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The Day I Forgot My Sons Name – Work Life Balance and My New Schedule

The day I forgot my sons name was a wakeup call that my work/life balance, or whatever you want to call it, was seriously out of whack!

It was a few years ago and during one of my VERY busy times at my previous day job  (80+hrs/week for 2 months) my wife was 3 weeks from her due date with our first child and I was hoping to be done the project that had me busy before she popped.

We were woken up very early that it was go-time and baby was not waiting for 3 weeks and was on its way now.

It was an incredibly exciting day having our first child born! Even during that day there was still time I put into the day job with calls from work needed to keep the project moving in the field.

Doing a little work in the delivery room wasn’t the embarrassing part (although it should have been) the embarrassing moment/wake up call came the next day…

Everyone was doing well and I was heading back in to work with the intent of getting some critical information handed over to the team, grabbing my computer and heading back home to spend a couple days with my wife and son.

My plan was to slip into work quickly get done what was needed and get out.

However, as I rounded a corner several of the ladies on my floor swarmed asking questions, I got most of them…


“yes everyone is doing well”

“7lbs 6oz”


What is his name….

(oh crap – I draw a blank!)

So feebly I say…

“we haven’t named him yet”

A blatant lie, maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was my wife convincing me she thought we were having a girl or maybe my mind being focused on the 10 critical things I wanted to get done quickly before getting home. But regardless of my weak excuses the fact is that in the first 24hrs of parenthood I had a serious parenting fail!

Reflecting on it shortly after it was clear that for me to be the parent I wanted to be devoting as much mental energy as I was to my day job would always leave me with less capacity then I wanted/needed for my family!

It is tough to say when the idea of working for myself running an online business became more than an idea and turned into an obsession but I think this point is likely as good any!

So ~3 years later I quit and am now running my online business full time. (full story here)

It didn’t happen overnight and took many years of working the schedule outlined below but the goal was achieved…

Day Job vs Full Time Online Entrepreneur Schedule:

Below is a side by side comparison of my schedule when I had my day job and now when I am working online full time.

I still work a lot of hrs but I am able to shift a good chunk of hours to spending time with my family in the afternoon to do fun activities!


Breaking down the hours by activity this is the result…

I don’t intend to say that my current schedule is better than my previous one for everyone or even that my current schedule is ideal for people. Many people would still think I work too much and don’t have enough fun/socialize time in there but for me the ability to have the freedom to design the schedule that is best for my family and me is a very clear improvement in quality of life!

If you are working towards a similar goal hopefully this post shows the level of effort that needs to be sustained and for how long to give you an idea that it won’t be easy but it is possible!

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

Ben says February 8, 2017

Love the story … but the ghost writer needs some pointers

    Jon says February 8, 2017

    haha nope no ghost writer just me that needs some pointers. Glad you liked the story!

Nouman says February 8, 2017

Great stuff Job. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.

Btw do you just skip lunch or did I miss something?

    Jon says February 8, 2017

    Lunch at my desk both at day job and now.

Nathan Alger says February 8, 2017

You already blew my mind with the amount of work that you accomplished with a full time job, but now lookout when you have 11 hours a day on your online business.

Alex says February 8, 2017

Your story is very touching Jon since I understand how exhausting people out-there feel after a hard working day. And many of my friends quit their daily job to go online full-time but then facing problems in time management (some are too busy to fight for income, whereas some have too much free-time and have nothing else to do but just let the time pass-by – they almost outsourced everything already), so I think it would be great if you can write another story sharing your experience in this area (how to do better time management, how to set new goal and keep your motivation, how to keep balance between time for online work and time for family/friends/recreation, …
Thanks again for your story,

Adam says February 9, 2017

Hey John,
Great warning for us all!
Noticed though that you have 2 lots of 6am on your first table, which is adding up to a 25hr day in your second table.
Question is, if you really had a 25hr day, would you spend the extra hour at work, play, or asleep 😉

    Jon says February 9, 2017

    haha, oops and the other table is 23.5… we will call it a rounding error as I don’t actually break my day into 1 hr segments.

    Great question – If I had an extra hour I would split it at the same ratio I currently split my day but if I had to pick one I hope my answer would be play but I do have a lot of work I want to be throwing myself at so who knows.

Lech says February 9, 2017

Why do you still need to work 11 hours a day on your “business” ?

Nathan says February 13, 2017

Love the story Jon. Very inspiring and helpful for me as I’m making the transition from full time employee to entrepreneur.

Would you be able to share how you hire and delegate tasks for your content publishing VA?

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