The concept of achieving a work-life balance has maybe become a bit hackneyed as a term over the last few years but as a reality it is something I have been trying very hard to get right.
I love my work but the problem is that in reality I am employed part time for a variable and uncertain number of days at one job and self employed in two other jobs at the same time ( all of which are related to law), with aspirations to keep up the paying hobby of freelance writing from time to time. Making sure that there is a sensible and sustainable balance of these three primary sources of income, is hard enough but then I have to add onto that the fight to get a life outside of work. Not easy when the self employment necessarily involved travel around the country and papers that arrive in the late afternoon by email or, worse, in the evening by motor cycle courier.
In 2006 I decided not to take bookings to work in court or lecture in Mondays. This resulted in a loss of income but meant I had a day free for prep and paperwork which is a large part of the job. The knock on of that is that I got my weekends free. (Mostly. When it works!). I am sure that it is no co-incidence that it was at the same time that I accidentally discovered quilting. I had time to have a go and, well.... the rest is history and a blog.
Why I am thinking about this tonight? Well first because I am blogging from a residential course in Warwick. Downstairs the event is still ongoing ( it is now 10pm). Most of my colleagues are either in the bar watching a football match together, listing to a string quartet brought in for our delectation or - assuming someone responded to the notice on the lecture hall door earlier -having a couple of rubbers of bridge. Me? I left after desert and have spent the last hour watching Jamie Oliver teaching Rotherham how to cook and hand quilting my City and Guilds cushion.
Does this make me anti-social? Did I make a big mistake telling my colleagues that was what I was going to do? Do I care? Well, actually I am having a little crisis of confidence that I might have got it wrong and let the life overtake the work inappropriately on this occasion. But then, my day started at 8am this morning with a communal breakfast and I have been with my colleagues until 9.15pm. Is that not enough?!