Gone are the days of the typical geek with pencils in his pocket, fainting when a girl talks to him. We are partners and parents now too, but also programmers.

Before I got married 17 hour work days were not uncommon and I still get those, our industry changes with new features added to our toolbox and we try to keep up.

I come home at 19:00 and spend as much time with my family before my son goes off to bed, which is around 21:00. On the train to work and from work I study some/read industry related information, so that's an hour a day. After 21:00 I either work a little more or spend time with my wife.

The weekend is a mixture of going outside and/or spending time with my son and my wife and work and studying.

How do you make the most of your roles as a 'P'?


I realize that my role as a husband and father take precedence over programmer. I work my bootie off from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and spend the rest of the time with my family. Now if the kids are sleeping and my wife is busy (say a night out with the girls), I'll study up and/or catch up on a late project. But outside work hours, programming comes second.


Outside of my normal 40 hours, every time I make a decision between family or work, I think to myself will I ever wish I would have worked more and spent less time with my family?

I'm not saying work or computer time never wins, but family wins most of the time.

To improve your "programmer time":

  • Increase your reading speed.
  • Learn to touch type.
  • Try to dedicate a set amount of alone time to your "programmer".

Multi-tasking between family and computer is very hard, if not impossible. Focus on one at a time.

I'm not preaching here, I struggle too, but these are the principles I try to follow.

3 accepted

I wish it was as easy as Kevin says ... unfortunately the life of most programmers does not start at 8:00am and end at 5:00pm.

Technology is ever changing, and in order to make it in the world of technology you have to stay on top of things, or you'll soon be out of a job.

I struggle with this same question ... and I do think it is a legitimate question.

I try to bust ass Monday through Friday. Sometimes that means I am home for dinner, other times I am running late. My wife is a great help, and dinner time is very flexible. As much as I would like things to be structured, say dinner with the family at 6:00pm every night, that is not a real possibility, so dinner time is flexible, try for 6:00pm, might end up being 7:00pm. We just try to have dinner as a family, that is most important.

Kids like to emulate their parents, so take advantage of that. While I do fun things like play lightsabers with my boys, I have three of them, and build legos, when I do have to work the weekend, I usually take them to work with me. I have some stuff there they can play with, as well as, I'll let them get on the computer and work just like dad does.

I try to make Sundays my technology-free day, but that doesn't always work, but it is a goal of mine that I am able to achieve frequently.

It's like I told my wife before we got married, you are marrying a geek ... I love to fiddle on the computer, and if time permits I am going to.

I'm not sure if this is much help, but just wanted to let you know I know and understand what you are going through, and I there is not an easy answer.


A couple years ago I was consulting to a client that was a few hours away from my home. (was worth it, since this was the biggest software company in the world). I would switch off between taking the train (which would take much longer) and driving (which was quicker, but more tiring and wasted time). Whenever I would drive in, I would come home several hours (!) early, just to be able to get to spend some time with my family...

After a few months, I'd had enough of that. Wasn't an easy decision, as I was (still) am a workaholic, and enjoy my job... BUT I talked it over with my bosses and had my contract changed to part-time. Even better, now I do most of my work at home.

So, yeah, a have a few "wasted" hours every day, and I tend to not get much sleep as I'm working really late at night most days, but I get to pick up my kids from school almost every day, this past summer I had a LOT of time with them (not to mention made daycare/lack of summer camp much easier), and while writing this post I had to stop twice to help my daughter with her homework :D.

Surprisingly, my career was not substantially impacted, though I do have less time to invest in the better parts of the job. And I'm always here for my kids and my wife, to pick them up, babysit, help with homework, or even just provide an ear to talk to.

(I want to make clear, that I know this is not the path for everyone, and I probably will change this in another year or two. But right now I'm loving every day.)


I tend to use the time when my girlfriend is sleeping on weekends to out-of-work (personal projects only) computer activities. Waking up at 5:45 every day makes me impossible to sleep later than 8 or 9 am on weekends, so I have a couple of hours left. Luckily for my social life, due to the reserved nature of my job, I cannot take work home, when not on personal projects, I try to get some fresh air...


My solution so far is simple: Get a geek girlfriend/wife. My girlfriend who I have been living together with for 4 years is a geek. Okay, she can't program her way out of a wet paper bag but she's just as big a Linux and tech geek as I am (she works in IT support). When I wanted to buy a home server, her comment was to add extra disks so we'd have a big RAID. I've never seen her so happy with a birthday gift as when I bought her a load of ThinkGeek stuff, including the big marshmellow cannon with extra ammo. Our dream home (which we just bough. Yay!) includes a big library, a server room with a gigabit switch and cat6 running everywhere.

We do spend a lot of quality time together offline of course. But my girlfriend is never annoyed that I am at the computer again. Often she joins me. We frequent a couple of the same forums and do crazy things online. It's fun.

I honestly don't know how all this is going to work out when kids come in the picture, but I guess i'll try the same method: raise them to be geeks :-)