I respect people who devote themselves completely to a project or job. Without question, giving it your all usually awards you a competitive edge. But I worry about the limited investment driven people are able to make in other parts of their lives. If you invest 100% of your energy (and time) into a project, what is left for family, friends, or your own health? What about your personal life goals?
On this planet, we only have 23 hours, 57 minutes, and 4.1 seconds in a day. If you spend 18 hours working on your project, when will you see your children? When will you sleep or exercise? And when will you have time to chisel away at your hobby? For those of you who are working for the money, do you have time to spend or even manage the money you do make? If not, what’s the point? What’s the point of working that hard anyway? To do better? If your job is the most important thing in your life, then why let family or anyone else distract you? What’s the point?
I am all for investing yourself in your work. I work very hard myself. But I draw lines and live by rules. I will not let my job, or any project for that matter, take time away from my dreams. And I am actively optimizing my life to make more time with friends, family, travel, and personal projects.
Inventory your “all” and decide where best to map your energy and time.
Hollywood is notorious for failed marriages. Why? To succeed in this town, you need to give it your all. Eat, sleep, breathe entertainment. Might sound fun on the outside, but it’s hell on the inside. In one year alone, I’ve seen families shattered, relationships severed, possessions seized, and health jeopardized. It’s the name of the game out here. When you’re working 14 hour days and competing with hundreds of extremely talented people and projects, how the hell can you do anything else with your life?
Outside the movie business, lifestyles are not nearly this extreme. Still, I hear horror stories of workaholics compromising their personal lives to submit to their jobs. Whether you are working 16 or 60 hours per week, it is important to separate your job from the rest of your life. If you do not, work can consume you. Depending on how you handle pressure, it may even destroy you.
When you come home at night, forget it. Stop thinking about your day. Leave it all behind. Worried you’ll forget where to pick up in the morning? That’s what to-do lists are for. Have a job where you are responsible for grading or reading or reports that need to be done outside of the workplace? Find another place to do them. Just do not bring them home. Do not bring your work home.
The level of stress work carries can hurt you, hurt your families, and hurt your friends. No one likes spending time with a wreck. And most people get bored with a wreck that drones on about his or her job. There’s more to life and the world than your job. You become really one-dimensional when that’s all you care about.