The separation of work and play.

The concept of “work/life balance” is simple: you have equal time for work responsibilities and life responsibilities. You go to work and make money to pay for your bills and the enjoyment of life.

It’s one of those elusive, holy grail ideas that I’ve been chasing since I heard of it during my early twenties. A decade later and I’m nowhere closer to attaining this mythical goal. Does that make me a failure? That’s what I thought for a long time.

My thought process on what this idea of balance has shifted. Now it’s really about how I can separate work from play? See, I’ve been working in the podcast industry for two years with Blubrry and I’ve loved podcasts since I discovered my first one ten years ago. Sadly, I feel like I’ve lost my love of making podcasts because it’s now an extension of my job. I feel guilty when I don’t release a new episode. I’m jealous when I see friends supporting shows with similar content to what I was making.

How to I let work be work so I can enjoy podcasting as a hobby again?

My boss, Mike Dell, coincidentally, had this same feeling recently of guilt for not having new episodes regularly. He decided the best course of action was to cut out the podcasts that he wasn’t committed to making.

That’s the curse of podcasting: you start one and then you want to do another and another and so on. This is the world a lot of podcasters live in, as do I. Take a look at all of the shows I’ve done a minimum of one episode for:

  • Geek This
  • The Cape Gauntlet
  • David/Dave Lives Here / Slightly Obnoxious, Strongly Sarcastic
  • RPG with Me / Friendlies & Fantasy
  • Because We Said

… and I’m not even sure that’s all of them. Also, I still have ideas for new podcasts I want to do! They all live in my head most days and I spend time figuring out new episodes for most of them. It’s exhausting at times.

What’s a guy to do?

The easy answer is similar to Mike’s: cut out what you’re not committed to. The hard part is letting things go. In some way, shape, or form, most of the shows mean something to me.

Geek This was the first show I made; The Cape Gauntlet was a test of endurance and research; SOSS was my “get it off my chest” outlet; Friendlies was a connection with my daughters through storytelling; Because We Said was a connection with my wife through advice-giving and question-asking.

They’re all parts of me and it’s like cutting off a body part simply because you can’t see it or don’t understand how to use it. Maybe that’s too dramatic of a metaphor? In the end, though, it’s hard to lay things to rest or send them out to sea. It needs to be done, though. There’s no use in expending energy on things I (a) have no desire to be consistent with or (b) have no passion about. Bear with me as I sort this out in the paragraphs that follow.

Off the bat, looking at this list of shows, I can say The Cape Gauntlet is an exhausting show from a research standpoint. Tracking the history of superhero comic books takes a lot of time, considering I have to determine what are considered key stories or defining moments. The easy part is understanding what will make a season of the podcast. I find the idea very appealing, but I don’t always want to spend the time to read and research. Maybe it should go.

Geek This is the oldest show I’ve done, dating back to late 2012. This is the hard one. I’m still passionate about the show and the subject matter, but what I miss is making it with someone. Running a solo show like that 100% on my own has been incredibly difficult. It’s been harder now that I work from home and most of my interaction with human beings is with customers on the phone or co-workers via Slack. Those conversations are hardly ever about pop culture. If I can’t get someone to commit to recording with me once a week or every other week, maybe it needs to be shut down for good?

Friendlies & Fantasy feels like a lost cause. It’s a lot of work to develop a story for a role-playing game when (a) I’ve never even played – which will be remedied soon, I hope – and (b) kids have short attention spans. There’s no gray area here, regardless of how much I love the name and concept. It needs to go dormant until I know what I’m doing with it.

Slightly Obnoxious, Strongly Sarcastic needs to stay. I need an outlet for talking about things on my mind. The good thing is that I’m not making it for anyone but myself and I don’t care if anyone ever listens to it. Maybe it will benefit someone else, but that’s not the point.

Because We Said will always be nagging at the back of my brain. Wendie and I love making the show and have said over and over again that we need to simply make the time for it. We love the conversations we have and it isn’t filtered, really. It’s an honest expression of who we are, what we believe, and questions that come with being an adult, parent, child, and friend. Part of the tag line is, “exploring relationships” and that’s what I love about it. I’m exploring the relationship I have with my wife and our kids as we talk. I really think our marriage has deepened and our perspective on parenting has changed because of this show. It needs to stay and we need to be real about staying consistent.

So that’s it. I’ve publicly walked through my mind palace and decided what shows I need to forget about. Or I’ve at least leaned in one way or another.

If you’ve listened to my shows, I’d love to know what your thoughts are. What shows did you enjoy listening to? Do you have a show you absolutely want me to continue or one that should drop off the face of the earth? Let me know in the comments of this post or on Twitter.

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