As a freelance writer, I largely get to set my own hours and “work when I want to.” That phrase — “work when I want to” — is a bit misleading (and a common myth), because if I truly only worked when I wanted to, I probably wouldn’t be working nearly as much as I do. I think this is true of most entrepreneurs, both online and offline. At the same time, I do feel blessed that my work is mostly enjoyable and at least the blogging part of it can be pretty fun (and something that I might have done anyways).
Some time back, I posted an article here about finding a healthy life-work balance. Working from home on my own terms, I’m faced with quite the conundrum, because I’m never truly away from the office in the traditional sense. Whereas the conventional 9-to-5 worker can leave his or her job behind at 5pm on Friday afternoon, that’s much harder to accomplish as a 24/7 entrepreneur. I’m always on duty, so to speak. There is always an opportunity to make money and that serves as a huge motivating factor.
As such, it is far too easy to feel guilty if I am sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs, because I know that I can take a few steps over to my computer and blast out a couple more projects that have been sitting on my plate.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the subjects covered in my freelance writing are already areas of interest for me. I wrote about Street Fighter characters, for example, and that game is something I’ve loved for a very long time. The same can be said about when I blog about MP3 players or cell phones, because I like that kind of stuff even outside of the work context. In blogging about mobile technology, research must be done and this oftentimes involves the reading of several tech blogs on the net. As you’d imagine the lines between what is considered “work” reading and “leisure” reading become quite muddled. The separation becomes even blurrier when it comes to video games or the happenings in the blogosphere.
For a while, the tagline on Stephen Fung dot Net was (and I am paraphrasing), “Work, play… it’s all the same.” In this sense, I guess the fake Hong Kong star shares my perspective or experience to a certain extent. It sometimes can feel like it’s all the same.
To find an appropriate life-work balance, some gurus teach you to set up well-defined boundaries between what is personal and what is business. When you are off duty, leave the BlackBerry at the office. For work-at-home Internet entrepreneurs, I’m not entirely sure if this is wholly possible, especially if your occupation also happens to be your passion. And this sort of begs the question: Do you really need to separate work from play and vice versa? Must your job have nothing to do with your leisure?
My tentative answer is no, based not only on my personal experience, but also the experience of certain dot com moguls with whom I associate. All this said, it would be fascinating to hear from other people struggling to find a life-work balance and how they view the matter of separating work from play. Please don’t hesitate to speak your mind through the comment form below.