Have you ever found yourself trying to perform an impossible juggling act between your work-life and home-life?
Ever spent your entire work day at the “top of your game,” only to be too tired to play games with your children when you get home?
Have you ever wondered how the person that seems to have it all is able to get work done, yet still have time for his family?
As a father of three wonderful children, I have also struggled with these same questions over the years. Yes, even those of us who have dedicated their careers to developing fatherhood programs, coaching and strengthening the fatherhood role, face the same challenges as you.
As I write this, I am on an Amtrak train traveling to Georgetown University to present at a National Conference. One glance to my left and you will find my 16-year-old daughter who is taking the trip with her Dad. It was a decision that I had made a while back to create a work-life balance that I could live with. A life where my children wouldn’t be casualties of my self admitted workaholic mentality and sedulous nature. When I look back at my legacy I’m sure I won’t be saying to myself, “man, I wish I spent more time in the office.” But I also know, I don’t want to look back and say “I wish I spent more time with my children.” So it is up to me to create that type of balance.
While some may have the flexibility afforded by being self-employed, most people have 9-5 jobs that require large chunks of time away from home. I’m an early riser and believe what a mentor once told me about successful people doing more before 10 am then most people do in a day. To be a successful executive, entrepreneur, employee and father, requires you to be both productive and committed. It will mean some sacrifices but all worth the price for a meaningful and fulfilling family/work life.
Here are 7 Tips for the productive father:
- Be an early riser. The earlier you wake up, start your day, and get to work, the better chance you have of getting home to enjoy time with your children and family.
- Be just as devoted to your family commitments (or more) as you are to work commitments. Avoid missing family commitments because something comes up at work. Once you establish boundaries at work, your boss and colleagues will respect it.
- Establish communication early on with your boss, helping them understand that family is a priority for you. See if a flexible work schedule can be established to ensure maximum productivity at work without sacrificing time at home.
- Develop a community of support for you and your family. Working fathers, as well as working mothers, benefit from being able to share parenting experiences with friends. Shared play dates and after school pick ups will help ease the anxiety of those late work nights that are unavoidable.
- When you are home with your children and family, try to avoid all work related interruptions unless it is an emergency. If the email or phone call can wait until the following day, put it away. This will allow you to be present with your children and reap the benefit of that connectedness.
- Block out time in your day, week, and month dedicated to “family time.” This is the time that is specifically blocked out for you to be fully engaged with your children. No interruptions, phone calls or emails.
- If you can’t avoid bringing work home, set up a separate time and place for you to complete the work. To avoid burnout, allow yourself the time to complete your work, then put it away. This will allow you to spend time with your children and family without the anxiety of unfinished work on your mind.
Try and implement these 7 tips into your daily routine and see how your work life balance improves. Your legacy is being created now, so build one that you will look back and be proud of.