The balance between work and personal life is a constant struggle. It was when I owned a photography business. It was when I was a commercial pilot. It was when I was working in the corporate world. And it is now, as a small, hand-crafted business owner.
Especially now, as a small, hand-crafted business owner.
There's always a cutting board to make, a prototype to design and craft, marketing to do, emails to answer, and more. Case in point, I'm on the couch with my wife watching re-runs of Chuck as I type this.
There's a lot of advice about compartmentalizing work and personal life so that they don't interfere with one another, but I find most of it to be wildly unrealistic. The truth is that a real balance doesn't compartmentalize the different parts of life. Instead, I find real balance when the different parts of life exist in harmony, sometimes together, sometimes separate.
For me, that's meant creating a life with streams of income that compliment each other and my family's needs. I have the flexibility to adjust my schedule and spend time together when it's best for all of us, yet have plenty of work that challenges and engages me, technically, creatively, and emotionally.
Sometimes, it all comes together perfectly and reminds me that I'm doing things in a way that really works for us. Like this morning.
Cassandra went down to her parents' property to help her father run a "honey extraction day" for the local beekeeping club while I hung out here with the boys. After a rousing game of Frisbee tag in the yard, I asked what they wanted to do and their answer was, "Work with you in the shop!"
So, the boys sanded a batch of kitchen paddles while I worked on the prototypes for a couple of new kitchen utensils. Hale left after about 15 minutes and rode his bike down the road to see if a friend could play, but Calder stuck it out to the end and sanded 25 paddles by hand. I manage to finish two prototypes while spending a great hour or so chatting with my son.
Was it work? Yes. Was it quality family time? Yes. Did they overlap because we've very intentionally crafted a life that allows us to have that very type of experience?