There is no clean break between my life and my work. I don’t really know how to answer this question otherwise.
I suppose my writing style for this post is a bit like our life sometimes. I figured it was the best way to elucidate.
It feels like the two are dancing together – it moves one direction, it moves back the opposite. It can be quite beautiful if done well. Otherwise, someone gets their foot stomped.
One flows into the other at times. There are boundaries though. Family comes first as does my faith and church life.
Our son is growing up in front of our eyes. One of the primary reasons I started my own business in 2003 was to be there – everyday – to be at all of those times, those events, those memories. Some only happened once. Once.
Architecture will always be there.
Work typically happens during the day and our life typically happens during the evening and weekends. However, work must extend beyond the boundaries of 8 AM and 5 PM to accommodate these decisions. I get things done. I set reasonable deadlines.
It works for us – but it might not work for you. I’m OK with that.
I’m fully aware that I’ve made these decisions; I’ve chosen this, so I get what comes with it – the good and the bad. The pay is fair, but not large by ‘other’s’ standards. The pay isn’t always in US dollars. It’s often in opportunities, memories and focusing on doing good work. When it comes to my work, it’s all about the work. My measuring rod is probably not the same as yours.
My schedule is flexible, I have to be responsible, I have to be disciplined and I NEVER dread going to work on Monday. I love what I do.
You could do it if you really wanted to do it. Yes you could.
Most people don’t do things because it doesn’t mean that much to them.
We plan our family events and for the most part, I often adjust my work schedule around that. I might be working in the evenings while sitting in my living room. However, I’m with my family and I am part of the conversation. That influenced how we designed our house; an open plan allows us to all ‘hang out’ in the same room.
It takes discipline and some days…you don’t get it done. Some days I fail. Some days we go out and play basketball. I do work on Saturdays sometimes. I can’t be rigid about not working on weekends when our life has interrupted the prior work week.
Can I share a typical day? I doubt it, but I’ll try – one that occurs during the school year.
- Breakfast – I’ve had breakfast almost every single day of my son’s life with him.
- School – I take him to school and see him off to his day. Everyday.
- Work – I start my day – typically around 7:30 AM. I have a plan for each week and I work the plan.
- Disruptions – They happen before I work the plan…sometimes before I get home from taking my son to school. I am often easily distracted.
- Meetings – It’s easy to set too many meetings. Schedule them carefully and space them appropriately.
- Afternoons – Most days I’m home (in my office) when my son gets home from school. My in-laws love to fill in for me when my schedule takes me elsewhere.
- Dinner – We always eat together – except on rare occasions. Don’t mess with this; it’s important.
- Evenings – There is no set schedule, but TV is not important. There’s homework for all of us. My son has his, my wife (who’s a teacher) has hers, and on occasion I’m doing something that I can do while we’re in the same room (like writing this). Some days we just chuck it all and go for ice cream. Some days there are church or school activities. Sometimes we watch something on the Food Network.
- Sleep – We typically wind down earlier than most because the morning starts quite early. We all go to bed at the same time.
A change that had to be made this year is I’m not teaching. Trying to do both just wasn’t working for me/us. I miss it, but things in the office are far too busy to be away that often. To balance one’s work and life, some things have to go, some have to be less. I’d like to think I’ll make it back there again.
This is my work; this is my life. It fits us, but it’s been custom made.
I get to do this.
Photo GIF 1: “Phenakistoscope 3g07690d“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.
Photo 2: “NWFusion7” by Lambtron – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.
Photo 3: “Jitterbug Wolcott FSA” by Marion Post Wolcott – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8c36090.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Photo GIF 4: Eadweard Muybridge [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Below are posts where my friends share their work/life. You’ll read many points of view that show there is no single way to balance your life. Please take time to read and interact with their posts today. #architalks
Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Work | Life – Different Letters, Same Word
Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Work / Life : Life / Work
Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Work/Life…What an Architect Does
Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The One Secret to Work – Life Balance
Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
Living an Integrated Life as a Small Firm Architect
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Collier Ward – Thousand Story Studio (@collier1960)
Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
what makes you giggle? #architalks
Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
Turning Work Off
Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Work/Life — A Merger
Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project (@miss32percent)
Work Life Fit: A New Focus for Blurred Lines
Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks: Imbalanced and uninterrupted
Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
ArchiTalks #12: Balance is a Verb.
Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
I Just Can’t Do This Anymore
Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
An Architect’s House
brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Brady Ernst – Family Man Since 08/01/2015
Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Father, Husband, Architect – typically in that order
Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC (@Parthenon1)
On Work: Life Balance – Cattywampus is as Good as it Gets
Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
midnight in the garden of [life] and [work]
Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Work = 1/3 Life
Daniel Beck – The Architect’s Checklist (@archchecklist)
Work Life Balance: Architecture and Babies – 5 Hints for Expecting Parents
Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Work is Life
Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@thatarchstudent)
studio / life
Lindsey Rhoden – SPARC Design (@sparcdesignpc)
Work Life Balance: A Photo Essay
Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Work / Life
6 thoughts on “work | life :: dance”
Your family should be proud of you, man 😉
Thank you. I’m trying.
It’s a blessed life- stay blessed! I can’t help notice every time you mention your son and your relation, it’s identical to the relationship I had with my father. Summer vacations, making time for breakfast together.. One day when he grows up, he is going to adore you for all the little things you did for me (I am sure he appreciates now, but when one becomes a parent, it’s a different emotion). Dance away without ever stomping feet!
Thanks Meghana. It’s a special relationship and in person it appears rather casual. However, my son has his own ways of expressing love and care towards us as his parents. I grew up without a father; he died when I was not quite five years old. This is what really matters. I’m so happy to hear of your story. It must have taught you so much.
This is really a beautiful description of how you balance your life. And the intentionality it takes to make it work. I really enjoyed reading it.
Lee, thanks for sharing these dance steps.
Like the pros always do – you make it look easy!