While it’s impossible to be the ‘poster’ person on all levels, juggling work and family can be hugely rewarding. The answer for some is a lifestyle process. Having a plan can be incredibly de-stressing and as crucial to your success and mental wellness as physical exercise and eating right.
In ‘The Richest Man in Town’ by Randell Jones, it is intriguing that the ‘richest men in town’ were often still married to their first wife, talking much about their kids, and doing things as a family.
Being family-centric can fuel clearer more productive business ideas and decisions, and result in lots of hugs and high fives from children and spouse, even when you come in a little later from a successful business meeting! Some of my best memories so far with my daughters have been helping with essential homework assignments, or long beach walks to discuss something troubling them. I had to swap out after hours work and then later work into the wee hours to meet a deadline. However, the joy of receiving grateful hugs of appreciation from my girls gave the soul such lift productivity improved on all counts.
The lessons of parenthood, patience, the necessity of varying management techniques, embracing risks, like when your kid learns to drive, can help clarity in business. Placing priority on the family can lead to more success at both, less stress, and better outcomes beneficial to work performance.
After discussion with some of my clients successful in family life and business, here are some best strategies distilled, to balance family life with a demanding career:
1. Prioritise sleep. Many millennials don’t prioritize rest in their quest to get everything done, which can end up seriously backfiring, leading to health issues and burnout. A. Huffington believes sleep deprivation is the new ‘cancer’. Swap your late night movie, for a good book. Go to bed an hour earlier and hits the books instead of reaching for the remote. You will find you will be less stimulated, more relaxed, inspired, and become more ready to sleep if you just make that one adjustment in that 20 to 30 minutes before bed.
2. Carve out time to reflect on what you appreciate. Despite my busy schedule, I am in the habit of 10 to 30 minutes of reading and meditating on positive, spiritually enriching material every day. For me, the best time is upon waking, and I take time to read something that will generate personal reflection concerning personal qualities and meaningful relationships. It sets me up for a far better day and helps me be a better parent when I have just reflected on the virtues of, kindness, for example. For someone else, your time for personal reflection might be taking advantage of a commute to work. Instead of listening to music or making phone calls, wasting time checking a Facebook newsfeed, reflect.
Based on your child's schedule, reserve times just for them. For example, when our twins were infants, I took the 6 AM feed. They had their dinner at 6:00 P.M, and if I was not traveling, I was there for that as well. I've known dad's that could not get home for dinner, yet always back for 8:00 bathtime, and bedtime reading. Getting upstairs in time for a bedtime story is just the best. Tucking them in with a cuddle and some goodnight banter, including much ‘I love you’s’ along with words of appreciation, ‘prayers’ even is a killer for a stressed, anxious mind!
Some make it a condition of their job to be home every weekend, wherever they are in the world during the week. Make the most of those days. Create traditions. Daddy Breakfasts. Beach walks. Leaving work early every once a week to coach a child's sports team, or be involved in some other regular activity. When not traveling, I take the daily school run as it gives the girls a chance to talk, to discuss something positive, to encourage, to bolster them, to commend. Always device free.
5. High points
There are “rubber” and “crystal” moments in life. While you can bounce back from missing a rubber moment, like one of 100 soccer games, do not ever drop a crystal moment, like graduation, the birth of a child or a special anniversary.
6. Show Appreciation
From time to time, remembering flowers, bubbly, or some unexpected event or gift for your spouse is never a bad idea. My girls are always excited when I plan things for their mum, and I’m rewarded with hugs every time! It doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s fun, and energizing to give!
7. Shared Personal experience
As a traveling photographer, working in offices right below my home we have the ultimate kid-friendly environment. Ours is a family business. We've never had a vacation where I didn’t see a client. Honestly, we don't have time or resources for traditional holidays. The plus side has been our daughters' work ethic. They see us planning, talking to clients, creating products, at the desk, editing video, they meet suppliers, and have stood by a Heidelberg press proofing products and seeing things made. On a trip to Europe, they participated with us in creating a series of travel images. It has taught our children the value of working when is time to work, and fitting play around responsibilities. Recently we overheard one of the girls explaining why she was not going to do something she considered a time waster when homework was urgent. "I have a work ethic, okay."
What are some of your family life tips?