On Time

Kole here.

I work a full time job for a company called Epipheo. It's a hip and trendy modern workplace where I have a floofy title ("Story Lead"). If I worked anywhere else, I would be called a Creative Lead, Writer, or Director. I talk with clients at large and small tech companies to figure out what makes their Thing so special, and then I take this back to a creative team to make an animated video out of it. This takes up about 45-50 hours a week, on a flexible schedule, where I'm never really "on" or "off" duty.

I love this job. I frequently have moments where I think "Wait, I'm being paid to do this?" I do voiceover work. I get to hang out with nice and cool people who help me grow creatively.

I also run the Duckfeed.tv podcast network. I host and edit shows. I interact with fans. I work very hard to find new ways to keep listeners and money coming in while making sure that the content keeps going out. I just reevaluated my time budgets for each show, and my weekly commitment to this network runs anywhere from 35 hours to 45 hours per week.

I love this job. I get to spend time talking with some of my best friends about the things that I'm passionate about. The work of everyone at the network has attracted a wonderful and dedicated group of fans who delight me regularly with their insight and wit. I frequently stop and think "Wait, people are paying me to do this?" I get to be independent.

Oftentimes I'll have days or weeks where I just have no energy. Where all I want to do is collapse on the couch and watch some show I've seen a million times before. Even reading seems like too much effort.

This is because I'm effectively working two full time jobs. A lot of people get to crash on the couch when they get home. That doesn't happen often for me.

This leads to times when I feel frustrated and guilty that I'm behind on email, or frustrated that I'm always just barely getting things done under the wire. Frustrated that I finish my blog entries late. Sad that I can't make time to work on Hex Crank, a project that always seems to get bumped from my list.

I'm not writing this to whine, although I wouldn't blame you for thinking I was.

I'm not writing this as a sideways method of asking for more money, even though this entry is inspired by my frequent bouts of trying to find ways to make Duckfeed.tv my full time gig.

I'm not on the edge of quitting or reevaluating my commitments to either of my jobs, but a sane man would.

I'm writing this to say that I suck at managing time.

And if you're out there reading this and you're already working on a side hustle -- or thinking about starting one -- I'd ask you to frequently stop and take stock of what you're giving of yourself, and weigh that against what you're getting back.

There are only so many strategies you can adopt to try and mitigate the time cost of doing creative work. A frequent joke is that I'm a "productivity guy" who subscribes to Inbox Zero and Getting Things Done... A LifeHacker and Disruptor who is constantly Innovationeering.

That's a partially accurate assessment of my situation.

As a man riddled with anxieties, I fret and I plan and I build systems, trying to place guard rails around my life. I break up my assignment games into easily digestible chunks and throw them onto a calendar. I plan releases and recordings months ahead.

I let people down all the time. I let myself down a lot.

We've all failed, will fail, and are probably failing right now.

But I also try and extend myself some grace and recognize that some nights are best spent covered up and watching bad TV. Or that some weekends are best spent at home with my family.

I've turned my hobbies into a second job. There's no great tragedy in wanting to play WATCH_DOGS but having to play Half-Life instead. I'm still playing a great game.

What I give of myself to this network is a lot of time. What I get in return huge. You guys listen, and you guys comment, and you guys share, and you guys give me your hard-earned money for something that is free elsewhere. You guys enrich my life in a way that few are fortunate enough to experience.

To return to my half-formed exhortation, my call-to-action is that you don't let the time commitment of your hobbies scare you away from pursuing them... nor should you let them swallow you whole if you can help it.

I apologize if this comes across as whiny or preachy. I'm not saying "poor me", I'm saying "lucky me". I just needed a moment of writing therapy.

I'm also sorry that this entry was late. I had a thing.