If you’re following the 31 DoBA closely you’ll realize that I’m posting day 9 on the 10th day of the month. I fell a little behind since I was spending time with my family instead of posting day 8. Don’t worry, I’ll catch up today.
One of the requests that came in when I asked what people would like me to post about was this:
Ashley Says: Work-Life Balance…how do you mix work and family?
Balancing work and family is a problem as old as time. For many, it isn’t just balancing work and family. For example in addition to work and family I am currently in an Executive MBA program at USC and am the Scoutmaster for the Boy Scout troop at church.
I was talking with a friend yesterday about success in business and he related a story that was troubling. He told me of a time he was privileged to be in a room with about a dozen highly successful individuals. Eager to learn he asked them about their journey to success and was surprised to hear them talk about ‘sacrifice’. Not a sacrifice of time, but of time with family. They joked about each having been divorced multiple times. Luckily we could both think of examples of highly successful individuals that were also very family oriented.
I read once about how Steven R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® and who also does speaking events, manages work and family time. Covey was highly sought out as a motivational speaker and allotted a certain number of days per year to this. If he received a request beyond the set amount of time he would pose it to the whole family. If one member of the family felt he should be home instead he would turn down the event, and it’s hefty paycheck.
I don’t know that the story is true but it certainly teaches a great lesson. Here are some of my top tips for finding balance.
1. No Work for Works sake. (No WfW! as the RenMen say at :52 of the video at this post.) If you are self employed, or paid in any way other than hourly, this is a big one. Some weeks I work well above 40 hours, like right now when I am up late most every night trying to finish a project. But just because somebody decided that their employees should work from 8am to 5pm every day doesn’t mean that you have to sit at a computer, or the like, 40 hours per week. Remember, busy is not the same as productive.
2. Live in the now! This is a quote from the epic Wayne’s World movie and I quote it all the time. Do you check your email when you could be focused on family? Do you take a call on your cell when you’re at your kids soccer game, even though you know that it could wait? These are perfect examples. When you are at work, BE at work. When you are at home, BE at home.
3. Connect! Take the time to connect to each of your loved ones individually. I have 4 kids so this can take a lot of time but is always worthwhile. Spend a little time, every day, strengthening the important relationships in your life.
What tips do you have for balancing work and family (and all the other stuff)?