This article discusses work/life balance for video professionals, especially those with kids. Since having a child my thoughts on work/life balance went from the normal, “yeah, ya know, it’s important to separate yourself from work sometimes” to the now extreme, “this is my time with my family — leave me alone!”
Being a video editor or just in the video industry itself leads to long hours, odd hours, and usually the constant need to be by your phone to respond to a client. I’m here to say that it’s okay to not answer a call or email. It’s okay to put the phone down; the laptop away. Take a step back. And go focus on your family or yourself.
How to Take a Technology Break Each Day
Around the middle of December, some 40 days ago, I started being “technology-free” for one hour a day. The gist of it is no screens (phone, computer, and tv) and no Alexa (I’m shocking dependent on her) for one hour each day. I’ve come to realize this is the happiest hour of my day.
The first week was very difficult. It’s just muscle memory to sit down on the couch, pull out your phone, and open up your social media of choice. After the new habit kicked in, I look forward to that time away from the world when I can be a 100% father.
It’s okay to not answer a call or email.
Each day after I get home from picking up my son from daycare I check my email. Respond to what I need to. Check the time. Then go put my phone in another room. I spend the next 60 minutes with my son. Playing on his mat or reading books in the rocking chair. It’s the best part of my day.
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Removing Yourself From Work to Focus on Life
It’s hard to pull yourself away from the work world — that ecosystem you’re in the majority of your waking life. You see these people and focus on these projects more than your family. It is what it is. We need to work to pay the bills and provide. But that doesn’t mean we need to let it consume us to the point of forgetting what we’re working for.
In the new “hustle economy” I’m here to say that’s it’s okay not to hustle all the time. It took awhile to beat this adjusted mindset into me. I’m cautiously looking to start taking on some small freelance projects again. The caveat being that I can only work on them when the time is right — basically for an hour here or there after the kiddo has gone to sleep. Finding work like this is rare. That’s the only way though I can keep the work/life balance I’ve created while still “hustling.”
As I write this my kid is asleep on me while I sit in the rocking chair. We had to keep him home from daycare because of a fever. My 9-5 job is crazy busy, as it always is, but I’m still here. With my kid. Because I need to be.
I know not everyone has this luxury. Tomorrow I *have* to go into the office but my wife can stay home if need be. Today was one of the days she *had* to go in. But if push came to shove being with our kid is the only place we need to be.
If you take anything away from this I hope you consider putting the screens away for a little bit each day, even if you don’t have a kid. Be present. Read a book. Go for a walk. Do something that disconnects you from your projects and clients.
– Josh // taking it one hour at a time