the pendulum of a double life

February 5, 2010

A few months back (hard to believe it’s been that long, by the way), I wrote a few posts about my double life. It’s becoming more common to do a church start-up bi-occupationally — a portion of time for the church and an portion of time to the church and a portion of time to feeding your family. I’m learning about this on the fly, and working it out here in hopes it will be beneficial to others.

The last post was about the rhythm of my double life. Splitting time between two different occupations takes some structure and discipline in my schedule, but I think I manage that part pretty well.

In spite of maintaining a somewhat defined weekly rhythm, there is one challenge that extends beyond my ‘work time’. Neither of my jobs is a put in your hours and be done. I don’t go to an office; there isn’t a time clock. When it comes to pastoring, most are aware of this. But it is similar with my design work — as with any creative work, my brain keeps working out ideas long after I’ve let go of my mouse.

What I find is that both of these jobs compete for brain cycles in ways that a defined schedule doesn’t regulate. It goes through seasons where one might be more prominent than the other. The amount of ‘work’ time given to each might be the same, but one dominates the other in mind in the idle times…as I’m driving someplace or waking up in the morning.

Late in the fall, I went on a few different trips related to the pastor side of my life — smaller conferences exploring church mission in differing contexts. At one of them I was even a presenter. Along with this, design work was slower, and I was able to take some time to rework our church website. In other words, my extra brain cycles were able to swing toward my church work.

So far, 2010 has been a different story. I’ve had lots of design work come in, which has been a great relief after a slow fall. I still do design work in the afternoon, but it has taken a lot of energy. (I’m learning just how much the creative side of design takes out of me.) Most of my extra brain cycles so far this year have swung toward design work.

I enjoy both of these jobs, and they interact with each well in terms of flexibility and crossover. It may be that I’ll learn to regulate the pendulum better. But it also may be that this is just the nature of maintaining two roles. I’d be curious to hear how this has been for others.

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