves.
We’ll start with me.
I know I’m maintaining a pretty good work / life balance when:
1. I can fit in my daily work out - I use this time to decompress and transition from working out of my house to just being at home.
2. When I watch my favorite shows in real time - there’s nothing like watching The Walking Dead or Mad Men when it airs.
3. When I have time to indulge in a Netflix marathon - on the flip side of watching shows as they air there is something special about watching three seasons of Breaking Bad in a span of two weeks.
4. When my schedule is in synch with my 9-to-5 husband - that means we’re going to sleep, waking up and eating meals together.
5. When I have time to enjoy a happy hour cocktail - sometimes a work out is not enough to decompress from a long week. I like to enjoy a nice glass of wine or local microbrewed beer after a productive day of work.
It’s a little trickier for Tara because she’s got two kiddos in the mix - but here’s how she knows she’s doing a good job of juggling it all with grace:
1. She manages to pack school lunches at a reasonable hour - without going “mommy dearest” crazy and throwing ziploc sandwich baggies everywhere.
2. She’s not up all night with work-induced insomnia - Tara also has this habit of sleep walking (more of a freak out really) when she’s particularly stressed. Read more of that hilarious story here.
3. She gets to go to “guilty pleasure” movies at the actual theatre complete with popcorn and syrupy soda - this means psychotic grossout movies that I cannot fathom how she gets so much glee out of, like Hostel or The Hills Have Eyes.
4. She can hole up in her room with a novel for at least a two-hour stretch - when we were kids she’d lock us all out of her room to read Little Women for the twentieth time while we pounded on the door or tried to slip notes under the crack “play with us pleasssseee.”
Sometimes we don’t recognize when the scales are being tipped. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress that comes with being a creative entrepreneur so here are some warning signs or clues that you’re on the brink of a work / life meltdown:
1. You forget to eat - I always thought this was something celebrities said to mask an eating disorder. So when I realized I had forgotten to eat lunch one day I was shocked that paparazzi wasn’t chasing me around at the same time.
2. You have nothing to blog about - I find that when I’m out of ideas for things to blog about on my personal lifestyle blog that I’ve probably been working (or thinking about work) too much.
3. You have no sense of humor - Our designer Kristin finds that she has zero capacity to process jokes when she’s feeling stressed.
4. Your kids get your attention by talking to you about work - Tara’s kid Charlie will say things like “Now, Super Mario is kind of like Braid because …” or will replicate our logo in colored markers for praise instead of drawing normal kid things like cars and dinosaurs.