"To be or not to be", to do or not do, oh philosophical inquiry that some will pose in particular moments in life... I myself dwell constantly with the challenge of balancing work and life especially in the sense of time.
I considering myself to be quite obsessive when it comes to doing something, more importantly doing things the "right way" and to completion, and that more often than not takes time, sometimes a lot of time. On the other hand I try to balance that obsession with an urge to offset the amount of time spent doing or thinking about work and related subjects. Trying to do things to entertain yourself and the ones around you, socialize, exercise, etc. all very important things to do to compose your being, but again, also take time, important time.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking about that nice 1 week vacation I had with my daughter about 4-5 years ago when we went for the first time in both our lives to the mountains in the Andean region surroundings of San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Snow, skiing, bonding, good food and good times. How often do we get to do that? I must confess I do it less, a lot less, than I should.
I've always been known to be a workaholic, not just because I work too much and long hours and long nights, but also because I absolutely love what I do, which for some might be an excuse for the exaggeration and priority I sometimes give work, but it is the most honest true. Enjoying what you do, to me, is a must so you can live a happy and why not healthy life.
If I am not working I am most probably thinking or talking about work, if not working some more :), which makes it real difficult to focus on balancing life (really recommend a quick reading: Balancing Work and Life, a book I grabbed at the airport a couple of years ago when trying to get my mind off work).
Some say Time management is more of an art than a science, I agree to a certain degree although like many forms of art, you can learn how to do it better and better (again, totally recommend the free - but not so quick - reading of materials and books offered at http://www.mindtools.com/).
Hoping to somehow make sense out of my time puzzle: work + work + rest + work + work = free-time + money, I try to keep myself busy at most times, not just to keep my brain sharp and keep myself up to date with my career and responsibilities, ultimately what I chase is some of the rarest moments when I can enjoy the money I made working by spending some free time with family and friends somewhere around the world (which by the way, I should do more).
I remember last year, while on a long 3-month business trip to England, taking some good time off to take my lovely wife out through London and the country-side of the UK, while seeing lots of plays and learning about the history of the region, passing by Shakespeare's home-town on the way. Those were well enjoyed 3-months of hard intellectual work but balanced with personal and social life! I really miss it.
Just recently I decided to take on some additional projects aside from my long-hours of work at the company to get some new things going, trying to catch the new wave on mobile development and also secure some of the future with some partnerships, and helping some friends while at it. Of course, that unbalances the scale yet again, but hoping it all to be worthwhile at the end or soon enough.
And as always, I keep questioning myself, in a healthy way, should I really be spending this much time on work matters? What about my loved ones and friends and myself as an individual? Shouldn't I give work less (or at least less than the lot I normally give it) time and try to spend more time on the pleasant things life has to offer? But again, I need and want the experience and of course the money that will allow me to enjoy life better... Almost sounds like a catch-22, or a philosophical deadlock!
And again, we come, almost in circles, to the beginning of this post with the so endured question that almost touches the pain surrounding the time management challenge: What to be, what to do?
I guess the answer is not quite trivial, but I try to keep answering it one day at a time, always using good sense and some of the skills acquired along the way to decide, step by step, what to do, based on what and where I want to be.