Work-Life Balance: Workaholic Designer Edition

workaholicI’m a workaholic. Finding a solid work-life balance has been a lifelong battle for me. My brain never shuts off, and I have a really hard time pulling myself away from something I’m passionate about. And it seems to be a REALLY common trait among designers, both the guys and women I’ve talked to in the industry. We work extremely hard, and that’s great… as long as we also take time to enjoy the fruits of that hard work.

I will NEVER forget the day my daughter walked into my office and asked me if we could play, and I snapped back, “I’m working overtime right now so you can have your toys and video games! Please stop interrupting me!”

Her face fell and her eyes welled up with tears, and she said very quietly, “I don’t care about those things. I care about spending time with you.”

And then my heart shattered into a million pieces and I took a step back. I asked myself 3 tough questions in that moment and thought they may help another workaholic realign in the future.

Workaholic Reset Questions

1. Why am I working overtime?

The answer? Because I wanted to. I didn’t NEED the money. It wasn’t going to make or break my financial situation. It would mean more cash in my savings account, which is fine and good, but I didn’t NEED the cash. There was a time in my life when I was working 3 jobs to survive and the OT was absolutely necessary, but that wasn’t the case at this point in my career. We were fine financially—I had worked my ass off for many, many years to get to that point. But I still had that lingering voice in the back of my mind telling me that I had to work myself into an early grave to live comfortably. It simply isn’t true.

2. Is the project I’m working on more important than my kid?

Obviously not. The reason I’m working is to provide an awesome life for my kiddo. Putting in crazy, uneccesary hours and missing her childhood was robbing her of one of the most important parts of that awesome life—quality time spent with a parent.

3. Will the entire project burst into flames if I step away for 15 minutes to play with my kid?

No. No, it won’t. Tight deadline? Still no.

As you’re pouring your heart and soul into your projects, don’t forget to keep some on tap to actually enjoy life. Spend time with family and friends. Life is short and kids grow up really, really fast.

Is adding some extra cash to your retirement fund really worth letting life completely pass you by?

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