I recently asked a few people a question about work / life balance and how they try to achieve it. I then put it out there to the world of social media. I always planned to follow it up with some sort of summary / blog post based on feedback from others who read and contributed on Twitter.

So here it is. My question.

“I’m often told that I’m a workaholic. I work long hours and have often sacrificed time off to do work. You could say I have an unhealthy work/home balance. Do you find it easy to maintain a happy work / home balance and if so, what would be your top tip to those who struggle like myself.”

First comment I got back was from @jake74

That hurt a but. I’d taken great care in asking freelancers and employees, it just so happens the employees never got back to me in time to publish. So I asked him why it was interesting.

He replied with…

Now I saw his point. Freelancers choose their time to a point, agency workers don’t which from personal experience can stop you even having the choice of having a work / life balance.

It was then @thebrainroom posted

All valid points. Staff shouldn’t be staying all the time if projects are handled properly.

@jake74 then came back with

I’ll come back to the cool points in a bit.

@anthony_casey posted

and finally @davecoveney added

As someone who has done both freelance and agency work, I’ve seen people who work 9-5 and get slaughtered for it, almost branded as someone who doesn’t care. Where I used to work, I was asked once to speak to my team and ask them to stay behind an extra 15, 20 mins in the hope they might start to do it more regularly. The boss felt that people leaving at 5 meant they probably had shut down by 4.45 and that he deserved that 15 mins. He was a workaholic and worked till all hours and couldn’t understand how people could rock in at 9 and go at 5. “Are they getting the work done?” he’d ask. They were.

I made a rod for my own back there. I worked hard, and at times would be working well into the early mornings doing work (I’d be at home). The days I didn’t were the ones remembered. I’d be in for 7 and last to leave most nights.

You could argue that I was a slow worker maybe or I’m doing it for recognition (back to the cool points). I really wasn’t. We were very busy. Much like today. Where I am now, I work longer hours than asked. I like to get things done. Yes, I tweet and read stuff during the day but tell me those who work 9-5 that don’t. We all do.

I don’t have a problem with people who work 9-5. Nobody should. It’s their paid hours. They are my paid hours and recently I’ve had the luxury of not having to do any extra hours. I still have a long drive home but I can at least enjoy some sunshine.

All my working life, I’ve put a lot in. From working 7 day weeks for a few weeks at another place (it was mental, I’ll write about it one day) to the day my father died and I still went in to work. I take being employed very seriously. I have to provide. I have two small children and although they don’t live with me, I still see them nearly every day and enjoy weekends with them. I’m very lucky. I’d love to see them more of course.

Maybe I’m the dumb one. I see people who don’t really care that much. They are alright at what they do but have no desire to go the extra effort. Maybe I should take their lead.

So am I workaholic? Probably.

But it’s my choice.