Non-Essential Life Projects & Being a Working Parent

Tuesday August 20th, 2019 // Late Afternoon Nap

Lately I’ve been feeling the grind of being a working parent. Our son has been with us for a bit more than eight weeks and I’ve been back at work for the past six weeks. And the day-to-day grind is beginning to wear on me.

That ever elusive “time” for stuff has always haunted me, even before becoming a parent. I’ve always been searching for time to blog more. Or time to run. Or time to learn Vietnamese. I’m probably no different than you.

All these “non-essential life projects” require time and there just never seems to be enough of it, especially as a working parent. Especially as a working parent who freelances on the side and wants to maintain a somewhat social life.


Between commuting, working, walking the pup, and trying to spend as much time as possible in the evening with my kiddo I’m flat out exhausted by the time he goes down around 9:00 PM. When am I supposed to [insert non-essential life project here]???!?

Image of man scratching head while subway train whizzes by

Yeah, yeah. There’s always time if you want it bad enough and I could wake up earlier and #crushit. That stuff isn’t healthy, y’all. Burnout is real. The GaryVee approach to this stuff is unsustainable — he can do that kind of 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM grind day in and day out because he has a team of people dealing with all that other stuff that gets in our way (i.e. driving to the UPS store to return an Amazon order, picking your kid up from daycare, doing the dishes, etc.).

Our “non-essential life projects” continually get thrown to the side until they die out. We forget about them or lose enough momentum to make them feel like they’re not worth picking back up. I have too many failed ones to count.

Carpentry tools on a piece of lumber

But I still have some that continue to thrive. It’s a good thing I’m pretty hard headed when it comes to these kind of things. From my experience the only way to keep up with your “non-essential life projects” is to have small, daily or weekly habits that you strive to always hit.

A few that I have are:

  • 50 consecutive push-ups everyday — I do them right before I jump in the shower every morning (I’m at 1,672 straight days now)
  • Study Vietnamese everyday — I take at least one Memrise lesson a day
  • Publish a blog post for my side business each week
  • Publish a blog post for this site each week — Since launching this site I’ve been pretty close to accomplishing this each week
  • Read a book once a week — I’d love for this to be daily and I’ve tried and it never worked. Instead I’ve been able to keep momentum and moral by setting this to a weekly habit.

Between these habits and a few others I’m able to keep the pedal pushed down on most of my “non-essential life projects” but it’s still difficult. This whole working parent thing makes it more and more difficult each week.

I don’t have any answers on how to fix it. I’m still learning as I go.

– Josh // feeling burnt out

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