Mari

Scott: It’s tough to be productive with a guilty conscience.

In Brainstorm, Create, Human behavior, Parenting, Take action on 12/01/2009 at 5:13 pm

Nate introduced me to Matt who introduced me to Scott (@chicagojones), with whom I lunched a few weeks ago. Great conversation, smart guy, runs his own ad agency, lots of prominent clients – in short, he’s brilliant.

A few days ago, a colleague sent a link to Communication Arts magazine (which I hear is pretty prestigious), and I was scrolling through the Insights section. Lo and behold, they featured Scott. So I started to read.

While the interview is charismatic and entertaining (and Scott has great responses to every question, so you should read it regardless), I LOVE this:

Q: What’s your approach to balancing work and life?
A: No matter how many hours you put into work, it’s always going to be there; I have three kids who won’t be young forever. Since it’s tough to be productive with a guilty conscience, I try to knock things out when it matters least to them—before they wake up or after they’re in bed.

I often always feel guilty. But being guilty does nobody any good. I need to move past the self-imposed guilt, be productive when my kid doesn’t care that I’m busy, and be intentional when I do get spend time with him.

Great insight, Scott. Next lunch, I’m going to pick your brain about how you balance it all so well. Here’s to late night/early morning work hours, Diet Coke and brilliance.

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  1. Great post, Mari. I know how you and Scott feel. I had my own biz when my kids were younger and I struggled with the work/life balance. I employed the same ideas: Billable client work during the typical work hours and running of the biz late nights and early mornings when the kids were asleep. Truth is that when you run your own business, there really is no work/life balance, but the other truth is that you don’t get those years back with your family. I was lucky as I could make my schedule as flexible as needed so I didn’t miss much with my daughters. I still coached their teams when they were younger and chaperoned their music trips when they were older. The consequence was that my work hours were sometimes much like yours, late into the night and early in the morning, but it was way worth the trade-off. Thanks for these great blog posts. You know a lot of smart people.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Kevin. It’s so good to hear others’ stories about similar experiences. All of this hard work will hopefully pay off in one way or another, even if it’s just giving my son an example of what hard work really is. 🙂

    That said, I think the work/life balance is an ongoing struggle – which is a natural consequence of the world being as dynamic as it is. And that is what makes life interesting, right?

  3. Great topic Mari, I’m just a few days late to the party. I think a guilty conscience is our inner voice telling us that something is out of balance. Working and parenting is a balancing act and at times some of us feel like jugglers in the circus. Structure, priorities, and consistency make a good mantra for this area and help people stay in focus. I think kids have an appreciation for the quality of the time that we spend with parents too, and sometimes I have to force myself to be quiet and just listen. What I liked best was your comment about setting an example for hard work! That commodity is in such short supply.

    • Thanks for commenting, Chris. I agree with you that balance is absolutely necessary to live a fulfilled life; it’s just tough to achieve that balance many times with so many outside influences pulling us in so many directions. And that’s where priorities come in – we need to dictate our negotiables and non-negotiables and stay true to them.

      Good to have you here!

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