Bijan recently had a really interesting post about Steve Jobs and the bio about him. More importantly though he alluded to the fact that separating family and private life from work is a difficult task. I actually tweeted out his post with my opinion: it's "either/or" and not "and" when it comes to private verses career.
I know a lot of people will take me to task on this. I stand firm behind my opinion that to do either really well you can't do the other any better than average or worse. I know for a fact that I've struggled with this the whole of my career. I've always been making the decision between being 100% at work or 100% elsewhere, be it my private life or sports, etc. I'll even admit that I've given up on many things I used to love doing (like skiing) because they just weren't fun to me unless I could do them 100%. My personality just demands that if I do something, I do it to the best of my ability. At the same time, experience has taught me to make compromises for the long-term benefit.
We all know that we all come to inflection points in our lives where we are forced to choose. Life is about compromises. Some people though simply refuse to make them...like Steve Jobs. He may be a genius when it comes to Apple but after also reading the biography about him, I found him to be a total asshole and a horrible father. Business wise I would of loved to have learned from him and experienced him at his best. As a private individual I couldn't care less about spending a second of my time with him.
My opinion is that you're better served the sooner you realize that you HAVE TO make compromises. Often it will be 100% of one thing and 0% of another.......50:50 hardly ever works nor delivers the results you want. Make sure you flip that equation regularly though to have long-term viability.
I don't believe it's healthy to be 100% at something for your whole life while leaving everything else to go to shit. Sure, you may end up being as successful as Steve Jobs or multiple other mega-billionaires but decide wisely what's important to you. Work your ass off when necessary but take time to spend with your family or hobbies. You may not get as far in your career but we all know, no one ever wished on their deathbed that they'd spent more time in the office. Likewise, don't forget at work that sometimes you simply have to leave out the rest to deliver your best output. This is inevitable and a part of life. If you believe otherwise and always try for 50:50 you'll only end up disappointed.