Blog Post

Work-Life Boundaries for the Passionate Worker

I bet some Web Worker Daily readers can see themselves in Seth Godin’s description of the passionate worker:

The passionate worker doesn’t show up because she’s afraid of getting in trouble, she shows up because it’s a hobby that pays. The passionate worker is busy blogging on vacation… because posting that thought and seeing the feedback it generates is actually more fun than sitting on the beach for another hour. The passionate worker tweaks a site design after dinner because, hey, it’s a lot more fun than watching TV.

The only problem with being super-passionate about your work life is that work can take over your whole life. That’s especially so for web workers since near-ubiquitous connectivity means you can almost always tweak that website, write that blog post, or code that next feature no matter where you are or what time it is.

How do you make sure your personal life doesn’t get lost? If you are truly passionate about your work, practices like limiting your work time or batch processing email may not be strong enough to keep work in its place — because your work is so engaging it magnetically pulls you back again and again.

What to do? Use boundary-setting methods that take advantage of your passionate personality. For example, choose flow-inducing hobbies and pursue personal goals with as much attention as you bring to your professional goals. You can read about those methods and more in the guest post I wrote for Tim Ferriss’ blog: 5 Boundary-Setting Tips for the Work Obsessed.

If you’ve come up with good ways to keep your passionate work life from smothering your personal life, share them in the comments.

8 Responses to “Work-Life Boundaries for the Passionate Worker”

  1. I think that even the passionate need a break once in a while. Where’s the line between passion and workaholism? (Not directing that last question to anyone in particular – could also ask it of myself.)

  2. I love the web. My idea of a great night is really getting ‘work’ done.

    Sometimes I feel the burnout simply because of eye strain or sitting too long, or the occasional time when I am spinning my wheels, not really accomplishing much, but other than that I feel absolutely satisfied.

    Staying in good shape is really important to me, and something you really cannot achieve by sitting in front of a computer (yet?), so I practice a yoga/martial art Dahn Mu Do everyday.

    Also I take classes, but almost always software instruction, like After Effects which I will do next week.

    In a nut shell I think I am so lucky to enjoy this so much, and I can’t imagine it any other way (for now).

  3. Sounds more like a recipe for burnout than anything to me.

    I would not dream of blogging from the beach or rather the shore as we in New Jersey call it.

    To me the water is soothing and relaxing, refreshes my mind and recharges my batteries.

    On a side note after reading a so-so review of Seth Godin’s last opus, I thought it would be fun to ask people to contribute tasty recipes in Meatballs for Seth.

    Feel free to contribute.

    Don’t get obsessive compulsive.

    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’