Someone on the Google+ Community Project Management for the Masses decided to ask the question:
How are you balancing our routine life with following your passion in life?
This is a question that is important to me, and that I also have spent quite a lot of time recently trying to find my own answer to it. It is not just the balance between work, and personal passions, but also spouse, and kids (I view them as distinct. I personally think that you cannot bundle them. Taking care of your spouse is not sufficient to take care of your kids, and taking care of your kids is not sufficient to take care of your spouse. But this would bring us far away from Project Management, Leadership and Productivity.)
So here’s a summary of my current answer to that question:
My approach starts with the principle that we are only one person. While it is theoretically nice to have a work and life view of your life, in the end, you also just have one life. I am not saying that I am at the best level yet, but I am sharing thoughts. I of course welcome any thoughts, experience, suggestions and inspirations from others.
I have created first a Life Map in MindMeister. The goal was to decide on what I really want to spend my time. Then I structured my information management and task management systems based on the Life Map. I use mostly cloud services so that I have access to my stuff, tasks or documents, anywhere.
After that, it is a question of maximizing the utilization of my time. We all have only 24 hours in a day (See Time is precious, Manage it, Part 1 and Part 2). Do we spend it on activities aligned with our dreams and goals, or on “waste of time”. Please note I do NOT define anything as a “waste of time”. My definition of “waste of time” is stuff that is not on my Life Map. So you choose what you put on the map, and therefore you choose what is aligned and what is a “waste of time”.
After that, it is a matter of balancing the time available with the Life Map. Unfortunately for me, I tend to have more ideas than time. So I must do “project Portfolio Management” and decide which ones are “approved” and which ones are “no-go”. Very recently, I actually killed an idea for a project from my Map. I realized that I would never get there, or it would dilute my effort too much and be really non-productive for my goals and dreams.
It may sound complex or not natural. It is actually very simple, and very personal. From experience, and discussion with others, the most complex part is usually:
“What do you want? What are your dreams?”
Most know how to occupy their time, but have never really step back and define their dreams.
That would be my initial response. I am curious to read others.