Readers: This is my entry in the ArchiTalks blogging event for September (ArchiTalks #12) in which a group of architects address the topic of “Work/Life”. Links to the other posts are provided below.
Honestly, the achievement of a healthy work/life balance has effectively eluded me for the thirty years I’ve been practicing architecture. (Ask my devoted wife or grown kids if you don’t believe me).
Even including my earlier years as a student and intern, I’ve always tended toward being an over-worker. I’ve been an employee, an independent contractor, a partner, and a sole proprietor – and the result has been the same. I have no one to blame but myself.
If I could offer one bit of insight however, it would be this: Life isn’t so much about balance as it is about rhythm.
Life is organic and systematic, cyclical and seasonal – it’s not a static monolith to be propped up and balanced. A farmer would be silly to balance his time across the seasons. He will have periods of intense activity separated by periods of waiting. The fields and the weather require it. Most of us are far removed from the land but our work is still cyclical and we go through different seasons professionally. Ideals of balance should yield to the practicalities of rhythm.
For me, one aspect of honoring life’s cyclical rhythm is by taking advantage of a weekly day of rest. On a set day I focus on family and faith and free time. I don’t go near my work computer, in fact I try to not even think about work. It’s not always possible – sometimes a deadline or an urgent client request eats into my day off. It’s the proverbial paradox of “laboring to enter into that rest” but it’s a habit worth developing.
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As some of you know, I’m in the midst of writing my first novel (an architecturally themed novel you’re sure to enjoy – I add in shameless self-promotion). Such an undertaking requires continual study and craft development. Successful writers have to read and write daily – so I’m learning to work these disciplines into my daily rhythm. I’ll keep you posted here.
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Please take some time and enjoy these other architects’ takes an the topic of work/life:
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
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
work | life :: dance
Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
Living an Integrated Life as a Small Firm Architect
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
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
Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)
Architecture: Work to Live
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