AMA: How do you balance improv with work and family?

“How do you balance improv with work and family without losing your sweet bean?”

Great question!

What helps me is to lock in regular times. Consistency keeps me from getting overwhelmed or unbalanced in any one area.

Thursday nights are always improv nights. It’s when we have rehearsal and then a show later that same night. Mondays through Fridays during the day is the day job. Friday nights is date night. Then there’s occasional extra stuff.

The extra stuff is when I usually get into trouble. I have a hard time saying “no” because I basically want to do everything. I’ve gotten better at this, but it’s very easy to get sucked into doing something every day of the week. I know from experience that I just can’t do that. Not anymore, at least. So I have to be protective of my time.

To make sure I’m actually doing good work at work, I have to do my best to be in bed by 10:30 PM. That sounds so lame, especially for a night owl like me who used to regularly stay up well past midnight, but it just doesn’t work. I like my day job, I’m passionate about it and I want to do good work. So I have to have some discipline around this. It’s not that I always am in bed by 10:30 every night before a work day; I frequently go past that. Often 10:30 is when I start to head to bed. And there are exceptions to the rule for special shows or situations where I know I’m going to be out late. So it’s 10:30-ish. But using that as the goal post helps to keep me from getting warn out, exhausted and then sick. And, you know, fired.

To make sure there’s family time with Nahleen and Cleo, every weekend we’ll go over our calendar for the upcoming week. We’re not quite as disciplined about this as we once were but partly it’s because I’m not quite as crazy at doing 50 million things as I once was. but that regular check-in forces us to communicate and be transparent about the week ahead so that we know we’re on the same page and making sure we’ve reserved time for us. Again, exceptions happen. Last minute opportunities come up, plans have to be changed.

The key is to be flexible and forgiving. Allow for exceptions but make sure they are the exception and don’t become the new unacknowledged rule.

So that’s what’s been working for me. I’d love to hear any other ideas.

***

Hey, I made it to Friday! That’s 5 straight days of daily blogging! Thanks for reading!

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