I’ve generally been quite good about work / life balance. Work fits into work and, as I progressed to more senior roles, you’d be willing to get in a bit early, stay a bit later or do some extra work at home from time to time. However, with things like church volunteering and musical projects on the go, it was easy to avoid getting too carried away.
Now that I work for a church and that role is centred round music and creativity, it feels harder to do that. What do I do because I am paid for it and what do I volunteer? After all, it wouldn’t happen at all without the efforts of many volunteers giving of their free time.
One of the tools I use is a little Python script that talks to the Google calendar I use for work events. I can give it a date range and it will tell me what I’ve done and how many hours. That gets plugged into a spreadsheet and I can keep tabs on what I do as work and thus how much of the rest of my free time is used as a volunteer. This week, with a couple of extra events happening and extra preparation for them, I can see that I am safely over my hours and need to dial things back for the rest of this week and next week.
I could manually calculate this, which would take a big chunk of time in itself, or try and guess, which I think would end up with me working a lot longer than I ought, including volunteer time. I think the use of my programming skills has given a good return on investment and, until they invent the 36 hour day, will help me to stay generous, diligent and not working all the hours that God sends.